‘Either/Or’ by Kierkegaard — FASCINATING (Please, please read…)

I hope this Wikipedia page about Søren Kierkegaard’s book Either/Or (Danish: Enten – Eller, 1843) doesn’t get somehow altered. It’s a fascinatingly close summary of what my own life experiences and dilemmas have been like — transgressing or transcending a lot of traditional boundaries and groups, as well as conventional understandings of life. It doesn’t capture the spiritual or extrasensory aspects, however.


Here’s an excerpt:

Either/Or (DanishEnten – Eller) is the first published work of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Appearing in two volumes in 1843 under the pseudonymous editorship of Victor Eremita (Latin for “victorious hermit”), it outlines a theory of human existence, marked by the distinction between an essentially hedonistic, aesthetic mode of life and the ethical life, which is predicated upon commitment.

Either/Or portrays two life views. Each life view is written and represented by a fictional pseudonymous author, with the prose of the work reflecting and depending on the life view being discussed. For example, the aesthetic life view is written in short essay form, with poetic imagery and allusions, discussing aesthetic topics such as musicseductiondrama, and beauty. The ethical life view is written as two long letters, with a more argumentative and restrained prose, discussing moral responsibilitycritical reflection, and marriage.[1] The views of the book are not neatly summarized, but are expressed as lived experiences embodied by the pseudonymous authors. The book’s central concern is the primal question asked by Aristotle, “How should we live?[2] His motto comes from Plutarch, “The deceived is wiser than one not deceived.”[3]

The aesthetic is the personal, subjective realm of existence, where an individual lives and extracts pleasure from life only for their own sake. In this realm, one has the possibility of the highest as well as the lowest. The ethical, on the other hand, is the civic realm of existence, where one’s value and identity are judged and at times superseded by the objective world. In simple terms, one can choose either to remain oblivious to all that goes on in the world, or to become involved. More specifically, the ethic realm starts with a conscious effort to choose one’s life, with a choice to choose. Either way, however, an individual can go too far in these realms and lose sight of his or her true self. Only faith can rescue the individual from these two opposing realms. Either/Or concludes with a brief sermon hinting at the nature of the religious sphere of existence, which Kierkegaard spent most of his publishing career expounding upon. Ultimately, Kierkegaard’s challenge is for the reader to “discover a second face hidden behind the one you see”[4] in him/herself first, and then in others.

Wikipedia: Either/Or by Søren Kierkegaard

More excerpts:

The third essay, called “The Unhappiest One”, discusses the hypothetical question: “who deserves the distinction of being unhappier than everyone else?” Kierkegaard has progressed from a search for the highest[27] to the search for the lowest.[28]  Now he wants to find the unhappy person by looking once again to the past.

Wikipedia: Either/Or by Søren Kierkegaard

Hyperbole? As absurd as it may possibly sound, mine was the above experience, on both a physical, everyday level (ie, corporate-govt collusion; systemic oppressions; undermining of every aspect of my daily life; lack of police response, whatever!!) and an ethereal, spiritual one. I was and have been totally invalidated by one and all, and everything was completely hidden from public view — except if one had 100 or 1000 collaborators to help document and connect all the shreds of evidence — otherwise, no solid quantifiable truths.

NOTE: One can be massively persecuted, without necessarily being a blameless or selfless person — although I could sometimes really identify with various sentiments expressed by people who truly meant well, and yet were nevertheless relentlessly dogged down.

So for those ‘in the know’, who may judge me so readily, I don’t think one may fully appreciate until they have walked a mile…

 Later in Concluding Unscientific Poscript he wrote; “inspiration is indeed an object of faith, is qualitatively dialectical, not attainable by means of quantification.”[32]

Wikipedia: Either/Or by Søren Kierkegaard

About groovy777

Toronto gal. Curious about people, life, the universes.
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