The weaker members of the community are brought, by the force of example, by prejudice and convenience, by the entire legion of social influences, gradually to lose their individuality. They make themselves mere instruments for the whole, and offer, so to speak, their individuality as a contribution to the great general fund of society, where it disappears as in an abyss.
For many days I had been debating within myself many and diverse things, seeking constantly, and with anxiety, to find out my real self, my best good, and the evil to be avoided, when suddenly one—I know not, but eagerly strive to know, whether it were my-self or another, within me or without— said to me:
Category: Kierkegaard's Christian world viewTags: Alexander Humboldt, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Elijah, Erasmus, Erasmus Darwin, Estrangement, Francis Bacon, Francois Rabelais, Friedrich Nietzsche, God, Hegel, Holy Bible, Johann Fichte, Johann Goethe, John Locke, John of Salisbury, Peter Lombard, Plato, René Descartes, Rousseau, Saint Sugustine, Science, Soren Kierkegaard, Spirit and Mind, Theron Gray
When Father died, Sibbern said to me, “Now you will never get your theological degree,” and then I did get it. If Father had lived, I would never have gotten it. When I broke the engagement, Peter said to me, “Now you are lost.” And yet it is clear that if I have indeed amounted to something, I did it through that step. Journals VIA8—
It was as alien as it could possibly be to my nature to want to terrify others, and therefore I both sadly and perhaps also a bit proudly found my joy in comforting others and in being gentleness itself to them-hiding the terror in my own interior being. So my idea was to give my contemporaries (whether or not they themselves would want to understand) a hint in humorous form (in order to achieve a lighter tone) that a much greater pressure was needed-but then no more; I aimed to keep my heavy burden to myself, as my cross. I have often taken exception to anyone who was a sinner in the strictest sense and then promptly got busy terrifying others.
What if St. Paul had lived in our times? His concern for people may well have caused him to discover many a method which is hidden from us. But would he, I wonder, when this became necessary, have changed the fixed and incorruptible word which offers peace?