The Existential Choice : Soren Kierkegaard

1368 WordsMay 1, 20176 Pages
Soren Kierkegaard is a Danish philosopher and theologian who attempted to deliver his existentialist point of views. Specifically, Kierkegaard emphasizes the need for humans to take responsibility for their actions and go beyond their “socially imposed identities” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). According to his earliest major work “Either/Or,” he suggests humans are reluctantly stuck between two spheres of life that they must choose between: aesthetic or ethical. He delves into what constitutes a life as either and suggests the practicalities associated with each choice. He stresses the importance of being responsible for the truth and living according to the truth we’ve committed to. In addition, the existential choice can be…show more content…
He goes on to give a small anecdote about a person who is deciding to pursue a career as a poet or not. The person appears to not wholeheartedly be attuned to become a poet. Again emphasizing this idea that the aesthetic person is distracted by their surroundings. This distraction often times leads to exhaustion which is an example of despair. Despair is the realization that one never finds freedom from somewhere external, rather that person is responsible for their own freedom. Kierkegaard goes on to define what it means to experience despair. Only the “lowliest, least endowed person can despair” (E/O Handout). In other words, the one that abandons commitment to their own life is the one that experiences despair. He goes on to explain that to choose absolutely is to choose despair and he “chooses himself, not in his immediacy, but chooses himself in his eternal validity” (E/O 78). By choosing despair, the person realizes there is a disruption between how one truly absorbs the world they live in and how our perception is used in pursuit of happiness and pleasure. Despair can be understood as the vehicle for an aesthetic person to get back to an ethical life. Specifically, given the right means, the aesthetic person can be more conscientious of the disconnect between one’s absorption of the world and how they pursue happiness. To an extent,
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