Positing the paradox

by chuckofish

Today is Soren Kierkegaard’s birthday (May 5, 1813 – November 11, 1855). Old Soren has always been a favorite of mine.


It is the duty of the human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand, and what those things are. Human understanding has vulgarly occupied itself with nothing but understanding, but if it would only take the trouble to understand itself at the same time it would simply have to posit the paradox.

–Journals, 1847

Kierkegaard is like Thoreau or Emerson in that people take quotes out of context and think he is great (and that they are great for thinking so).

2be34c4853048a5da41a2ea2df1a9861I have no doubt that he would hate that. Let’s try reading one of his books–the whole thing.


“Then faith’s paradox is this: that the single individual is higher than the universal, that the single individual determines his relation to the universal through his relation to God, not his relation to God through his relation through the universal…Unless this is how it is, faith has no place in existence; and faith is then a temptation.”

Well, at the very least I will toast him tonight. Join me, won’t you?

P.S. Why is Kierkegaard not listed on the Episcopal calendar of saints? If it were up to me, he would be.