We'll be digging into the reputed "father of existentialism," who takes his Christianity very personally and thinks the rest of you are a bunch of sheep, thank you very much.
In the ole' Sygdommen til Døden, Mr. K. writes as "Anti-Climacus," a pseudonym which he brought out when feeling frisky, much like Richard Bachman.
Did you know that you're in despair? I bet you didn't, but Captain Kierk. did, even though you weren't born, so that's a neat trick. You're in despair if you have not developed an authentic self that acknowledges both your infinite and finite aspects and puts itself in subservience to God, so there! Those pagans, they may have done cool things by the standards of aesthetics, but the aesthetic gets replaced with the ethico-religious, and if you're feeling some deep pit within yourself (or again, even if you aren't), a full-bodied acknowledgement of this is what's missing from your life.
OK, even if this sounds like bullpucky to you, looking at Special K. here will be good prep for our upcoming, long-awaited Heidegger and Sartre episodes, so get to it! Besides, Mr. Kooky Kierky is a bona fide extra-wordy literary genius (at least in the original Danish) any way you slice 'im.
Read the text free online or buy the book.
If we have time, we'll likely also get into his more commonly read work, Fear and Trembling, which is considerably more f'ed up than TSUD what with all the teleological suspension of the ethical and things. Trippy!
Daniel Horne says
For what it’s worth, YouTube contains an old BBC TV documentary on Kierkegaard’s peculiar life and thought:
Thanks for the good vids.
SK has always impressed me as being profoundly right when trumpeting ‘the crowd is the untruth’ The individual alone is responsible for his/her action.
Certainly SK is reinforced by Rene Girard’s theory of how small groups and whole societies deal with the harmful anxiety and worse effects of our desire for other’s stuff, our need to mimic them, is to set up a scapegoat upon which to hoist all this negativity and then banish it.
I’ve been looking forward to Kierkegaard as a topic. SK is someone always fun for me and he’s a rich, complex thinker, particularly when you layer on the pseudonyms, who they refer to and what they mean. It should be interesting.
Should be good, I agree that a discussion of both the pseudonyms and a bit on his personal life are necessary intros for listeners who are not familiar with him.