Kierkegaard's Either/Or

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Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:10 pm

I do not ask for silence...

the futility of finding truth is never sung loudly enough...

yet the din of those who know the absolute truth is deafening...

pointless...

on which map is the point?

rage against the dying of the light...

-Imp

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by info » Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:04 am

Two thumbs down.

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by marjoram_blues » Mon May 02, 2016 10:32 pm

artisticsolution wrote: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!

[...]

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 [...] 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....
I have picked up the book again. This time round I simply hope to read with more patience. My thanks to AS and Impenitent who he!ped me along the way. And Aetixintro !

I intend to read... in silence and s!ow!y from beginning to end. Then I might have a few questions to ask...or not.

AS, re the use of [...] in this edition, isn't it simply where bits were cut out of the original ? It is an abridged version.

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by artisticsolution » Tue May 03, 2016 3:39 pm

I think you are right, M...about the [...] it still amuses me. ..lol. and my friend just arrived so I have to talk.I wrote something about this to you in the shrink thread...lol. mwah!

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by marjoram_blues » Wed May 04, 2016 8:53 am

artisticsolution wrote:I think you are right, M...about the [...] it still amuses me. ..lol. and my friend just arrived so I have to talk.I wrote something about this to you in the shrink thread...lol. mwah!
OK, found it in philosophical counselling, the thread usually spurned by posters who prefer to write of any angst...well, practically anywhere else.
I have taken the liberty of doing a copy/paste job on your post - given that some threads go AWOL at the drop of a mod's hat, or whatever.

So, which part of your writing were you referring to ? The 'amusement' ? What about the use of [...] still amuses you ? I have my own thoughts on this...but I'll wait to see what you have to say first.

From Gary's 'Re:...'
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=19007

Hi M!

Couldn't sleep so I finally just gave up and decided to start my day, and what a pleasant surprise to find your post! You know I'm K's girl...lol. He just cracks me up. I think the thing that helps me get through life is the aesthetic entertainment value of a world that you are pretty much damned if you do and damned if you don't.

The thing I love about Either/Or and most of the books I have read by K, is that I felt like we had a connection...sort of like my sister and I have...were we have a secret language that we share that no one else gets. We crack each other up and everyone always says they don't get out humor...but we know what we mean by that certain look or body language thing we do...lol.

I have noticed that people say that there was a hierarchy if you will...(I am having trouble using my words today...lol) in either/or and many of K's book where he suggests that the aesthetic way of life is somehow lesser than the ethical way of life. Arguing that the hedonistic aesthetic is shallow entertainment value and that ethical i.e.devoting oneself to another out of duty , or some other socially acceptable "good" is somehow a more profound. right, lofty way to live.

I did not read K that way at all. The way I read K is that it's all shallow...aesthetic...so called 'ethical'...and that when people believe themselves to be ethical (like the judge) they are missing the point...or they aren't being honest with themselves...a huge tragedy to be so unaware and never to become acquainted with a deeper understanding of oneself.

And that in a sense, perhaps the ethical is the highest goal one can achieve but that it's so rare to achieve it that to most of us it would appear absurd...and perhaps might even be absurd...to the point of to achieve that particular state of being would be impossible as once you got there you would be classified insane. As it would be impossible to exist perfectly in an imperfect world...and none of us would even begin to understand what a "perfect" state of being would entail....it's just impossible.

I just remember reading, how the aesthetic was so shallow...and the when the judge (the ethical) started to speak...how shallow he sounded as well...the only difference was that at least the aesthetic was being honest about his shallowness...whereas the judge had no idea how shallow he was. In part because society accepted his behavior as ethical.

K wrote in Fear and Trembling:

"But whenever they fall down they are not able at once to assume the posture, they vacillate an instant, and this vacillation shows that after all they are strangers in the world."

To me this sentiment is echoed in either/or too. People don't understand themselves almost as bad as a stranger would not understand them. K said if you watch them closely they will reveal this from time to time if you pay attention. This is apparent in so much of what the Judge has to say in Either/Or. The judge makes me laugh, because he can't see it...and what's more, society can't see that the judge is just as shallow and the aesthetic.

Pure genius. I'm loving me some K!

Anyway, for me, part of living an authentic life, is to laugh at myself. I must admit...I am more like the aesthetic in K's book. I do find humor and entertainment in others...but I am not laughing at them and using them as the butt of my joke/folly. I am laughing because I see myself in them (the judge included)...in a sort of been there done that way. I don't see them as a means to an end...I see them as another human being, like myself, sharing space on this earth for the time being. Damned if we use each other for comfort (love, sex, friendship, entertainment, etc.), and damned if we don't.

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by marjoram_blues » Thu May 05, 2016 12:58 pm

Impenitent wrote:I do not ask for silence...

the futility of finding truth is never sung loudly enough...

yet the din of those who know the absolute truth is deafening...

pointless...

on which map is the point?

rage against the dying of the light...

-Imp
Imp - I never understood this but took it as you going off on one, in a kinda poetic dismissive and disappointed manner.
Was I right ?

Impenitent
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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Fri May 06, 2016 1:28 am

marjoram_blues wrote:
Impenitent wrote:I do not ask for silence...

the futility of finding truth is never sung loudly enough...

yet the din of those who know the absolute truth is deafening...

pointless...

on which map is the point?

rage against the dying of the light...

-Imp
Imp - I never understood this but took it as you going off on one, in a kinda poetic dismissive and disappointed manner.
Was I right ?
it was a response to AS who thought I was asking for silence...

yes, quiet contemplation often requires silence...

muted incredulity as a response to claims of certainty...

rage is not disappointing to the artist...

-Imp

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by marjoram_blues » Fri May 06, 2016 8:56 am

Thanks, Imp, for your response - after all these years, sometimes it seems like yesterday...and the certainties/uncertainties continue.

One thing, I did want to clarify before restarting my solo venture into the book was the interpretation of the use of [...] by AS. I see them simply as indicating cut-outs from the original version. AS seemed to attach much more significance, as in K was 'seducing [her] into a shared moment between him and his reader...[her]. Also, AS felt that there was 'a pattern to the meaningless brackets. An example was given of the judge and the [...] appearing after what AS interpreted as a 'meaningless sentence', compared to the lack of [...] after him 'saying something of substance'.
This is one 'take' of an 'intimacy' which made AS 'laugh out loud at the humor but also made [her] blush at [her] own gullibility at being seduced by his words!'

I would be interested to hear any further thoughts on this use of [...]

AS is still amused by the use of [...], and I too have a few thoughts about this. But before I venture to express them, I'd like to hear back from AS as to the reason for her continuing 'amusement'.

It really is a minor issue in the grand scale of the book. However, it is worth clarifying any potential misinterpretation which gives it more importance than it deserves.

This time round, I hope to read alone and yes, be 'amused' in a 'muted' way before any sharing of the reading.

Generally, I think that sometimes it works to have helpers along the way, but not if I am confused and struggling to keep up with a passionate fellow reader. We might not ever be on the same page regarding our understanding, but it helps to be contemplating the same physical page, or thereabouts :wink:

I wonder if this working together on understanding a book is better in the real-world. Perhaps some can share any experiences...
What about you, Imp ? How did you read and understand 'Either/Or' - was it a solo trip ?
Perhaps being too impassioned can sway interpretation ? See things that aren't necessarily there - or the very opposite, it helps you immerse yourself totally in the writer...or both...and more...

AS, you bring so much to this whole forum. It is totally appreciated - beyond words 8)

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by artisticsolution » Fri May 06, 2016 10:02 pm

Hi M and everyone reading this thread...

It has been a long time since I read either/or so I can't really remember the exact words that made me feel [...] was sort of a clue about the judges character and how it made me feel his words were full of 'meaningless content'. It is probably like you say and was editorial notations type of brackets. But Even when I read the judges actual words as written by k, I felt like K was hinting at this about the judge's shallowness. As if the judge was too just an aesthetic in upper class clothing (robe and powdered wig...ha).

The reasons I felt this was so is because as I read along I was rolling my eyes at what the judge had to say. It was sort of like how charles dickens wrote many character descriptions....he didn't really come out and say the guy was a sleeze, for example...but you just could tell by the words he used...don't have time to look up a quote as an example...getting ready to go to first friday....it's just that the words used makes you feel something that is not spoken.

Hope that makes sense.

:)

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Fri May 06, 2016 11:21 pm

marjoram_blues wrote:Thanks, Imp, for your response - after all these years, sometimes it seems like yesterday...and the certainties/uncertainties continue.

One thing, I did want to clarify before restarting my solo venture into the book was the interpretation of the use of [...] by AS. I see them simply as indicating cut-outs from the original version. AS seemed to attach much more significance, as in K was 'seducing [her] into a shared moment between him and his reader...[her]. Also, AS felt that there was 'a pattern to the meaningless brackets. An example was given of the judge and the [...] appearing after what AS interpreted as a 'meaningless sentence', compared to the lack of [...] after him 'saying something of substance'.
This is one 'take' of an 'intimacy' which made AS 'laugh out loud at the humor but also made [her] blush at [her] own gullibility at being seduced by his words!'

I would be interested to hear any further thoughts on this use of [...]

AS is still amused by the use of [...], and I too have a few thoughts about this. But before I venture to express them, I'd like to hear back from AS as to the reason for her continuing 'amusement'.

It really is a minor issue in the grand scale of the book. However, it is worth clarifying any potential misinterpretation which gives it more importance than it deserves.

This time round, I hope to read alone and yes, be 'amused' in a 'muted' way before any sharing of the reading.

Generally, I think that sometimes it works to have helpers along the way, but not if I am confused and struggling to keep up with a passionate fellow reader. We might not ever be on the same page regarding our understanding, but it helps to be contemplating the same physical page, or thereabouts :wink:

I wonder if this working together on understanding a book is better in the real-world. Perhaps some can share any experiences...
What about you, Imp ? How did you read and understand 'Either/Or' - was it a solo trip ?
Perhaps being too impassioned can sway interpretation ? See things that aren't necessarily there - or the very opposite, it helps you immerse yourself totally in the writer...or both...and more...

AS, you bring so much to this whole forum. It is totally appreciated - beyond words 8)
It was back in 2006 or 2007... Ohio University, grad level course -existential phenomenology (10 or so other students) with Dr. Algis Mickunas... read/lecture/discussion

-Imp

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by marjoram_blues » Sat May 07, 2016 9:48 am

artisticsolution wrote:Hi M and everyone reading this thread...

It has been a long time since I read either/or so I can't really remember the exact words that made me feel [...] was sort of a clue about the judges character and how it made me feel his words were full of 'meaningless content'. It is probably like you say and was editorial notations type of brackets. But Even when I read the judges actual words as written by k, I felt like K was hinting at this about the judge's shallowness. As if the judge was too just an aesthetic in upper class clothing (robe and powdered wig...ha).

The reasons I felt this was so is because as I read along I was rolling my eyes at what the judge had to say. It was sort of like how charles dickens wrote many character descriptions....he didn't really come out and say the guy was a sleeze, for example...but you just could tell by the words he used...don't have time to look up a quote as an example...getting ready to go to first friday....it's just that the words used makes you feel something that is not spoken.

Hope that makes sense.

:)
OK, let's leave it at that. Not sure it is worth pursuing. However...

As far as I understood, the judge was provided merely as an example of your greater wonder at the pattern of [...] throughout the book. And it was this wider picture that amused you, as some kind of a seductive technique. A special intimacy between you and K. This last post doesn't reflect that breadth or depth of...what?...a 'spiritual' connection, perhaps.

My thoughts on any potential amusement relating to the abridgment stem from the Introduction, pp 2-5.
Hannay distinguishes between the omissions in Part One and Part Two. See p4.

The use of [...] as an editing tool wields power, denying the reader of 'a choice the author would definitely wish them to retain'.

However, we still have the choice of interpretation. And that is where the fun begins....

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by marjoram_blues » Sat May 07, 2016 10:01 am

Imp - read, lecture, discussion. Don't suppose you still have the notes or schedule? I'm just curious to know how to read this book, to get the most out of it...was it broken down into excerpts which had to be read within a given time, and with a particular focus ?

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by marjoram_blues » Sat May 07, 2016 3:29 pm

AS, is it the case that you have been having a laugh all along, playing the devil as you are sometimes wont to do?
If so, congratulations, you had me fooled.

It is without doubt that the use of [...] indicates omission in the abridged version.

The translator's note - page vi - states this clearly.

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by Impenitent » Sat May 07, 2016 11:49 pm

marjoram_blues wrote:Imp - read, lecture, discussion. Don't suppose you still have the notes or schedule? I'm just curious to know how to read this book, to get the most out of it...was it broken down into excerpts which had to be read within a given time, and with a particular focus ?
It was part of a survey class... I remember comparing it to many other philosophers (Nietzsche, Kant, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, Dostoyevsky - and quite a few others) ...

read slowly and try to relate what K says to other philosophers with which you are familiar. keep in mind that K was a Christian apologist at heart (reasoned leaps of faith...)

when you read this book (or any ethics based book) ask yourself what kind of person can you be? what kind of person do you want to be? do k's arguments convince you?

enjoy it as you go and if you have questions, ask them here...

-Imp

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Re: Kierkegaard's Either/Or

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun May 08, 2016 10:45 am

Impenitent wrote:
marjoram_blues wrote:Imp - read, lecture, discussion. Don't suppose you still have the notes or schedule? I'm just curious to know how to read this book, to get the most out of it...was it broken down into excerpts which had to be read within a given time, and with a particular focus ?
It was part of a survey class... I remember comparing it to many other philosophers (Nietzsche, Kant, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, Dostoyevsky - and quite a few others) ...

read slowly and try to relate what K says to other philosophers with which you are familiar. keep in mind that K was a Christian apologist at heart (reasoned leaps of faith...)

when you read this book (or any ethics based book) ask yourself what kind of person can you be? what kind of person do you want to be? do k's arguments convince you?

enjoy it as you go and if you have questions, ask them here...

-Imp
Imp - really appreciate your advice and encouragement, thanks.
So, part of a survey class...does this mean that you and the other students were part of a collaborative learning/research project? How did that work ? Did each student pick a philosopher out of those listed ? And what was the result - an article, a book ?
I can't even begin to imagine how difficult comparative philosophy would be...well, yes I can :shock:

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