What is Diapsalmata?

1230 Words5 Pages
Cynicism and Despair
Soren Kierkegaard’s approach to writing Either/Or may be one of the most fascinating, clever, genius, and complex pieces I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The first of his many works published pseudonymously, Either/Or studies the first two of Kierkegaard’s three stages of existential living--aesthetic and ethical. By writing under four pseudonyms throughout the two volumes, Kierkegaard removes his personal beliefs and allows the reader to make their own choice on the best way to live. Throughout this essay, I will explore how Kierkegaard begins Either/Or with a chapter entitled, “Diapsalamata,” which is a collection of aphorisms and anecdotes, all with the overlaying themes of cynicism and despair. Before beginning a discussion of “Diapsalmata,” a short beginning to an 800-page philosophical giant, a background to Soren Kierkegaard and his life work is a must. Widely considered to be the “Father of Existentialism,” Soren Kierkegaard was a 19th century philosopher and social critic born in Denmark. His work resulted in a 20th century movement towards higher existential thinking, influencing many famed philosophers like Albert Camus and Franz Kafka. Kierkegaard’s beliefs were highly influenced by Greek philosophers Socrates and Plato, where he explored how individuals make personal choices and commitments, rather than society as a collective whole. His writing style was rather unusual, removing himself from authorship and often using

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