Sunday, March 20, 2005
The Logic of Melancholy Joy
Kierkegaard tried to throw off his melancholy and become known as quite a bon viveur (did I spell that correctly Eva?) in Copenhagen society. However, his journal revealed a darker, suicidal side:
"I have just returned from a party of which I was the life and soul; witty banter flowed from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me - but I came away, indeed that dash should be as long as the radii of the earth's orbit wanting to shoot myself."
At the core of his work is the rejection of systematized, logical thought as a definitive guide to life and meaning. His chief target here was Hegel, whose philosophical system was seen by many in the mid nineteenth century as able to explain virtually everything. Hegel thought that wherever there appeared to be a contradiction, a thesis and antithesis, it would be possible to reach rational harmony by means of a synthesis between the two. What is irrational in the original two positions is thus eliminated and what is rational is preserved. But Kierkegaard argued that the 'movement' in the synthesis is not explained. If the synthesis is fully contained in the thesis and antithesis, then the synthesis is no real progression at all. If, on the other hand, there is something novel in the synthesis, then the movement is not strictly rational, as something new must have been introduced that was not contained in the original pairing.
Kierkegaard's point is that no matter how rigorous your logical system, there will always be gaps. As these gaps are logical gaps, it is futile to try and bridge them. Instead, they can only be breached by a leap of faith. What characterizes a leap of faith is the absolute uncertainty that underlies it. Faith is by definition that which cannot be proven or disproved. That is why a leap of faith is undertaken.
I take from Kierkegaard the idea that human existence requires real 'passion' as well as thought. It is well, then, that I am surrounded by those who are willing to forgive, for surly passion will overcome reason and forgiveness will be needed.
So I ask again: What are your desires?
What is your passion? What do you think?
- posted by -g @ 4:39 PM | | 0 rocks in pond
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