Sören Kierkegaard quotes

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Sören Kierkegaard

Birthdate: 5. May 1813
Date of death: 11. November 1855
Other names: Sören Aabye Kierkegaard

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology, and the philosophy of religion, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and parables. Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a "single individual", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment. He was against literary critics who defined idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, and thought that Swedenborg, Hegel, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegel and Hans Christian Andersen were all "understood" far too quickly by "scholars".Kierkegaard's theological work focuses on Christian ethics, the institution of the Church, the differences between purely objective proofs of Christianity, the infinite qualitative distinction between man and God, and the individual's subjective relationship to the God-Man Jesus the Christ, which came through faith. Much of his work deals with Christian love. He was extremely critical of the practice of Christianity as a state religion, primarily that of the Church of Denmark. His psychological work explored the emotions and feelings of individuals when faced with life choices.Kierkegaard's early work was written under the various pseudonyms that he used to present distinctive viewpoints and to interact with each other in complex dialogue. He explored particularly complex problems from different viewpoints, each under a different pseudonym. He wrote many Upbuilding Discourses under his own name and dedicated them to the "single individual" who might want to discover the meaning of his works. Notably, he wrote: "Science and scholarship want to teach that becoming objective is the way. Christianity teaches that the way is to become subjective, to become a subject." While scientists can learn about the world by observation, Kierkegaard emphatically denied that observation could reveal the inner workings of the world of the spirit.Some of Kierkegaard's key ideas include the concept of "subjective and objective truths", the knight of faith, the recollection and repetition dichotomy, angst, the infinite qualitative distinction, faith as a passion, and the three stages on life's way. Kierkegaard wrote in Danish and the reception of his work was initially limited to Scandinavia, but by the turn of the 20th century his writings were translated into French, German, and other major European languages. By the mid-20th century, his thought exerted a substantial influence on philosophy, theology, and Western culture. Wikipedia

Works

For Self-Examination
Sören Kierkegaard
Fear and Trembling
Fear and Trembling
Sören Kierkegaard
Stages on Life's Way
Sören Kierkegaard
Writing Sampler
Sören Kierkegaard
Christian Discourses
Sören Kierkegaard
Works of Love
Sören Kierkegaard
Aut-Aut
Sören Kierkegaard
The Sickness unto Death
Sören Kierkegaard

„Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard

Variant: Life can only be understood going backward, but must be lived going forward.

This quote waiting for review.

„It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard

1841
1840s, The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard, 1840s

„Do it or do not do it - you will regret both.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard, book Aut-Aut

Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.
Source: Either/Or

„Once you label me you negate me.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard

As attributed in Journal of Marriage and Family Counseling, Vol. 2 (1976) by American Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, p. 33; no earlier incidents have been located.
Variants:
When you label me, you negate me.
As attributed in Inner Joy (1985) by Kory Bloomfield, p 169
Disputed
Variant: What labels me, negates me.

„And this is one of the most crucial definitions for the whole of Christianity; that the opposite of sin is not virtue but faith.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard

Source: The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening

„Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard

Attributed to Kierkegaard in a number of books, the earliest located on Google Books being the 1976 book Jack Kerouac: Prophet of the New Romanticism by Robert A. Hipkiss, p. 83 http://books.google.com/books?id=g_JaAAAAMAAJ&q=%22problem+to+be+solved%22#search_anchor. In the 1948 The Hibbert Journal: Volumes 46-47 the quote is referred to as "the famous Kierkegaardian slogan" on p. 237 http://books.google.com/books?id=UuDRAAAAMAAJ&q=%22the+famous+Kierkegaardian+slogan+life+is+not+a+problem+to+be+solved%22#search_anchor, which may be intended to suggest the phrase is Kierkegaard-esque rather than being something written by Kierkegaard. In reality this seems to be a slightly altered version of the quote "The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved; it is a reality to be experienced" which appeared in the 1928 book The Conquest of Illusion by Jacobus Johannes Leeuw, p. 9 http://books.google.com/books?id=OFdVAAAAMAAJ&q=%22not+a+problem+to+be+solved%22#search_anchor.
Misattributed

„Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard

Source: The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin

„People understand me so poorly that they don't even understand my complaint about them not understanding me.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard

Variant: People understand me so little that they do not even understand when I complain of being misunderstood.
Source: The Journals of Kierkegaard

„It is perfectly true, as the philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard

Journals IV A 164 (1843)
See Phenomenology: Critical Concepts in Philosophy, by Dermot Moran (2002)
Variants:
We live forward, but we understand backward.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
1840s, The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard, 1840s
Original: (da) Det er ganske sandt, hvad Philosophien siger, at Livet maa forstaaes baglænds. Men derover glemmer man den anden Sætning, at det maa leves forlænds.

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