Benedict De Spinoza. Essays and Aphorisms Penguin Classics. Arthur Schopenhauer. The Descent of Man Penguin Classics. Selected Works Penguin Classics. Marcus Tullius Cicero. Agricola and the Germania Penguin Classics. What Is Art? Penguin Classics. Aspects of the Novel Penguin Classics Ser. The Essays Penguin Classics. Hippocratic Writings Penguin Classics.
- Either/Or - Soren Kierkegaard, Victor Eremita - Häftad () | Bokus.
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Poems and Prose Penguin Classics. Gerard Manley Hopkins. Essays Penguin Classics. Michael De Montaigne. Dialogues and Letters Penguin Classics. Revelations of Divine Love Penguin Classics. Julian of Norwich. Selected Letters Penguin Classics. Anxiety, for instance, is produced by our reflecting on things and as such, he claims, thus different from sorrow.
It is always connected to time in the sense that you cannot be anxious about the present but only about what is past or what is in the future. Sorrow, on the other hand is bound to the present. This was something I pondered at length and which, like many of his other points and arguments, raised questions rather than gave any clear answers. Another point he made, which I immediately took to heart, is that we must not be too busy. Nobody returns from the dead, nobody has entered the world without crying; no one asks you when you want in, no one asks you when you want out.
An individual who hopes for eternal life is in a sense an unhappy individual insofar as he relinquishes the present, but is not in a stricter sense unhappy because he is present within this hope. Can you long for what you already possess? Yes, when you imagine that in the next moment you may no longer possess it.
One of Denmark's three literary triumvirs, if you ask me, the other two being Hans Christian Andersen and Karen Blixen. Recommended for the patient and philosophically-minded reader. View all 21 comments. Feb 27, Roy Lotz rated it really liked it Shelves: footnotes-to-plato , eurotrip. Of course, a critic resembles a poet to a hair, except that he has no anguish in his heart, no music on his lips.
This is one of those rare unclassifiable books, whose genre was born the day it was published and which has since left no heirs. Kierkegaard gives us what appears, at first, to be a sort of literary experiment: the papers of two imaginary characters, found inside the escritoire by a third imaginary character. Specifically, Kierkegaard uses these two personages to juxtapose the aesthetic with the ethical modes of life, presumably asking the reader to choose between them.
Part 1, by A, gives us the aesthetic man. Part 2 is more focused, consisting of two long letters sent by B who is supposed to be a middle-aged judge to A, both exhorting the latter to turn towards a more ethical view of life. The styles of the two writers are suitably different: A is excitable, hyperbolic, and aphoristic, while B is more staid and focused. Nevertheless, it is never difficult to tell that Kierkegaard is the true author.
Neatly summarizing the difference in perspectives would be difficult, since Kierkegaard tends to be flexible with his own definitions. In the first, A is concerned with attaining a maximum of pleasure. He is not a hedonist, and is not very interested in sex. Rather, he is interested in avoiding boredom by carefully shaping his developing relationship like a well-plotted novel, ensuring that each emotion is felt to the utmost.
The judge, by contrast, sees marriage as far preferable to seduction, since it is through commitments like marriage that the inner self develops and becomes fully actualized. While the aesthete prefers to live in the moment, the ethical man notes that, even if every moment is novel, the self remains the same. Change requires commitment.
Used Book Buyback:Either/Or: A Fragment of Life (Penguin Classics),
Interpreting the book is difficult. Are we being asked to make a choice in values? Such a choice could have no basis but chance or personal whim, since no pre-existing value could guide us between two incompatible value-systems. This, you might say, is the existentialist interpretation of the book: the primacy of choice over values. Yet other options are available. There is also the unmistakable autobiographical element in this writing, since Kierkegaard had not long before broken off his own engagement. This is just to scrape the surface of possibility.
On the one hand, this book is highly rich and suggestive, with brilliant passages buried amid piles of less compelling material. Since no clear message emerges, and since there are no arguments to guide the way, the book can easily yield interpretations consonant with pre-conceived opinions. In other words, it is hard to me to imagine somebody being convinced to change their mind by reading this. But Kierkegaard can perhaps better be likened to a good art critic than to a systematic philosopher, for the value in his writing consists more in illuminating comments than in a final conclusion.
At times he rises to commanding eloquence; but so often he seems to wallow in confusing and repetitive intricacies. More to the point, I find the general tenor of his writing to be anti-rationalist; and this is exemplified in the complete lack of argument in his writings. But nobody could deny that, all told, this is an extraordinary book and a worthy addition to the philosophical tradition. View all 5 comments. Jan 28, Sean Blake rated it it was amazing Shelves: religion , fiction , philosophy.
Soren Kierkegaard writes like a poet, which makes his philosophical writings so entertaining and enlightening to read. A guide to a meaningful existence, Kierkegaard explores the aesthetic and ethical ideologies of life through two characters: A , the aesthetician and Judge Wilhelm , the ethicist. Part I is an exploration of aesthetic ideologies discussing music, poetry, boredom and which also includes Diary of a Seducer , a lovely little psychological novel within the book in which a calculated aesthetician seducts and then rejects the love of a woman.
Here, he takes his time, in two long letters, to explain how we should live our life, the choices we make and the extremities of certain life views. With this structure, Kierkegaard explores human nature philosophically, psychologically, religiously and poetically in his first published work. It's an exceptionally complex book but, in the end, it's extremely rewarding. View 2 comments. Nov 09, Brent McCulley rated it it was amazing Shelves: philosophy. Easily one of the best books I have read this year, as this year nears the end, I can say without a doubt that Kierkegaard was truly a genius.
It is not without purpose that my mind immediately rushes to Nietzsche pithy aphorism on genius wherein he writes, "Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than being misunderstood. In the latter case, perhaps his vanity suffers, but the former hurts his heart, his sympathy, which always says, "Alas, why do you want to have it as hard as I d Easily one of the best books I have read this year, as this year nears the end, I can say without a doubt that Kierkegaard was truly a genius.
In the latter case, perhaps his vanity suffers, but the former hurts his heart, his sympathy, which always says, "Alas, why do you want to have it as hard as I did? Kierkegaard knew that he was a genius, yet he also knew that he was misunderstood. This seems to me not to be a accidental product of the Danish culture's ability to exegete Kierkegaard properly, but rather, an intentional property postulated by Kierkegaard himself within his writings for the sole purpose of protecting "his heart, his sympathy" as Nietzsche said.
While reading through the "Either" part, I felt ecstatic, aroused, and excited, as the aesthetic appeal and philosophical dialectic that A engages in truly is seductive. The first portion is a bunch of aphorisms whereof all are highly quotable and attractive, and standard Kierkegaard. He then deals with the dialectic progression of the erotic understanding in music, and analyzes Mozart among others. Kierkegaard then deals with the Ancient's understanding of tragedy juxtaposed to the modern understanding of tragedy.
In "Shadowgraphs," Kierkegaard deals with the aesthetic elements of theater and the psychological development of the aforesaid in the subject. My two favorite essays, however, are the next two which are entitled "The Unhappiest One" and "Crop Rotation. Both are written so fantastically that it hard not to agree with everything he says. My understanding of Either could only have developed after reading Or , and it's understandable why Kierkegaard got so mad seeing Danish bookstores lined with the former whilst the latter went neglected compared to the former.
They must be read in conjunction with one another, because all the ideas presented in both are not necessarily Kierkegaard's own ideas: this is a partial reason for the pseudonyms. Since this was Kierkegaard's first major work, written mostly in Germany in a short amount of time while he was attending the Schelling lectures, the breakup with Regine, his then fiancee, would have been extremely fresh. The aesthetic part of Either seems to be Kierkegaard's self-justification of the breakup, rationalizing that it was done in protection of Regine, and also, at the consummation of what Kierkegaard calls "first love.
Certainly, then, The Seducer's diary can be read in a but of an autobiographical flair, and indeed it writes like one, although often times Kierkegaard flips the subjects around. What is more interesting is when I got to the Or portion. Written by a venerable Judge Wilhelm, they are two letters of correspondence to A, as in the 'novel' both the Judge and A are good friends, and A often comes over frequently to dine and spend time with the Judge and his wife. The Judge systematically tries to refute the aesthetic in each theory postulated, and ultimately show the validity of marriage ethically and also aesthetically.
So far, then, it is not a matter of the choice of some thing, not a matter of the reality of the thing chosen, but of the reality of choosing. It is this, though, that is decisive and what I shall try to awaken you to Through the absolute choice, then, the ethical is posited, but from that it by no means follows that the aesthetic is excluded.
In the ethical the personality is centered in itself; the aesthetic is thus excluded absolutely, or it is excluded as the absolute, but relatively it always stays behind. The personality, through choosing itself, chooses itself ethically and excludes the aesthetic absolutely; but since it is, after all, he himself the person chooses and through choosing himself does not become another nature but remains himself, the whole of the aesthetic returns in its relativity" pp.
This is utterly brilliant, and to be sure, much of what Kierkegaard writes through the Judge are philosophical ideas that are further developed in his later works such as the movement from the aesthetic to the religious to the ethical in his Stages on Life's Way , and also the idea of choosing the self which lies in the infinite or absolute in The Sickness unto Death. The idea that Judge defends from the above, and indeed throughout his two essays to A, is that the aesthetic cannot be chosen as the absolute, because it is not a choice at all, but rather a defiance or privation away from the absolute, and hence because the self is lost, it follows that the self cannot choose the aesthetic since their is no self to do the choosing.
Yet, when one postulates the ethical as the absolute, the self chooses absolutely because the choice is choosing yourself, which only can be found in the ethical, and because the ethical is the absolute, and the self is chosen, the aesthetic no thereby nullified as A would like to suppose, but is in fact affirmed, albeit in the relative sense of the subject. And so it follows that marriage, which is the ethical choice, affirms both the ethical and the aesthetic, the moral and the sensual.
What is so paradoxical about all this is that Kierkegaard is writing this only because he was able to since he broke off engagement with his previous fiancee, Regine Olson. Affirming the ethical validity of marriage, writing as the Judge, only after he denied it's validity practically by rejecting Regine. Incidentally enough, Kierkegaard would later regret not marrying, which makes his aphorism in the beginning of the book all the more poignant and chagrin.
If you marry, you will regret it; if you do not marry, you will also regret it; if you marry or if you do not marry, you will regret both; whether you marry or you do not marry, you will regret both" p. View 1 comment. Sep 09, AJ Griffin rated it really liked it. This is one of those books that you read that covers a bunch of things you had been thinking about on your own, at which point you realize "oh: i'm not really that smart, am I? View all 3 comments. Mar 23, Khashayar Mohammadi rated it really liked it Shelves: essays , faith-spirituality , writing-inspiration , favorites , scandinavian-lit , philosophy.
Its definitely one of my all time favorites, not just philosophically, but over-all. Kierkegaard is more a writer than a philosopher, such that in poetic congruence with the themes of this book, his writing never ceases to be Aesthetic, but it does cease to be philosophical? But does it really? The first few hundred pages leading up to the second part can be utterly confusing, since they only find meaning in opposition of the discourse of Judge Vilhelm. Maybe I hesitate to give this book five stars merely because it has pulled a "twist ending" of sorts that forces me to re-read the first pages in order to fully understand the rest.
Either/Or: A Fragment of Life
This book is in fact a thousand pages long. Though I can't say I cared much about the endless discourse on "Don Giovanni" Which ends up costing you a good couple hundred pages if you're in the same ship as I am , I found the last chapter, "The Equilibrium between the Aesthetic and the Ethical" to be breath-takingly eye-opening. There were parts were a dozen pages were written with heart-piercing accuracy mocking the self-induced despair that we can still see to this day among us.
Its a fantastic book, and like all other books I have of Kierkegaard, it shall never leave my bedside table. Feb 17, Matt rated it really liked it Shelves: worldly-lit , existentialism , loose-baggy-monsters , wisdom-philosophical-investigatons. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and Faustus hood?
Not take her to movies, but to cemetaries Whether its better to settle down and get married or to try and live zestfully as a single person. There are- fictiona "Should I get married, should I be good? There are- fictionally- two sets of letters here, a correspondence between youth and age. One from a dashing young cynic and the other from a boring, somewhat pompous old provincial. Wonderful writing results, limitless insights. I'd quote them but I don't happen to have the book on hand. The erotic in music, the hour when all masks fall and we are revealed to be who we are to ourselves, how marriage is of the mind as well as the spirit and the body, how all men are bores.
What makes this go down easy is the fact that Kierkegaard can write beautifully. Not only does he argue and reason himself out not like it's actually him, but it is Marriage, for one, is when you spend your entire day frowning over a book because there's an umlaut over one of the letters in a phrase that's not supposed to be there and suddenly your spouse comes in and you show it to them and they say 'O, look, it's just a speck of dust' and blows it away for good.
I'm not doing justice to this, but that's becuase I don't have enough personality! TO wit: Kierkegaard had a bad love affair early in life and spent the next few decades of his life living off his father's inheritance and writing philosophy under different pen names. He even went so far as to use personalized grammer to create these characters, they did a linguistic analysis on it.
But anyway he's literally speaking from different voices that manifest the ideas and conflicts he put himself through. The aesthete, the cynic, the ethicist, the tortured soul, the man of god. He sat day after day writing away and adding voices to the symphony of his mind. Amazing, right? No wonder he was a crazy genius. This is one of his first books, and its worth every moment of time spent on it. You'll enjoy, I'm sure. Feb 16, Armin added it Shelves: ebooks.
From Part Two: 1 The Aesthetic validity of marriage Marriage was constructed with highest in mind: lasting possession. To conquer, one needs pride; to possess, humility. To conquer one needs to be violent; to possess, to have patience. To conquer, greed; to possess, contentment Pride lends itself superbly to representation, for what is essential in pride is not succession in time but intensity in the moment. Humility is hard to represent just because it is indeed successive. In the case of h From Part Two: 1 The Aesthetic validity of marriage Marriage was constructed with highest in mind: lasting possession.
In the case of humility he really requires what poetry and art cannot provide, to see it in its constant process of becoming. Romantic love lends itself to representation in the moment; not so married love I can represent a hero conquering kingdoms; but a cross-bearer who everyday takes up his cross can never be represented, because the point of it is that he does it everyday. The development of the aesthetically beautiful and the perfecting of art depends on art's being able to free itself from space and to define itself in temporal terms.
Music has time as its element but poetry is the most complete of all arts which knows best how to justice to the significance of time. But it has its limits, and cannot represent something whose very truth is temporal succession. But if aesthetic remains incommensurable even with poetic representation, how can it be represented?
Answer: by being lived. With this I have reached the highest in aesthetic Married love, has its enemy in time, its victory in time, and its eternity in time Faithful, humble, patient, observant, persistent, willing All these virtues have the property of being inward specifications of the individual. And they have a temporal qualification, for their truth consists not in applying once, but all the time.
Married love does not come with an external mark Jan 09, Marcus Speh rated it it was amazing Shelves: reviewed. Jan 26, Simon Robs rated it liked it. I don't have to understand it all to do so, right? There were lucid passages and then there were obscure lengthy digressions that took your head for a ride.
There was of course the gap of time and context to hinder meaning as well. Anyone who can get so far down the rabbit hole of parsing the seduction of a young maiden with only an intension to bring her to the brink of ecstasy and then disappear think "Dangerous Liaisons" is not worth my time for the ride along. It's fiction but then it's not, pseudonym aside. That's the 'Either' side. The 'Or' side read much cleaner and countered with an intention to collapse the duality into a universal whole. This was Kierkegaard's first foray into what would become his method of exploring topics of query, espousing his determinations whilst remaining on the proverbial sidelines through second-hand authoring.
Brilliant and antithetical too. Christianity and existentialism parfait n' est ce pas? Once I get the whiff of an abstruse ity like this I change up my reading style and instead of slowing down for close inspection I accelerate not trying to understand so much as to accept the material and then let my subconscious go to work over time assembling a retrospect ah ha when something else triggers a comeback. Make sense? Read over yer head enough and eventually it will! Und so weiter Are passions, then, the Pagans of the soul?
Reason alone baptized? I guess the choice of this quote in the beginning of the book tells us a lot about the common thread in this book and the rest of his work. So the book is divided into two parts and Victor Eremita is the editor who published the work. A attributes the authorship of the diary to another man Johannes. The part II is a series of letters written to the young aesthete by an ethicist, an old judge named Wilhelm.
This part ends with a religious sermon written by another author and not judge wilhelm. And kierkegaard is quite poetic and this book well, at least the first part is a literary pleasure. I found the 'Either' part of the book somewhat tedious in itself. Music, art, seduction, Mozart and Don Giovanni is the greatest opera ever and so on. It took the 'Or' part of the book for me to really appreciate what was going on with the book as a whole.
The universal can never be understood except through the particular big theme with Kierkegaard and also Hegel but Hegel develops a coherent philosophy to deal with it. Kierkegaard really once again gets to the heart of the issue of being hum I found the 'Either' part of the book somewhat tedious in itself.
Kierkegaard really once again gets to the heart of the issue of being human within his ramblings. There is something rotten in Denmark and the world and Kierkegaard has only his feelings to guide him and tries to layout what that is. At the heart of being human is a paradox that is best revealed by an irony which is always jealous of authenticity. David Foster Wallace's in his Infinite Jest grabs onto these concepts from Kierkegaard and ends up writing my second favorite fictional book which explores the same concepts in the guise of fiction.
I'm not sure if others see that connection with "Infinite Jest" but as I was reading it I noticed Kierkegaard and Reginia were mentioned multiple times and I had connected the dots between the two within my own mind and what IJ was trying to get at. Being can contrast with appearance, thought, ought or becoming. The aesthetic is the being, and the ethical is the becoming in his formulation. There is an Aristotelian story that Kierkegaard is telling and he just assumes that his readers have read Aristotle. The beautiful, that which is its own teleology, is not the accidental but the essential and breaks the chain of necessity since it is only temporal and is not part of the mimetic, the they, our nature that is our culture.
It is not 'know thyself', it is 'choose thyself', Kierkegaard will state from his 'Or' alter ego. I only started understanding this book with the 'Or'. His 'Or' explained what the 'Either' was and what the 'Or' meant. The foundations for 'existentialism' definitely are within this book as witnessed by his 'choose thyself' stance. The one thing we are always free to choose is our freedom according to 'Or' and the advice he gives to 'Either'.
There's a direct connection between what is going on in the country today with a president who after a hurricane has devastated a part of it says moronic things like "Puerto Rico has always been in debt, they're an island with problems, an island surrounded by a body of water, an ocean, a really big ocean sic , Puerto Rico wants everything to be done for them" and with Kierkegaard's frustrations expressed in this book.
Forty eight percent of Americans voted for the speaker of such moronic statements and they share Kierkegaard's extreme reaction against the lessons from the Enlightenment which are subtly presented within this book. The connection lies here: The 'Or' needs 'the good' and 'the evil' to be from the infinite and unattainable.
Kierkegaard will say that God is always right and we are always wrong, and God is not love and we must learn to reject the absolute completely before we can know God most of this is gleamed from the text and other people might read it differently, but I think I could defend this if I were forced to based on this book alone.
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Also similarly Augustine, Miester Eckhart, and Pascal have a similar take on our relationship to God. The absolute truth is certain within the conservative mindset and with Kierkegaard and that eliminates the need for tolerance and therefore compassion after all, why would any one need facts, data, logic, reason, analysis or the empirical if they already know truth with certainty from their feelings and sentiments, after all who really needs science when you already know "climate change is a Chinese Hoax", good God conservatives why can't you read "Scientific American" they have demonstrated the scientific truth of the absurdity of that statement with facts, data, logic, reason, analysis and empirical based models.
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