Kierkegaard's Either/Or

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mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:56 pm

artisticsolution wrote:Hi M,

Sorry M. I had to order my copy of either or...it should be here soon. I did look it up on wikipedia. I wonder if there is a a cool series of podcast lectures like the ones rotabend posted for fear and trembling. Did you listen to those M?

http://webcast.berkeley.edu/course_deta ... 1906978306
Hi AS

Oh, it's OK. I'm just hanging around here....a fish out of water.....gasping for breath....trying to keep up with Impenitent !

Thanks - I'd forgotten all about podcasts....that link to Phil 7 Existentialism in Literature and Film is a great find.

On Kierkegaard, he is part of a series of Philosophy : The Classics by Nigel Warburton, here : http://www.learnoutloud.com/Podcast-Dir ... cast/23666
Haven't yet listened - been doing the italiano - hmmm - guess that's an Either.....

Ciao, ciao !

M.

artisticsolution
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by artisticsolution » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:26 pm

Hi M,

Sorry I have put this off for so long. I have been torn in all directions...work being of utmost importance...then worry about everything else.. mom(who has been staying with me for a week because her air conditioning went out...it vegas this time of year you can't survive without it), hubby, my fav tree in the back yard ( more on this later), sometimes I just think way too much. I am not sure whether I like it better when I am carefree or when I care too much. Both can be interesting at times...oh yeah....kierkegaard...

Today I went in and picked up my copy of either/or and began to read the preface...I skipped the intro because the last thing I need today is Alastair Hannay to annoy the hell out of me as he is wont to do...maybe I will be able to take him at a later date. I know his intro would be good for me but I just can't take the boring old medicine he dishes out...I wonder if he bores himself? :wink:

Anyway, I had only read a few pages, when I needed to come online and tell you how delighted I am so far. Just like with fear and trembling soren has me captivated from page one (I was a little afraid because as I began to read "the sickness unto death" a while ago, I could not get into it...maybe someday...I just got the feeling he was trying to hard with that book...but then I didn't really give it a chance. Maybe he just didn't give a shit about entertaining me....Men! lol )

Okay...about the tree in my backyard... I love this tree like the author loved his escritoire. When I moved in it was about 10' and had an intriguing shape. It is a mesquite tree with three main branched that split off very low in the trunk...the trunk is maybe a foot tall and the most wonderful family of lizards live and play in the tree. It is in the middle of my side yard which is where I planned to build a pool. During the construction I took great pains to make sure the men did not harm this tree. I almost lost it when I had them build a planter around it...but I nursed it back to health and now I consider it family.

As usual, Kierkegaard has just peered into my soul and made me realize once again I am a piece of shit...lol...no news there...just a reminder. Anyway, like the author's fickle love for the escritoire, I am afraid I too will have to 'whip' my tree ala Xerxes. My tree, who holds all the beauty the world possesses, is uprooting my pool plumbing and surrounding cool deck! It will be very costly to allow my tree to live and so, I fear, she must die. I have killed trees in the past so I know I can do it again...I should have never been allowed to own something so beautiful...just like the author should not have been able to own the escritoire. To destroy something so beautiful and 'loved' over money is terrible....but that what it boils down to...doesn't it? And yet...the author was rewarded for his terrible deed...he found a treasure.

Such is the gamble in life isn't it? Giving up one treasure for another and taking the chance that the new treasure will be more beautiful than the last (which isn't always the way it turns out). However, the thing I find most interesting is the nonchalant and impetuous way I make the decision to do such a thing. If it is a inconvenience just get rid of it...sometimes I wonder if I could even do it with people...an even more terrifying thought. As if all would be okay if we happen to find a treasure? And then we could rationalize that we would never again do such a thing....if we could only be satisfied. If we could only find that secret treasure...it would be the last time we would ever allow ourselves to be so extravagant!

"Alas, desire is very eloquent and good resolutions are always at hand!" pg.29

I think of human nature...and of the housing crisis...and I wish that everyone would have found a treasure under the foundation of their homes instead of financial ruin.

Shit...I am only 3 pages into his book and he has my panties in a bunch! I love him so....lol.

What page are you on? Have you finished yet?

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:22 am

AS, you are such a blast of fresh air !

I can only catch my breath, and hope to respond later.

As for Either/Or - yeah, I finished it last week - on a day when I nothing better to do :wink:

* sighs *

I suppose I will have to go find it......where are you, Kirky, here pretty Kirky....

Later.

M.

artisticsolution
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by artisticsolution » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:53 pm

"here pretty kirky..."

You crack me up! :lol:

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:59 pm

AS, if you would write a book about your life, stories and thoughts, I would treasure it over that of Kirky's any day of the week.

Right now, I feel like I want to take a break from all of this. I know you understand.

BFN

M.

artisticsolution
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by artisticsolution » Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:11 am

Of course I understand. I hope you don't mind if I continue to post if I come across something i don't understand.

You are too kind....do I get a nickname too? "Here pretty kirky and....?" :lol:

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:57 am

:D

Och aye, ging ahead, lassie ! I'll listen and learn....
but needs must use my 'ickle brain cell, time and energy for ither doings.

Best wishes.

M.

artisticsolution
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by artisticsolution » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:27 pm

HI M,

A few of us are having a conversation about what art is in the aesthetic section of the forum, and a discussion of the aesthetic experience in Either/Or is being had. I thought it was only natural to provide a link here, so that hopefully anyone else who has read the book will offer their input, opinion or snide remark. Hopefully you'll join us if you have the time.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3504&p=53633#p53633

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:38 pm

Hi AS

Thanks for the link-up. I've been following the discussion and admiring the inspiration and perspiration.....
Later.

M.

artisticsolution
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by artisticsolution » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:19 am

Hi everyone who has read or is interesting in reading kierkegaard (hi M),

As usual...I am going to jump right in with both feet...because it is the only way I can learn is to be honest about my stupidity and have some kind person come to my aid and point out what I am missing. After all...how would I know what I don't know unless I profess what I think I know and someone tells me I am mistaken...lol.

I know this thread is about either/or but since I have read fear and trembling first, I see so many parallels between the 2, almost as if one is written to further clarify another. I hope that i can give justice to this incredible book as it would be impossible for me to tell everything I have learned with the limited language that I possess. Some of my words not be adequate enough to describe my thoughts about Kierkegaard's work, but then I have only to supply Kierkegaards own words to clarify what I think they mean.

If I am using the wrong terminology for what I am about to say...or if anyone has a better word or can clarify a meaning that I have misinterpreted or missed completely...please let me know as I fear I may be not grasping the entire content. I have scoured the web for information but it still leaves me with questions if they even know what he was talking about! It is so easy to get ahead of yourself when reading kirky because he gives his readers little puzzles to figure out and clues (sometimes funny) along the way...at one moment I say, "ah...I know what he is getting at"...and then at the next moment... say "am I imagining I understand?" Because he mesmerizes one with his seductive words...

On page,407, of Either/Or, He masterfully uses the the judge as a pseudonym to weave a tale of how seduction is done, however I believe it gives us a little glimpse into Kierkegaard's methods of seducing his readers...

"You approach her. Her finery, too, gives the situation a touch of the uncommon. You still haven't uttered a word. You look at her, yet as though you were not looking, you do not wish to embarrass her with amorous boorishness, but even the mirror comes to your aid. Upon her bosom you fasten a brooch you gave her the first time you kissed her, with a passion which now seeks its confirmation; she has herself kept it hidden, no one has known about it. You produce a little bouquet of flowers of just one sort, a flower of no significance in itself. When you sent her flowers there was always a small shoot of it, but not noticeable, so no one suspected it but here, Today this flower too shall stand up in honour and dignity, it alone is to adorn her, for she loved it. You hand it to her, a tear trembles in her eye, she returns it to you, you kiss it and fasten it to her bosom. A certain sorrow spreads over her."

And so, it seems Kierkegaard has seduced his reader in the most delightful way. Not because he wants to deceive, but because he wants to give the only thing he has to give...the intimacy of his thoughts. And to admit that is what he was doing would right off the bat put up a red flag for the reader. It might have caused them to misunderstand with cynical judgment before he could write the entirety of his thoughts. I believe he had to seduce the reader in order to get across to them the depth of his thoughts before they put up a defensive wall. After all...how do you tell people you have an argument to make that life is meaningless and they are in despair whether they know they are or not...as if you know them better than they know themselves. I believe most people would shut you down if you made a statement like that.

Rotabend asked me this question long ago, "Are you the knight of faith or are you the knight of infinite resignation?" At the time I had just started reading "Fear and trembling" and did not understand the question. Now that I have read Kierkegaards description of both (I still don't entirely understand the question...lol) However, I would have to truthfully answer at this point in my understanding, "I am the knight of faith." A distinction which I have come to the conclusion, is the only possible way I could answer truthfully and ethically , given the knowledge I have today and the confining boundaries of the question and knowing that I am unaware.

In Kierkegaard's "fear and Trembling", he speaks of the knight of faith having so much faith in his beliefs that it becomes absurd. I think what kirky means by absurd is that it is so out of the realm of what we want to believe, so ridiculous, that it is hard to fathom the depth of the honesty and ethicalness of it. What I mean by that is no matter what we 'know' or think we 'know' it will be outdone by another , thereby making our current 'knowledge' meaningless...maybe not meaningless on the small scale of our little minds...but on the larger scale of the infinite. Even if we say our knowledge is superior, the truth is it can't be...because if we had superior knowledge there would be no more unanswered question. And so we all have 'faith'. Faith in our knowledge whatever it might be. Because of that we are naively unethical to say, "My beliefs are correct because I know 1+1=2" ...or ..."My beliefs are correct because my IQ is off the charts"... or ... "My beliefs are correct because I have superior moral values." Those are all statements made of faith, faith in ourselves and our beliefs to the point of becoming the epitome of absurdity hence we become 'the knight of faith.'

Wikipedia defines the knight of faith:

"The knight of faith is an individual who has placed complete faith in himself and in God."


I question this understanding, I think Kierkegaard meant something else that not only encompasses religion but encompasses the faith we have in our knowledge and how that knowledge is lacking on any meaningful scale . The knight of faith does indeed have faith in himself...but not necessarily in God. God is just the "scenario" that Kierkegaard used to describe this ineffable truth. It could have been faith in love, faith in logic, faith in morality...it doesn't matter, as we all have faith in something that defines us. He only used the story of Abraham and Issac to show this absurd notion we all carry. There is a belief system we have that is unshakable, like Abraham, and that belief system would even present in those who say, "I have no belief system" because the minute we believe/have faith in not having a belief system...that too is a belief system! So we are either "unaware" as in have no understanding or "aware" and unethically lying to ourselves.. Because if we are unaware we are simply in a state of not yet aware and just naive. However, if we are aware..then we are liars in the conceit of our knowledge that is absurd ( after all, no one knows the entirety of our existence) and thus we become unethical. Or something like that...ugh!

Anyway, I believe that Kierkegaard cleverly beats his readers to the punch...he admits truthfully..."the knight of faith is absurdity" He lulls them into thinking...he's only talking about Abraham! ...and then sets up a masterful tales of Abraham's absurd faith. Absurd because most of us could not fathom his faith...and at the same time...our faith is as absurd as Abraham's...its just that we have society to protect us , if you will, from being an individual and being completely responsible for our own decisions.

What he doesn't do is claim these thoughts as his own (he uses pseudonyms for this purpose)or as those of ours, because to do so would be to lose his audience through the sheer audacity of his claims..still, I think these is exactly what he means to show in his masterful manipulation of our thoughts by seducing us with little gifts of rhetoric, if you will, that make us feel as if we are sharing an intimate little secret with him about somebody else, not us!

In order to reveal his seductive, secret little gifts to be shared between him and his readers I will show one instance in which he does this that made me question if he was actually doing what I thought...but this is not the only instance...this just happened to be one that stood out to me. In "Either" (the aesthetic section of the book Either/or) 'ancient tragedy's reflection in the modern', page 139, Kierkegaard writes a little secret that he will later share with his readers when they begin to read "/Or" (the ethical section of the book Either/Or). He begins:

"If someone said the tragic will always be the tragic, I wouldn't object too much; every historical development takes place within the embrace of its concept. At least assuming that what he says makes sense, and that the twice-repeated "tragic" isn't just a meaningless bracket surrounding a contentless nothing, the meaning must be that the content of the concept didn't turn the concept off its throne but enriched it."

When I began to read '/Or" I was immediately struck with all these brackets containing ellipses on almost every page...They visually and literally look like this...[...]. At first I wondered what they meant...until I happened to remember the passage from above. Then it all made sense! He was seducing me into a shared moment between him and his reader...me!

I am still reading "Or" and I am on page 434....but I can't help to get the feeling that there is a pattern to the meaningless brackets [...] as when the judge makes his argument....when he is saying something that is meaningless (empty words) these brackets appear after each meaningless sentence. When he is saying something of substance they do not appear. At least that is my take. Anyway, The intimacy made me laugh out loud at the humor but also made me blush at my own gullibility at being seduced by his words! Although the seduction was not a form of trickery that meant to harm...but one that meant to enlighten or to convey the deeper thought he was having that was ineffable. I believe in his desire to be understood...and knowing that his readers would probably shun the absurdity of his words if they saw themselves in the mirror he provides...the mirror that reflects the absurdity in us, he uses delightful and masterful seduction to lull us into thinking he is talking about someone else rather than us!

I am simply enchanted...floating on a cloud...enjoying the seduction while it lasts....ahhhh...bring it on baby....

mhoraine
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by mhoraine » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:38 am

AS, enticing creature, your initials stand for the ' Art of Seduction' !!

I will return to E/O just as soon as I can.
I only had a quick read of your post- Amazing Sensibility.

I do hope others join in.....

Later.

M.

Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:04 pm

Kierkegaard and Nietzsche wrote often in ellipsis ...

not an omission of content, but an unquantifiable inclusion

of course, of that which one cannot speak, one must remain silent...

silence?

...

-Imp

artisticsolution
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by artisticsolution » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:41 pm

Hi Imp,

Thank you so much for taking the time to try to help me. Now I only have more questions.

Imp:Kierkegaard and Nietzsche wrote often in ellipsis, not an omission of content, but an unquantifiable inclusion

AS: Well, I wouldn't know about Nietzsche because I have never read him. Do his ellipsis look like this:

...

Or like this:

[...]

Because to me they mean 2 different things. I was unsure what you meant about unquantifiable...but now that I looked it up I think we may be talking about the same thing. However, I want to make sure. Technically and literally...when the judge speaks of what he knows he does not omit content...he tries to speak as clearly as the seducer...but why does the judge have the brackets containing ellipsis after certain sentences and the seducer none? I think it is because Kirky wishes to show how the judge...who represents the 'ethical' argument...falls far from understanding the ethical...he just thinks that he does...i.e. he is unaware. From just reading the judge...I notice when the judge says something that is contentless meaning....for example...he says:

"I have certainly done full justice to first love and I think I am a better judge of it than you, but its fault is to be found in its absurd character. [...]"

I think kirky is showing that this sentence says nothing at all...it is just meaningless brackets surrounding a contentless nothing. The judge has 'faith' that he is better at 'love' and in the 'finding fault' in loves absurd character than the seducer. First, he can't possibly know what the seducer knows so he cannot make that claim. Second, there is no 'fault' or 'absurdity' to be had with the abstract word 'love' because it doesn't have 'character.' It is just an abstract idea/thing. So while the judge is not omitting content per se, as he is trying to tell what he knows, he only has faith in what he knows...he does not have truth. Not only that...The judge is blissfully unaware his faith is not truth. Because if his words held meaningful content he would have to admit he could never know if he was indeed a better judge of first love and he could not find fault with something that has no character. You can't fault 'things'...they have no conscience. The judge is just mimicking what society taught him to believe... he is unaware these are not his own thoughts.

In Alastair's Hannay's notes on page 629 it says:

"In itself." A reference to Immanuel Kant's notion of the 'thing-in-itself', of which there can be no experience since, as a very condition of the latter, it lies beyond all possible experience."


So I think what kirky is meaning to do is show we can't have pure knowledge in anything because it is impossible to know the 'thing-in-itself' ( The entirety of our existence lies beyond all possible experience in this case). Our faith becomes absurd...just as absurd as Abraham...the only difference being is that Abraham relies on what he knows in himself at the exclusion of the rest of the world while the judge adapts to what society thinks and so he is not an individual yet...but still just as absurd as Abraham.

Imp: of course, of that which one cannot speak, one must remain silent...

silence?

AS: You do know you're talking to a woman, don't you? LOL

Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:51 pm

artisticsolution wrote:Hi Imp,

Thank you so much for taking the time to try to help me. Now I only have more questions.

Imp:Kierkegaard and Nietzsche wrote often in ellipsis, not an omission of content, but an unquantifiable inclusion

AS: Well, I wouldn't know about Nietzsche because I have never read him. Do his ellipsis look like this:

...

Or like this:

[...]

Nietzsche's ellipsis look like the first...


Because to me they mean 2 different things. I was unsure what you meant about unquantifiable...but now that I looked it up I think we may be talking about the same thing. However, I want to make sure. Technically and literally...when the judge speaks of what he knows he does not omit content...he tries to speak as clearly as the seducer...but why does the judge have the brackets containing ellipsis after certain sentences and the seducer none? I think it is because Kirky wishes to show how the judge...who represents the 'ethical' argument...falls far from understanding the ethical...he just thinks that he does...i.e. he is unaware. From just reading the judge...I notice when the judge says something that is contentless meaning....for example...he says:

"I have certainly done full justice to first love and I think I am a better judge of it than you, but its fault is to be found in its absurd character. [...]"

I believe that Soren is intoning a sense of incredulity with his... while Abraham may have left him (K) in fear and trembling, the judge does not...

I am not sure that the judge is ready to sacrifice his son for his belief... your son certainly, but not necessarily his own




I think kirky is showing that this sentence says nothing at all...it is just meaningless brackets surrounding a contentless nothing. The judge has 'faith' that he is better at 'love' and in the 'finding fault' in loves absurd character than the seducer. First, he can't possibly know what the seducer knows so he cannot make that claim. Second, there is no 'fault' or 'absurdity' to be had with the abstract word 'love' because it doesn't have 'character.' It is just an abstract idea/thing. So while the judge is not omitting content per se, as he is trying to tell what he knows, he only has faith in what he knows...he does not have truth. Not only that...The judge is blissfully unaware his faith is not truth. Because if his words held meaningful content he would have to admit he could never know if he was indeed a better judge of first love and he could not find fault with something that has no character. You can't fault 'things'...they have no conscience. The judge is just mimicking what society taught him to believe... he is unaware these are not his own thoughts.

thus the distinction between the judge and Abraham is drawn out...



In Alastair's Hannay's notes on page 629 it says:

"In itself." A reference to Immanuel Kant's notion of the 'thing-in-itself', of which there can be no experience since, as a very condition of the latter, it lies beyond all possible experience."


So I think what kirky is meaning to do is show we can't have pure knowledge in anything because it is impossible to know the 'thing-in-itself' ( The entirety of our existence lies beyond all possible experience in this case). Our faith becomes absurd...just as absurd as Abraham...the only difference being is that Abraham relies on what he knows in himself at the exclusion of the rest of the world while the judge adapts to what society thinks and so he is not an individual yet...but still just as absurd as Abraham.

except in Soren's mind, Abraham is not absurd... his (K's) interpretation of Abraham and his faith may be absurd in itself, but Abraham's faith was never absurd to Abraham... Abraham had more faith in his faith than Soren could envision...



Imp: of course, of that which one cannot speak, one must remain silent...

silence?

AS: You do know you're talking to a woman, don't you? LOL
yes, and Johannes de silento was a grand pseudonym

-Imp

artisticsolution
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by artisticsolution » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:08 pm

Hi Imp,

Imp: of course, of that which one cannot speak, one must remain silent...

silence?

AS: You do know you're talking to a woman, don't you? LOL

Imp:yes, and Johannes de silento was a grand pseudonym

AS: Yes and he sure had a lot to say...didn't he? lol But here is what frustrates me...The requesting of silence is not always good for understanding. Silence never added to knowledge. So why are you asking for silence in this thread, as when learning about literature and philosophy it seems rather pointless to be silent...

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