More specifically, the ethic realm starts with a conscious effort to choose one's life, with a choice to choose. Either way, however, an individual can go too far in these realms and lose sight of his or her true self. Only faith can rescue the individual from these two opposing realms. After writing and defending his dissertation On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates , Kierkegaard left Copenhagen in October to spend the winter in Berlin. The main purpose of this visit was to attend the lectures by the German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling , who was an eminent figure at the time.
The lectures turned out to be a disappointment for many in Schelling's audience, including Mikhail Bakunin and Friedrich Engels , and Kierkegaard described it as "unbearable nonsense". He returned to Copenhagen in March with a draft of the manuscript, which was completed near the end of and published in February Is the question, "Who am I? The answer is, I was not at all, for I was not I.
The Ego is only in so far as it is conscious of itself. The proposition not A is not A will doubtless be recognized by every one as certain, and it is scarcely to be expected that any one will ask for its proof. But such a proof is impossible. In Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 's work, The Science of Logic , Hegel had criticized Aristotle 's laws of classical logic for being static, rather than dynamic and becoming, and had replaced it with his own dialectical logic. Hegel formulated addendums for Aristotle's laws: Thus when an author entitles the last section of the Logic " Actuality ," he thereby gains the advantage of making it appear that in logic the highest has already been achieved, or if one prefers, the lowest.
In the meantime, the loss is obvious, for neither logic nor actuality is served by placing actuality in the Logic. Actuality is not served thereby, for contingency , which is an essential part of the actual, cannot be admitted within the realm of logic. The dialectic structure of becoming renders existence far too easy, in Hegel's theory, because conflicts are eventually mediated and disappear automatically through a natural process that requires no individual choice other than a submission to the will of the Idea or Geist.
Kierkegaard saw this as a denial of true selfhood and instead advocated the importance of personal responsibility and choice-making. The book is the first of Kierkegaard's works written pseudonymously , a practice he employed during the first half of his career. Journals and Papers of Kierkegaard , 4A The first volume, the "Either", describes the " aesthetic " phase of existence. It contains a collection of papers, found by 'Victor Eremita' and written by 'A', the "aesthete. The aesthete, according to Kierkegaard's model, will eventually find himself in "despair", a psychological state explored further in Kierkegaard's The Concept of Anxiety and The Sickness Unto Death that results from a recognition of the limits of the aesthetic approach to life.
Kierkegaard's "despair" is a somewhat analogous precursor of existential angst. The natural reaction is to make an eventual "leap" to the second phase, the "ethical," which is characterized as a phase in which rational choice and commitment replace the capricious and inconsistent longings of the aesthetic mode. Ultimately, for Kierkegaard, the aesthetic and the ethical are both superseded by a final phase which he terms the "religious" mode. This is introduced later in Fear and Trembling.
The first section of Either is a collection of many tangential aphorisms , epigrams , anecdotes and musings on the aesthetic mode of life. The word 'diapsalmata' is related to ' psalms ', and means "refrains". It contains some of Kierkegaard's most famous and poetic lines, such as "What is a poet? If one were to read these as written they would show a constant movement from the outer poetic experience to the inner experience of humor. The movement from the outer to the inner is a theme in Kierkegaard's works. An essay discussing the idea that music expresses the spirit of sensuality.
During this process he develops the three stages of the musical-erotic. Here he makes the distinction between a seducer like Don Juan , who falls under aesthetic categories, and Faust, who falls under ethical categories.
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He's lost in the multiplicity of the "1, women he has to seduce". This section deals with theological questions. He asks if God seduces 1, people at one time or if he seduces one single individual at a time in order to make a believer. He also wrote about seducers in this way:. Arnim tells somewhere of a seducer of a very different style, a seducer who falls under ethical categories. This is the real seducer; the aesthetic interest here is also different, namely: There is evidently something very profound here, which has perhaps escaped the attention of most people, in that Faust, who reproduces Don Juan, seduces only one girl, while Don Juan seduced hundreds; but this one girl is also, in an intensive sense, seduced and crushed quite differently from all those Don Juan has deceived, simply because Faust, as reproduction, falls under the category of the intellectual.
The power of such a seducer is speech, i. A few days ago I heard one soldier talking to another about a third who had betrayed a girl; he did not give a long-winded description, and yet his expression was very pithy: The object of his desire is accordingly, when one rightly considers him aesthetically, something more than the mere sensuous. But what is this force, then by which Don Juan seduces? It is desire, the energy of sensuous desire.
He desires in every woman, the whole of womanhood, and therein lies the sensuously idealizing power with which he at once embellishes and overcomes his prey. The reaction beautifies and develops the one desired, who flushes in enhanced beauty by its reflection. Therefore all finite differences fade away before him in comparison with the main thing: Kierkegaard believed the spiritual element was missing in Don Juan's and in Faust's view of life. He wrote the following in Assume that a woman as beautiful as the concubine of a god and as clever as the Queen of Sheba were willing to squander the summa summarum [sum of sums] of her hidden and manifest charms on my unworthy cleverness; assume that on the same evening one of my peers invited me to drink wine with him and clink glasses and smoke tobacco in student fashion and enjoy the old classics together-I would not ponder very long.
What prudery, they shout. I do not think that it is so. In my opinion, all this beauty and cleverness, together with love and the eternal, have infinite worth, but without that a relation between man and woman, which nevertheless essentially wants to express this, is not worth a pipe of tobacco. In my opinion, when falling in love is separated from this-please note, the eternal from falling in love-one can properly speak only of what is left over, which would be the same as talking like a midwife, who does not beat about the bush, or like a dead and departed one who, "seared to spirit," does not feel stimulus.
It is comic that the action in the vaudeville revolves around four marks and eight shillings, and it is the same here also. When falling in love-that is, the eternal in falling in love-is absent, then the erotic, despite all possible cleverness, revolves around what becomes nauseating because spirit qua spirit wants to have an ambiguous involvement with it. It is comic that a mentally disordered man picks up any piece of granite and carries it around because he thinks it is money, and in the same way it is comic that Don Juan has 1, mistresses, for the number simply indicates that they have no value.
The next three sections are essay lectures from 'A' to the 'Symparanekromenoi',  a club or fellowship of the dead who practice the art of writing posthumous papers. The first essay, which discusses ancient and modern tragedy , is called the "Ancient Tragical Motif as Reflected in the Modern". Once again he is writing about the inner and the outer aspects of tragedy.
Can remorse be shown on a stage? What about sorrow and pain? Which is easier to portray? Draw nearer to me, dear brothers of Symparanekromenoi; close around me as I send my tragic heroine out into the world, as I give the daughter of sorrow a dowry of pain as a wedding gift. She is my creation, but still her outline is so vague, her form so nebulous, that each one of you is free to imagine her as you will, and each one of you can love her in your own way.
She is my creation, her thoughts are my thoughts, and yet it is as if I had rested with her in a night of love, as if she had entrusted me with her deep secret, breathed it and her soul out in my embrace, and as if in the same moment she changed before me, vanished, so that her actuality could only be traced in the mood that remained, instead of the converse being true, that my mood brought her forth to a greater and greater actuality. I placed the words in her mouth, and yet it is as if I abused her confidence; to me, it is as if she stood reproachfully behind me, and yet it is the other way around, in her mystery she becomes ever more and more visible.
She is my possession, my lawful possession, and yet sometimes it is as if I had slyly insinuated myself into her confidence, as if I must constantly look behind me to find her, and yet, on the contrary, she lies constantly before me, she constantly comes into existence only as I bring her forth.
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She is called Antigone. This name I retain from the ancient tragedy, which for the most part I will follow, although, from another point of view, everything will be modern. This is the totality which makes the sorrow of the spectator so infinitely deep. There is indeed enough freedom of action in this to make us love Antigone for her sisterly affection, but in the necessity of fate there is also, as it were, a higher refrain which envelops not only the life of Oedipus but also his entire family. Kierkegaard may have been responding to what Hegel wrote about "divine commands and the State and country and community and Freedom and Reason".
Subjective volition Passion is that which sets men in activity, that which effects" practical" realization. The Idea is the inner spring of action; the State is the actually existing, realized moral life. For it is the Unity of the universal, essential Will, with that of the individual; and this is "Morality. Sophocles in his Antigone , says, "The divine commands are not of yesterday, nor of to-day; no, they have an infinite existence, and no one could say whence they came.
It is the very object of the State that what is essential in the practical activity of men, and in their dispositions, should be duly recognized; that it should have a manifest existence, and maintain its position. It is the absolute interest of Reason that this moral Whole should exist; and herein lies the justification and merit of heroes who have founded states, however rude these may have been.
In the history of the World, only those peoples can come under our notice which form a state. For it must be understood that this latter is the realization of Freedom, i. It must further be understood that all the worth which the human being possesses all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State. For his spiritual reality consists in this, that his own essence Reason is objectively present to him, that it possesses objective immediate existence for him. Thus only is he fully conscious; thus only is he a partaker of morality of a just and moral social and political life.
For Truth is the Unity of the universal and subjective Will; and the Universal is to be found in the State, in its laws, its universal and rational arrangements. The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth. We have in it, therefore, the object of History in a more definite shape than before; that in which Freedom obtains objectivity, and lives in the enjoyment of this objectivity. For Law is the objectivity of Spirit; volition in its true form.
Only that will which obeys law, is free; for it obeys itself; it is independent and so free. When the State or our country constitutes a community of existence; when the subjective will of man submits to laws, the contradiction between Liberty and Necessity vanishes. The Rational has necessary existence, as being the reality and substance of things, and we are free in recognizing it as law, and following it as the substance of our own being. The objective and the subjective will are then reconciled, and present one identical homogeneous whole.
The second essay, called " Shadowgraphs: He studies how desire can come to grief in the single individual. He asks if love can be deceived. It is this reflective grief which I now propose to bring before you and, as far as possible, render visible by means of some pictures. I call these sketches Shadowgraphs, partly by the designation to remind you at once that they derive from the darker side of life, partly because like other shadowgraphs they are not directly visible.
When I take a shadowgraph in my hand, it makes no impression upon me, and gives me no clear conception of it. Only when I hold it up opposite the wall, and now look not directly at it, but at that which appears on the wall, am I able to see it. So also with the picture which I wish to show here, an inward picture which does not become perceptible until I see it through the external. This external is perhaps quite unobtrusive but not until I look through it, do I discover that inner picture which I desire to show you, an inner picture too delicately drawn to be outwardly visible, woven as it is of the tenderest moods of the soul.
If I look at a sheet of paper, there may seem to be nothing remarkable about it, but when I hold it up to the light and look through it, then I discover the delicate inner inscriptions, too ethereal, as it were, to be perceived directly. Turn your attention then, dear Symparanekromenoi, to this inner picture; do not allow yourselves to be distracted by the external appearance, or rather, do not yourselves summon the external before you, for it shall be my task constantly to draw it aside, in order to afford you a better view of the inner picture.
Historically he's asking if one person can bring the inner life of a historical figure into view. Psychologically he's asking if psychologists can really give an accurate picture of the inner world. Religiously he's asking if one person can accurately perceive the inner world of the spirituality of another person. He conducts several thought experiments to see if he can do it. The third essay, called "The Unhappiest One", discusses the hypothetical question: Is it Niobe , or Job , or the father of the prodigal son , or is it Periander ,  Abraham , or Christ?
This is, of course, about the new science of anthropology , which digs up everyone and tells the world if the people were happy or sad. Scribe wanted to create a template for all playwrights to follow. He insisted that people go to plays to escape from reality and not for instruction. He was against systematizing anything in literature because the system brings the artist to a stop and he or she just settles down in the system.
He wrote about the muse as the occasion for inspiration. How much of the calling of the muse depends on the muse, how much on the single individual, and how much on will or volition? Later in Concluding Unscientific Postscript he wrote; "inspiration is indeed an object of faith, is qualitatively dialectical, not attainable by means of quantification. Schlegel's own masterly translations of many of Shakespeare 's and some of Calderon's plays show what progress has been made in the comprehension of foreign poetry since Schiller , in his translation of Macbeth , cut up the play to suit the classical fancies of the day, and in so doing cut away all its boldness and realism.
The defect, which is the defect of the whole school and in Denmark does not pass away with the school, but is to be observed in the following period too , lies in the conception of poetry, which, marked by German one-sidedness, is so sweepingly transcendental that it quite shuts out the historical interpretation. One model, unquestioned, absolute, follows the other.
The French had found their models in the Greeks and Aristotle; now it is, say, Shakespeare who is alone absolutely worthy of imitation in poetry, Mozart as Kierkegaard maintains in Enten-Eller who is the perfect model in music. The sober, trustworthy, historical view of the matter, which recognises no perfect models, is entirely disregarded.
The great work is the model for a whole new style, is in itself a code of laws. To our Heiberg, for instance, St. Hansaften-Spil  is "the perfect realisation of the drama proper in lyrical form. They believe, for instance, that English tragedy is descended in a direct line from Greek tragedy, not perceiving that the tragedy of one nation is not the offspring of that of other nations, but the production of the environment, the civilisation, the intellectual life in the midst of which it comes into being.
Kierkegaard has been writing against reading about love instead of discovering love. Scribe's play is 16 pages long  and Kierkegaard writes a page review of the book. He wrote against the practice of reading reviews instead of the actual books themselves. In his review he goes to the play himself and sees his lover at a play called First Love ; for him this is a sign, like a four leaf clover, that she must be the one. But confusion sets in for the poor girl because of mistaken identity.
She is unable to make up her mind about love and says, "The first love is the true love, and one loves only once. Kierkegaard discussed this again in I myself feel what a sorry figure I cut these days when even the girls die as passionately of love as Falstaff passionately falls in the battle with Percy-and then rise up again, vigorous and nubile enough to drink to a fresh love. And by this kind of talk, or rather, by a life that justifies talking this way, I would think-provided that one person can benefit another at all-I would think that I have benefited my esteemed contemporaries more than by writing a paragraph in the system.
Imagine eternity in a confusion like that; imagine a man like that on Judgment Day; imagine hearing the voice of God, "Have you believed? To Kierkegaard's aesthete, boredom is the root of all evil, and so one must go to the ends of the Earth to avoid it. In this section, 'A' explains that, just as a farmer rotates the crops to keep the soil fertile, so must a man forever change himself in order to remain interesting.
Boredom rests upon the nothing that interlaces existence; its dizziness is infinite, like that which comes from looking into a bottomless abyss. Written by 'Johannes the Seducer', this volume illustrates how the aesthete holds the "interesting" as his highest value and how, to satisfy his voyeuristic reflections, he manipulates the girl he calls Cordelia from being boring into being interesting - he grooms her to fall in love with him, but then schemes to have her questioning the idea of engagement.
Finally, Johannes succeeds in having Cordelia break the engagement herself. He will use irony, artifice, caprice, imagination and arbitrariness to engineer poetically satisfying possibilities; he is not so much interested in the act of seduction as in willfully creating its interesting possibility. Faust says to Mephistopheles, "Listen, you must get that girl for me! Mephistopheles says he's "speaking like some Don Juan". Faust then calls the devil a Master Moraliser. Faustus asks Mephistopheles to answer some questions. He asks how "many heavens and spheres there are".
Mephistopheles says there are nine. Faustus asks "Who made the world? Goethe and Marlowe have devils and angels as third person or persons between him and his love, but Kierkegaard has a different third person involved in the discussions between Johannes the Seducer and Cordelia. He has this strange power called chance. Never have I cursed you because you have appeared; I curse you because you do not appear at all.
You, my only confident, the only being whom I consider worthy of being my ally and my enemy, always the same by forever being different, always incomprehensible, always a riddle! You whom I love with all my soul, in whose image I mold myself, why do you not show yourself? I do not beg you, I do not humbly entreat you to show yourself in this manner or that; such worship would be idolatry, not acceptable unto you.
I challenge you to battle, why do you not appear? Or has the pendulum of the world system stopped, is your riddle solved, so that you too have hurled yourself into the sea of eternity? Terrible thought, for thus the world comes to a standstill from boredom! I shall not overcome you with principles not with what foolish people call character; no, I will still be your poet!
I will not be a poet for others; show yourself! I will be your poet. I consume my own verse, and that will sustain me. Or do you think I am not worthy? Like a Bayadere dancing to the honor of her gods, so have I devoted myself to your service. Nimble, thinly clad, agile, unarmed, I renounce everything for you.
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I desire to own nothing, I love nothing, I have nothing to lose, but I am not therefore more worthy of you, you who long ago must have wearied of tearing human beings away from what they love, tired of their cowardly signs and cowardly petitions. Take me by surprise, I am ready. No stakes, let us fight for honor. Show her to me, show me a possibility which seems an impossibility; show her to me among the shades of the underworld, I shall fetch her up; let her hate me, despise me, be indifferent to me, love another, I am not afraid; only let the waters be troubled, the silence be broken.
To starve me in this way is paltry of you, you who imagine that you are stronger than I am. Kierkegaard has this seducer speak again in Stages on Life's Way  where he explores some of the possibilities and then once more where he tries to explain that misunderstanding can be the root of the unity of the tragic and the comic. Our young friend will always remain on the outside. Victor  is a fanatic; Constantin has paid too much for his intellect ; the Fashion Designer is a madman.
All four of you after the same girl will turn out to be a fizzle!
Have enough fanaticism to idealize, enough appetite to join in the jolly conviviality of desire, enough understanding to break off in exactly the same way death breaks off, enough rage to want to enjoy it all over again — then one is the favorite of the gods and of the girls. Kierkegaard has the category of choice and the esthetic as well as the ethical. Both can choose to love each other but the "how" of love is what Kierkegaard is getting at. The tragic is that the two lovers don't understand each other; the comic is that two who do not understand each other love each other.
That such a thing can happen is not inconceivable, for erotic love itself has its dialectic, and even if it were unprecedented, the construction, of course, has the absolute power to construct imaginatively. When the heterogeneous is sustained the way I have sustained it, then both parties are right in saying that they love. Love itself has an ethical and an esthetic element. She declares that she loves and has the esthetic element and understands it esthetically; he says that he loves and understands it ethically. Hence they both love and love each other, but nevertheless it is a misunderstanding.
The second volume represents the ethical stage. Victor Eremita found a group of letters from a retired Judge Vilhelm or William, another pseudonymous author, to 'A', trying to convince 'A' of the value of the ethical stage of life by arguing that the ethical person can still enjoy aesthetic values. The difference is that the pursuit of pleasure is tempered with ethical values and responsibilities. And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying: Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace!
But now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you and hem you in on every side, and then will dash you to the ground and your children within you will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying not them: It is written, "My house is a house of prayer," but you have made it a den of robbers. And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy him, but they did not find what they should do, for all the people clung to him and listened to him.
It's human nature to look to external forces when faced with our own inadequacies but the ethicist is against this. Comparison is an esthetic exercise and has nothing to do with ethics and religion. The ethical and the ethical-religious have nothing to do with the comparative. A person who blames others, that they have corrupted him, is talking nonsense and only informs against himself.
Concluding Unscientific Postscript p. Comparison is the most disastrous association that love can enter into; comparison is the most dangerous acquaintance love can make; comparison is the worst of all seductions. Lord Jesus Christ, our foolish minds are weak; they are more than willing to be drawn-and there is so much that wants to draw us to itself.
There is pleasure with its seductive power, the multiplicity with its bewildering distractions, the moment with its infatuating importance and the conceited laboriousness of busyness and the careless time-wasting of light-mindedness and the gloomy brooding of heavy-mindedness-all this will draw us away from ourselves to itself in order to deceive us.
But you, who are the truth, only you, Savior and Redeemer, can truly draw a person to yourself, which you have promised to do-that you will draw all to yourself. Then may God grant that by repenting we may come to ourselves, so that you, according to your Word, can draw us to yourself-from on high, but through lowliness and abasement. Introducing the ethical stage it is moreover unclear if Kierkegaard acknowledges an ethical stage without religion.
Freedom seems to denote freedom to choose the will to do the right and to denounce the wrong in a secular, almost Kantian style. However, remorse angeren seems to be a religious category specifically related to the Christian concept of deliverance. What are you afraid of then? After all, you are not supposed to give birth to another human being; you are supposed to give birth only to yourself.
It is as if you were captivated and entangled and could never escape either in time or in eternity; it is as if you lost yourself, as if you ceased to be; it is as if you would repent of it the next moment and yet it cannot be undone. It is an earnest and significant moment when a person links himself to an eternal power for an eternity, when he accepts himself as the one whose remembrance time will never erase, when in an eternal and unerring sense he becomes conscious of himself as the person he is.
The self that is the objective is not only a personal self but a social, a civic self. He then possesses himself as a task in an activity whereby he engages in the affairs of life as this specific personality. Here his task is not to form himself but to act, and yet he forms himself at the same time, because, as I noted above, the ethical individual lives in such a way that he is continually transferring himself from one stage to another.
It provides him with two guides. The one calls him forward. The other calls him back. They are, however, not in opposition to each other, these two guides, nor do they leave the wanderer standing there in doubt, confused by the double call. Rather the two are in eternal understanding with each other. For the one beckons forward to the Good, the other calls man back from evil.
The two guides call out to a man early and late, and when he listens to their call, then he finds his way, then he can know where he is, on the way. Because these two calls designate the place and show the way. Of these two, the call of remorse is perhaps the best. For the eager traveler who travels lightly along the way does not, in this fashion, learn to know it as well as a wayfarer with a heavy burden. The one who merely strives to get on does not learn to know the way as well as the remorseful man.
The eager traveler hurries forward to the new, to the novel, and, indeed, away from experience. But the remorseful one, who comes behind, laboriously gathers up experience. Kierkegaard's discourse has to do with the difference between wishing and willing in the development of a particular expectancy. Kierkegaard points to "faith as the highest" expectancy because faith is something that everyone has, or can have. Kierkegaard responds to him in this way:.
You know that you must not wish-and thereupon he went further. When his soul became anxious, he called to it and said: When you are anxious, it is because you are wishing; anxiety is a form of wishing, and you know that you must not wish-then he went further. When he was close to despair, when he said: I cannot; everyone else can-only I cannot not. Oh, that I had never heard those words, that with my grief I had been allowed to go my way undisturbed-and with my wish.
Then he called to his soul and said: Now you are being crafty, for you say that you are wishing and pretend that it is a question of something external that one can wish, whereas you know that it is something internal that one can only will ; you are deluding yourself, for you say: Everyone else can-only I cannot. And yet you know that that by which others are able is that by which they are altogether like you-so if it really were true that you cannot, then neither could the others.
So you betray not only your own cause but, insofar as it lies with you, the cause of all people; and in your humbly shutting yourself out from their number, you are slyly destroying their power. Then he went further. After he had been slowly and for a long time brought up under the disciplinarian in this way, he perhaps would have arrived at faith. Truth and Poetry, from My Own Life vol 1, 2 . Kierkegaard, using the pseudonym 'A. They are happy not to know his identity, for then they have only the book to deal with, without being bothered or distracted by his personality.
Both A and Judge Vilhelm attempt to focus primarily upon the best that their mode of existence has to offer. A fundamental characteristic of the aesthete is immediacy. Unrefined immediacy is characterized by immediate cravings for desire and satisfaction through enjoyments that do not require effort or personal cultivation e. Refined immediacy is characterized by planning how best to enjoy life aesthetically. The "theory" of social prudence given in Crop Rotation is an example of refined immediacy.
Hegel's Aesthetics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Instead of mindless hedonistic tendencies, enjoyments are contemplated and "cultivated" for maximum pleasure. However, both the refined and unrefined aesthetes still accept the fundamental given conditions of their life, and do not accept the responsibility to change it. If things go wrong, the aesthete simply blames existence, rather than one's self, assuming some unavoidable tragic consequence of human existence and thus claims life is meaningless. Just as the ethical sphere is a passageway-which one nevertheless does not pass through once and for all-just as repentance is its expression, so repentance is the most dialectical.
No wonder, then, that one fears it, for if one gives it a finger it takes the whole hand. Just as Jehovah in the Old Testament visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the latest generations, so repentance goes backward, continually presupposing the object of its investigation. In repentance there is the impulse of the motion, and therefore everything is reversed. This impulse signifies precisely the difference between the esthetic and the religious as the difference between the external and the internal.
Commitment is an important characteristic of the ethicist. Commitments are made by being an active participant in society, rather than a detached observer or outsider. The ethicist has a strong sense of responsibility, duty, honor and respect for his friendships, family, and career. Whereas the aesthete would be bored by the repetitive nature of marriage e. Here he described the enemies the single individual faces when trying to make a commitment, probability and the outcome.
There is a phantom that frequently prowls around when the making of a resolution is at stake-it is probability -a spineless fellow, as dabbler, a Jewish peddler, with whom no freeborn soul becomes involved, a good-for-nothing fellow who ought to be jailed instead of quacks, male and female, since he tricks people out of what is more valuable than money.
Anyone who with regard to resolution comes no further, never comes any further than to decide on the basis of probability, is lost for ideality, whatever he may become. If a person does not encounter God in the resolution, if he has never made a resolution in which he had a transaction with God, he might just as well have never lived. But God always does business wholesale, and probability is a security that is not registered in heaven. Thus it is so very important that there be an element in the resolution that impresses officious probability and renders it speechless.
There is a phantasm that the person making a resolution chases after the way a dog chases its shadow in the water; it is the outcome , a symbol of finiteness, a mirage of perdition-woe to the person who looks to it, he is lost. Just as the person who, if bitten by serpents, looked at the cross in the desert and became healthy, so the person who fastens his gaze on the outcome is bitten by a serpent, wounded by the secular mentality, lost both for time and for eternity.
Kierkegaard stresses the "eternal" nature of marriage and says "something new comes into existence " through the wedding ceremony. It never means changing the whole world or even changing the other person. The extremely nested pseudonymity of this work adds a problem of interpretation. A and B are the authors of the work, Eremita is the editor. Kierkegaard's role in all this appears to be that he deliberately sought to disconnect himself from the points of view expressed in his works, although the absurdity of his pseudonyms' bizarre Latin names proves that he did not hope to thoroughly conceal his identity from the reader.
In my career as an author, a point has now been reached where it is permissible to do what I feel a strong impulse to do and so regard as my duty — namely, to explain once for all, as directly and frankly as possible, what is what: The moment however unpropitious it may be in another sense is now appropriate; partly because as I have said this point has been reached, and partly because I am about to encounter for the second time in the literary field my first production.
Point of View, Lowrie translation p. Furthermore, Kierkegaard was a close reader of the aesthetic works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the ethical works of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Kierkegaard's writings in this book are close to what Goethe wrote in his Autobiography.
It was not long before I formed a connection with Lavater. Passages of my Letter of a Pastor to his Colleagues' had greatly struck him, for much of it agreed perfectly with his own views. With his never-tiring activity our correspondence soon became lively. At the time it commenced he was making preparations for his larger work on Physiognomy, —the introduction to which had already been laid before the public.
He called on all the world to send him drawings and outlines, and especially representations of Christ; and, although I could do as good as nothing in this way, he nevertheless insisted on my sending him a sketch of the Saviour such as I imagined him to look. Such demands for the impossible gave occasion for jests of many kinds, for I had no other way of defending myself against his peculiarities but by bringing forward my own. The number of those who had no faith in Physiognomy, or, at least, regarded it as uncertain and deceitful, was very great; and several who had a liking for Lavater felt a desire to try him, and, if possible, to play him a trick.
He had ordered of a painter in Frankfort, who was not without talent, the profiles of several well known persons. Lavater's agent ventured upon the jest of sending Bahrdt's portrait as mine, which soon brought back a merry but thundering epistle, full of all kinds of expletives and asseverations that this was not my picture,-— together with everything that on such an occasion Lavater would naturally have to say in confirmation of the doctrine of Physiognomy.
It is still traveling through purgatory. It does its work methodically. And when it has accomplished this second half of its preliminary work, Europe will leap from its seat and exult: Well burrowed, old mole! And now as to myself, no credit is due to me for discovering the existence of classes in modern society or the struggle between them.
Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this class struggle and bourgeois economists, the economic anatomy of classes. What I did that was new was to prove: Marx, Letter to Weydemeyer History is the judge — its executioner, the proletarian. The Afghans are a brave, hardy, and independent race; they follow pastoral or agricultural occupations only With them, war is an excitement and relief from the monotonous occupation of industrial pursuits.
Engels, On Afghanistan The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society. Production by an isolated individual outside society Marx, The Grundrisse It seems to be correct to begin with the real and the concrete, with the real precondition, thus to begin, in economics, with e.
However, on closer examination this proves false. The population is an abstraction if I leave out, for example, the classes of which it is composed. From there the journey would have to be retraced until I had finally arrived at the population again, but this time not as the chaotic conception of a whole, but as a rich totality of many determinations and relations.
Human anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape. In all forms of society there is one specific kind of production which predominates over the rest, Relations of personal dependence are the first social forms in which human productive capacity develops only to a slight extent and at isolated points. Personal independence founded on objective dependence is the second great form, in which a system of general social metabolism, of universal relations, of all-round needs and universal capacities is formed for the first time.
Free individuality, based on the universal development of individuals and on their subordination of their communal, social productivity as their social wealth, is the third stage. Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand. Capital and labour relate to each other here like money and commodity; the former is the general form of wealth, the other only the substance destined for immediate consumption. This is why capital is productive; i.
It ceases to exist as such only where the development of these productive forces themselves encounters its barrier in capital itself. Marx, 1The Grundrisse The pay of the common soldier is also reduced to a minimum — determined purely by the production costs necessary to procure him. But he exchanges the performance of his services not for capital , but for the revenue of the state. In bourgeois society itself, all exchange of personal services for revenue — including labour for personal consumption, cooking, sewing etc. All menial servants etc. But it does not occur to anyone to think that by means of the exchange of his revenue for such services, i.
Rather, he thereby spends the fruits of his capital. It does not change the nature of the relation that the proportions in which revenue is exchanged for this kind of living labour are themselves determined by the general laws of production. For example, when the peasant takes a wandering tailor, of the kind that existed in times past, into his house, and gives him the material to make clothes with. The man who takes the cloth I supplied to him and makes me an article of clothing out of it gives me a use value.
But instead of giving it directly in objective form, he gives it in the form of activity. I give him a completed use value; he completes another for me. The difference between previous, objectified labour and living, present labour here appears as a merely formal difference between the different tenses of labour, at one time in the perfect and at another in the present.
The separation of public works from the state, and their migration into the domain of the works undertaken by capital itself, indicates the degree to which the real community has constituted itself in the form of capital.
In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness.
The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or — this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms — with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto.
From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure. In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic — in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out.
No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society. Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation.
There is in every social formation a particular branch of production which determines the position and importance of all the others, and the relations obtaining in this branch accordingly determine the relations of all other branches as well. It is as though light of a particular hue were cast upon everything, tingeing all other colours and modifying their specific features. By party, I meant the party in the broad historical sense. Marx, Letter to Freiligrath, 29 February A philosopher produces ideas, a poet poems, a clergyman sermons, a professor compendia and so on.
A criminal produces crimes. If we take a closer look at the connection between this latter branch of production and society as a whole, we shall rid ourselves of many prejudices. Marx, Theories of Surplus Value All economists share the error of examining surplus-value not as such, in its pure form, but in the particular forms of profit and rent.
Marx, Marx To Engels 9 April I do not think I shall be able to deliver the manuscript of the first volume to Hamburg before October. I cannot go to Geneva. I consider that what I am doing through this work is far more important for the working class than anything I might be able to do personally at any Congress. Marx, Letter to Kugelmann The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as "an immense accumulation of commodities," its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity.
The different proportions in which different sorts of labour are reduced to unskilled labour as their standard, are established by a social process that goes on behind the backs of the producers, and, consequently, appear to be fixed by custom. As William Petty says, labour is the father of material wealth, the earth is its mother. The secret of the expression of value, namely, that all kinds of labour are equal and equivalent, because, and so far as they are human labour in general, cannot be deciphered, until the notion of human equality has already acquired the fixity of a popular prejudice.
This, however, is possible only in a society in which the great mass of the produce of labour takes the form of commodities, in which, consequently, the dominant relation between man and man, is that of owners of commodities. A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties. There it is a definite social relation between men, that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. This I call the Fetishism He begins, post festum , with the results of the process of development ready to hand before him.
The categories of bourgeois economy consist of such like forms. They are forms of thought expressing with social validity the conditions and relations of a definite, historically determined mode of production, viz. The whole mystery of commodities, all the magic and necromancy that surrounds the products of labour as long as they take the form of commodities, vanishes therefore, so soon as we come to other forms of production. Political Economy has indeed analysed, however incompletely, value and its magnitude, and has discovered what lies beneath these forms.
But it has never once asked the question why labour is represented by the value of its product and labour-time by the magnitude of that value. These formulae, which bear it stamped upon them in unmistakable letters that they belong to a state of society, in which the process of production has the mastery over man, instead of being controlled by him, such formulae appear to the bourgeois intellect to be as much a self-evident necessity imposed by Nature as productive labour itself.
It is with man as with commodities. Peter only establishes his own identity as a man by first comparing himself with Paul as being of like kind. And thereby Paul, just as he stands in his Pauline personality, becomes to Peter the type of the genus homo. The price or money-form of commodities is, like their form of value generally, a form quite distinct from their palpable bodily form; it is, therefore, a purely ideal or mental form Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 3 Modern society, which, soon after its birth, pulled Plutus by the hair of his head from the bowels of the earth, greets gold as its Holy Grail, as the glittering incarnation of the very principle of its own life.
Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 3 While the miser is merely a capitalist gone mad, the capitalist is a rational miser. Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 4 Because it is value, it has acquired the occult quality of being able to add value to itself. It brings forth living offspring, or, at the least, lays golden eggs. Labour is, in the first place, a process in which both man and Nature participate, and in which man of his own accord starts, regulates, and controls the material re-actions between himself and Nature.
He opposes himself to Nature as one of her own forces, Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 7 As capitalist, he is only capital personified. His soul is the soul of capital. But capital has one single life impulse, the tendency to create value and surplus-value, to make its constant factor, the means of production, absorb the greatest possible amount of surplus-labour. Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 10 The time during which the labourer works, is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has purchased of him.
In the United States of North America, every independent movement of the workers was paralysed so long as slavery disfigured a part of the Republic. Labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded. In every stockjobbing swindle every one knows that some time or other the crash must come, but every one hopes that it may fall on the head of his neighbour, after he himself has caught the shower of gold and placed it in safety.
Hence Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the labourer, unless under compulsion from society. Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 15 Capitalist production, therefore, develops technology, and the combining together of various processes into a social whole, only by sapping the original sources of all wealth-the soil and the labourer. That the latter has laid out his capital in a teaching factory, instead of in a sausage factory, does not alter the relation.
Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 16 On the level plain, simple mounds look like hills; and the imbecile flatness of the present bourgeoisie is to be measured by the altitude of its great intellects.. That which comes directly face to face with the possessor of money on the market, is in fact not labour, but the labourer. What the latter sells is his labour-power.
As soon as his labour actually begins, it has already ceased to belong to him; it can therefore no longer be sold by him. Labour is the substance, and the immanent measure of value, but has itself no value. That in their appearance things often represent themselves in inverted form is pretty well known in every science except Political Economy Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 19 A rise in the price of labour, as a consequence of accumulation of capital, only means, in fact, that the length and weight of the golden chain the wage-worker has already forged for himself, allow of a relaxation of the tension of it.
Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 25 Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labor at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. Thus integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.
Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 32 My standpoint, from which the evolution of the economic formation of society is viewed as a process of natural history, can less than any other make the individual responsible for relations whose creature he socially remains, however much he may subjectively raise himself above them. The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future. Is your wife also active in the German ladies' great emancipation campaign? I think that German women should begin by driving their husbands to self-emancipation.
Everyone who knows anything of history also knows that great social revolutions are impossible without the feminine ferment. Social progress may be measured precisely by the social position of the fair sex plain ones included. The English have at their disposal all necessary material preconditions for a social revolution.
What they lack is the spirit of generalization and revolutionary passion. Only the General Council [of the International] can provide them with this, and thus accelerate a truly revolutionary movement here and, in consequence, everywhere. Marx, Confidential Communication on Bakunin But the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes. Marx, The Paris Commune Instead of deciding once in three or six years which member of the ruling class was to misrepresent the people in Parliament, universal suffrage was to serve the people, It is generally the fate of completely new historical creations to be mistaken for the counterparts of older, and even defunct, forms of social life, to which they may bear a certain likeness.
A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois?
Should we not, on the contrary, reproach it for not having used it freely enough? Engels, On Authority , Of course the method of presentation must differ in form from that of inquiry. The latter has to appropriate the material in detail, to analyse its different forms of development, to trace out their inner connexion. Only after this work is done, can the actual movement be adequately described.
If this is done successfully, if the life of the subject-matter is ideally reflected as in a mirror, then it may appear as if we had before us a mere a priori construction. My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. With him it is standing on its head.
It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell. Political Economy can remain a science only so long as the class-struggle is latent or manifests itself only in isolated and sporadic phenomena. In France and in England the bourgeoisie had conquered political power. Thenceforth, the class-struggle, practically as well as theoretically, took on more and more outspoken and threatening forms.
It sounded the knell of scientific bourgeois economy. It was thenceforth no longer a question, whether this theorem or that was true, but whether it was useful to capital or harmful, expedient or inexpedient, politically dangerous or not. In place of disinterested inquirers, there were hired prize fighters; in place of genuine scientific research, the bad conscience and the evil intent of apologetic.
The bourgeoisie is just as necessary a precondition for the socialist revolution as is the proletariat itself. Marx, On Social Relations in Russia Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby. Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program In a higher phase of communist society, From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!
Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programmes.
Marx, Letter to Bracke This feat having been accomplished — as indicated under 1 I dispute its unqualified justification, especially where the Malthusian theory is concerned — the same theories are next transferred back again from organic nature to history and their validity as eternal laws of human society declared to have been proved.. Marx, Enegls to Lavrov Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, in the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first.
The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor and elsewhere, destroyed the forests to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that by removing along with the forests the collecting centres and reservoirs of moisture they were laying the basis for the present forlorn state of those countries. When the Italians of the Alps used up the pine forests on the southern slopes, so carefully cherished on the northern slopes, they had no inkling that by doing so they were cutting at the roots of the dairy industry in their region; they had still less inkling that they were thereby depriving their mountain springs of water for the greater part of the year, and making it possible for them to pour still more furious torrents on the plains during the rainy seasons.
Those who spread the potato in Europe were not aware that with these farinaceous tubers they were at the same time spreading scrofula. Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature — but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly.
Labour is the source of all wealth, the political economists assert. And it really is the source — next to nature, which supplies it with the material that it converts into wealth. But it is even infinitely more than this. It is the prime basic condition for all human existence, and this to such an extent that, in a sense, we have to say that labour created man himself. When we consider and reflect upon nature at large or the history of mankind or our own intellectual activity, at first we see the picture of an endless entanglement of relations and reactions in which nothing remains what, where and as it was, but everything moves, changes, comes into being and passes away.
This primitive, naive but intrinsically correct conception of the world is that of ancient Greek philosophy, and was first clearly formulated by Heraclitus: But this conception, correctly as it expresses the general character of the picture of appearances as a whole, does not suffice to explain the details of which this picture is made up, and so long as we do not understand these, we have not a clear idea of the whole picture.
In order to understand these details we must detach them from their natural or historical connection and examine each one separately, its nature, special causes, effects, etc. Only sound common sense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research. Nature is the proof of dialectics, and it must be said for modern science that it has furnished this proof with very rich materials increasing daily.
That is the only materialist conception of the matter. Freedom does not consist in any dreamt-of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends. The idea that political acts, grand performances of state, are decisive in history is as old as written history itself, and is the main reason why so little material has been preserved for us in regard to the really progressive evolution of the peoples which has taken place quietly, in the background, behind these noisy scenes on the stage.
Engels, The Theory of Force Neither of us cares a straw for popularity. Let me cite one proof of this: When Engels and I first joined the secret communist society, we did so only on condition that anything conducive to a superstitious belief in authority be eliminated from the Rules. Marx, Letter to Blos It is becoming equally imperative to bring the individual spheres of knowledge into the correct connection with one another. In doing so, however, natural science enters the field of theory and here the methods of empiricism will not work, here only theoretical thinking can be of assistance.
But theoretical thinking is an innate quality only as regards natural capacity. This natural capacity must be developed, improved, and for its improvement there is as yet no other means than the study of previous philosophy. Engels, On Dialectics Dialectics constitutes the most important form of thinking for present-day natural science, for it alone offers the analogue for, and thereby the method of explaining, the evolutionary processes occurring in nature, inter-connections in general, and transitions from one field of investigation to another.
The Greeks were not yet advanced enough to dissect, analyse nature — nature is still viewed as a whole, in general. The universal connection of natural phenomena is not proved in regard to particular; to the Greeks it is the result of direct contemplation. Herein lies the inadequacy of Greek philosophy, But herein also lies its superiority over all its subsequent metaphysical opponents.
If in regard to the Greeks metaphysics was right in particulars, in regard to metaphysics the Greeks were right in general. For nearly 40 years we have raised to prominence the idea of the class struggle as the immediate driving force of history, and particularly the class struggle between bourgeois and the proletariat as the great lever of the modern social revolution; At the founding of the International, we expressly formulated the battle cry: The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.
Nature is the proof of dialectics, and it must be said for modern science that it has furnished this proof with very rich materials increasingly daily, and thus has shown that, in the last resort, Nature works dialectically and not metaphysically; that she does not move in the eternal oneness of a perpetually recurring circle, but goes through a real historical evolution. The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged.
To save the Russian commune, a Russian revolution is needed. Marx, Letter To Vera Zasulich The history of the decline of primitive communities it would be a mistake to place them all on the same level; as in geological formations, these historical forms contain a whole series of primary, secondary, tertiary types, etc. All we have seen so far are some rather meagre outlines. But in any event the research has advanced far enough to establish that: Not only can we manage very well without the interference of the capitalist class in the great industries of the country, but that their interference is becoming more and more a nuisance.
Engels, Social Classes - Necessary and Superfluous Just as Darwin discovered the law of development or organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: Engels, Speech at the Graveside of Karl Marx It is precisely the alteration of nature by men, not solely nature as such, which is the most essential and immediate basis of human thought.
Engels, Dialectics of Nature It is, therefore, from the history of nature and human society that the laws of dialectics are abstracted. For they are nothing but the most general laws of these two aspects of historical development, as well as of thought itself. And indeed they can be reduced in the main to three: Every individual capital forms, however, but an individualised fraction, a fraction endowed with individual life, as it were, of the aggregate social capital, just as every individual capitalist is but an individual element of the capitalist class.
Marx, Capital Volume II It was Marx who had first discovered the great law of motion of history, the law according to which all historical struggles, whether they proceed in the political, religious, philosophical or some other ideological domain, are in fact only the more or less clear expression of struggles of social classes, and that the existence and thereby the collisions, too, between these classes are in turn conditioned by the degree of development of their economic position, by the mode of their production and of their exchange determined by it.
This law, which has the same significance for history as the law of the transformation of energy has for natural science. The economic facts, which have so far played no role or only a contemptible one in the writing of history, are, at least in the modern world, a decisive historical force; that they form the basis of the origination of the present-day class antagonisms; that these class antagonisms, in the countries where they have become fully developed, thanks to large-scale industry, hence especially in England, are in their turn the basis of the formation of political parties and of party struggles, and thus of all political history.
Engels, On the History of the Communist League