The Concept of Anxiety
|The Concept of Anxiety|
Danish title page to The Concept of Anxiety
|Original title||Begrebet Angest|
|Series||First authorship (Pseudonymous)|
|Genre(s)||Christianity, psychology, theology|
|Publisher||Princeton University Press 1980|
|Publication date||June 17, 1844|
|Published in English||1946 - First Translation|
|Followed by||Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1844|
The Concept of Anxiety (Danish: Begrebet Angest): A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin, is a philosophical work written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1844. The original 1944 English translation by Walter Lowrie. (now out of print), had the title The Concept of Dread  Kierkegaard dedicated almost all of his Upbuilding Discourses[nb 1] to his father. The Concept of Anxiety was dedicated "to the late professor Poul Martin Møller". He used the pseudonym Vigilius Haufniensis, which, according to Kierkegaard scholar Josiah Thompson, is the Latin transcription for “the Watchman" of Copenhagen for The Concept of Anxiety.
All of Kierkegaard's books have either a preface, dedication, or prayer at the beginning. This book includes a lengthy introduction. The Concept of Anxiety was published on exactly the same date as Prefaces, June 17, 1844. Both books deal with Hegel’s idea of mediation. Mediation is a common thread throughout Kierkegaard’s works. His work up to this point was to show that faith was being mediated by knowledge. Here he takes up the questions of sin and guilt.
For Kierkegaard (writing as a pseudonymous author, Vigilius Haufniensis), anxiety/dread/angst is unfocused fear. Kierkegaard uses the example of a man standing on the edge of a tall building or cliff. When the man looks over the edge, he experiences a focused fear of falling, but at the same time, the man feels a terrifying impulse to throw himself intentionally off the edge. That experience is anxiety or dread because of our complete freedom to choose to either throw oneself off or to stay put. The mere fact that one has the possibility and freedom to do something, even the most terrifying of possibilities, triggers immense feelings of dread. Kierkegaard called this our "dizziness of freedom."
Kierkegaard focuses on the first anxiety experienced by man: Adam's choice to eat from God's forbidden tree of knowledge or not. Since the concepts of good and evil did not come into existence before Adam ate the fruit, which is now dubbed original sin, Adam had no concept of good and evil, and did not know that eating from the tree was "evil." What he did know was that God told him not to eat from the tree. The anxiety comes from the fact that God's prohibition itself implies that Adam is free and that he could choose to obey God or not. After Adam ate from the tree, sin was born. So, according to Kierkegaard, anxiety precedes sin, and it is anxiety that leads Adam to sin. Kierkegaard mentions that anxiety is the presupposition for hereditary sin.
However, Kierkegaard mentions that anxiety is a way for humanity to be saved as well. Anxiety informs us of our choices, our self-awareness and personal responsibility, and brings us from a state of un-self-conscious immediacy to self-conscious reflection. (Jean-Paul Sartre calls these terms pre-reflective consciousness and reflective consciousness.) An individual becomes truly aware of their potential through the experience of anxiety. So, anxiety may be a possibility for sin, but anxiety can also be a recognition or realization of one's true identity and freedoms.
Kierkegaard begins this book with a short preface. By now he expects his readers to be aware that the preface is a key to the meaning of the book. Haufniensis uses the word "generation' several times as well as "epoch" and "era" in his introduction to prepare the reader for his subject. Progress from the "first science", metaphysics, to the "second science", dogma. Historians, psychologists, anthropologists, theologians and philosophers were all in agreement that the past must be preserved if there is to be a future for humankind. These soft sciences were of interest to Kierkegaard only in so far as they related to the progress of Christianity. His preface is followed by his first introduction since he published his thesis, The Concept of Irony. It could mark a new beginning but that is not known for certain.
Friedrich Schelling wrote Philosophical Inquiries into the Essence of Human Freedom in 1809, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel wrote his Science of Logic between 1812 and 1816, and Johann Friedrich Herbart wrote about pedagogy. All of them were discussing how good and evil come into existence. Kierkegaard questioned Hegel and Schelling's emphasis on the negative (evil) and aligned himself with Hebart's emphasis on the positive (good). Kierkegaard says "anxiety about sin produces sin" in this book and later says it again:
Repentance is a recollection of guilt. From a purely psychological point of view, I really believe that the police aid the criminal in not coming to repent. By continually recounting and repeating his life experiences, the criminal becomes such a memory expert at rattling off his life that the ideality of recollection is driven away. Really to repent, and especially to repent at once, takes enormous ideality; therefore nature also can help a person, and delayed repentance, which in regard to remembering is negligible, is often the hardest and deepest. The ability to recollect is the condition for all productivity. If a person no longer wishes to be productive, he needs merely to remember the same thing that recollecting he wanted to produce, and production is rendered impossible, or it will become so repulsive to him that the sooner he abandons it the better.
- Soren Kierkegaard, Stages on Life’s Way, Preface, Hong p. 14 (1845)
All of them were involved with the dialectical question of exactly "how" an individual, or group, or race changes from good to evil or evil to good. Kierkegaard pressed forward with his category of "the single individual". Kierkegaard's Introduction is in Primary Sources below.
The anxious person stands at the crossroads and wonders which way to go. Kierkegaard captured the sentiment well in his book Either/Or, which is filled with examples of people at the crossroads. Part I is all about an individual who is anxious about everything while Part II is about an individual who is more relaxed because he's developed a life view. Kierkegaard used his Two Upbuilding Discourses published just after Either/Or to provide a positive alternative to the individual at the crossroads. The first person, from Either/Or Part I, is anxious about the future and the second, from his discourse, has developed a life view.
What portends? What will the future bring? I do not know, I have no presentiment. When a spider hurls itself down from some fixed point, consistently with its nature, it always sees before it only an empty space wherein it can find no foothold however much it sprawls. And so it is with me: always before me an empty space; what drives me forward is a consistency which lies behind me. This life is topsy-turvy and terrible, not to be endured. Part 1 p. 24 Swenson
"How, then, shall we face the future? When the sailor is out on the ocean, when everything is changing all around him, when the waves are born and die, he does not stare down into the waves, because they are changing. He looks up at the stars. Why? Because they are faithful; they have the same location now that they had for our ancestors and will have for generations to come. By what means does he conquer the changeable? By the eternal. By the eternal, one can conquer the future, because the eternal is the ground of the future, and therefore through it the future can be fathomed. What, then, is the eternal power in a human being? It is faith. What is the expectancy of faith? Victory-or, as Scripture so earnestly and so movingly teaches us, that all things must serve for good those who love God. Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Soren Kierkegaard 1843-1844 Copyright 1990 by Howard V. Hong Princeton University Press p. 19
The Brothers Grimm were writing about the use of folktales as educational stories to keep individuals from falling into evil hands. Kierkegaard refers to The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was in The Concept of Anxiety (p. 155). Can the "power of the example", or theatre pedagogy, or the theatre of the absurd, help an individual learn how to find the good? Imagination can be of assistance but it can also keep an individual from making crucial decisions. What's keeping him from making the decision? Nothing except the imagination of the individual involved in making the decision, imaginations of guilt and sin and fear and rejection. In Fear and Trembling Abraham had to choose to follow God or call him a monster. In Repetition the Young Man had to choose to get married or to follow his love of writing. Both were "imaginative constructions"  created by Kierkegaard that dealt with hope and love. Kierkegaard felt that imaginative constructions should be upbuilding. Kierkegaard wrote about "the nothing of despair", God as the unknown is nothing, and death is a nothing. The single individual has a reality which fiction can never represent. People should learn the difference between imaginary constructions and reality. Many things are hard to understand but Kierkegaard says, "Where understanding despairs, faith is already present in order to make the despair properly decisive." 
God grant, that all playwrights compose nothing but tearjerking plays, full of all possible anxiety and horror that would not allow your flabbiness to rest on the cushioned theater seats and let you be perfumed with supranatural power but would horrify you until in the world of actuality you learn to believe in that which you want to believe in only in poetry. Either/Or Part II p. 122
The First Sin 
Kierkegaard is not concerned with what Eve's sin was, he says it wasn't sensuousness, but he is concerned with how Eve learned that she was a sinner. He says "consciousness presupposes itself. Eve became conscious of her first sin through her choice and Adam became conscious of his first sin through his choice. God's gift to Adam and Eve was the "knowledge of freedom" and they both decided to use it. In Kierkegaard's Journals he said, "the one thing needful" for the doctrine of Atonement to make sense was the "anguished conscience." He wrote, "Remove the anguished conscience, and you may as well close the churches and turn them into dance halls."
Kierkegaard says, every person has to find out for him or her self how guilt and sin came into their worlds. Kierkegaard argued about this in both Repetition and Fear and Trembling where he said philosophy must not define faith. He asks his reader, the single individual, to consider some questions. Can sin and guilt be transferred from one person to another? Is it "an epidemic that spreads like cowpox"? Was every Jewish person responsible for the crucifixion of Christ? Does the single individual find sin in others or in him or herself? What was the intention of Christianity? Does the concept emerge through definitions and examples? Sin and guilt are both religious categories as far as Kierkegaard is concerned. He wrote:
The concept of guilt as a totality-category belong essentially in the religious sphere. As soon as the esthetic wants to have something to do with it, this concept becomes dialectical like fortune and misfortune, whereby everything is confused. Esthetically, the dialectic of guilt is this: the individual is without guilt, then guilt and guiltlessness come along as alternating categories of life; at times the individual is guilty of this or that and at times is not guilty. If this or that had not been, the individual would not have become guilty; in other circumstances, one who is not considered as being without guilt would have become guilty. Soren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, (1846) Hong p. 537
With the help of faith, anxiety brings up the individuality to rest in providence. So it is also in relation to guilt, which is the second thing anxiety discovers. Whoever learns to know his guilt only from the finite is lost in the finite, and finitely the question of whether a man is guilty cannot be determined except in an external, juridical, and most imperfect sense. Whoever learns to know his guilt only by analogy to judgments of the police court and the supreme court never really understands that he is guilty, for if a man is guilty, he is infinitely guilty. Therefore, if such an individuality who is educated only by finitude does not get a verdict from the police or a verdict by public opinion to the effect that he is guilty, he becomes of all men the most ridiculous and pitiful, a model of virtue who is a little better than most people but not quite so good as the parson. What help would such a man need in life? Soren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety, Thomte p. 161
Kierkegaard observes that it was the prohibition itself not to eat of the tree of knowledge that gave birth to sin in Adam. The prohibition predisposes that which breaks forth in Adam’s qualitative leap. He questions the doctrine of Original Sin, also called Ancestral sin., "The doctrine that Adam and Christ correspond to each other confuses things. Christ alone is an individual who is more than an individual. For this reason he does not come in the beginning but in the fullness of time." Sin has a "coherence in itself".
In Philosophical Fragments Kierkegaard described the Learner in Error before God. Here he questions how the Learner discovers this Error. New sciences were emerging that challenged the conventional ethics of the time as well as the notions of guilt and sin. Kierkegaard described the struggle elegantly. He says,
"Ethics and dogmatics struggle over reconciliation in a border area fraught with fate. Repentance and guilt torment forth reconciliation ethically, while dogmatics in this receptivity to the proffered reconciliation, has the historically concrete immediacy with which it begins its discourse in the great dialogue of science. And now what will be the result?" and "Innocence is ignorance, but how is it lost?" The Concept of Anxiety P. 12, 39
In Rosenkranz’s Psychology there is definition of disposition [Gemyt]. On page 322 he says that disposition is the unity of feeling and self-consciousness. Then in preceding presentation he superbly explains “that the feeling unfolds itself to self-consciousness, and vice versa, that the content of the self-consciousness is felt by the subject as his own. It is only this unity that can be called disposition. If the clarity of cognition is lacking, knowledge of the feeling, there exists only the urge of the spirit of nature, the turgidity of immediacy. On the other hand, if feeling is lacking, there remains only the abstract concept that has not reached the last inwardness of the spiritual existence, that has not become one with the self of the spirit.” (cf. pp. 320-321) If a person now turns back and pursues his definition of “feeling” as the spirit’s immediate unity of its sentience and its consciousness (p. 142) and recalls that in the definition of Seelenhaftigkeit [sentience] account has been taken of the unity with the immediate determinants of nature, then by taking all this together he has the conception of a concrete personality. [but, Kierkegaard says] Earnestness and disposition correspond to each other in such a way that earnestness is a higher as well as the deepest expression for what disposition is. Disposition is the earnestness of immediacy, while earnestness, on the other hand, is the acquired originality of disposition, its originality preserved in the responsibility of freedom and its originality affirmed in the enjoyment of blessedness.
- Soren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety, Nichol p. 148[nb 2]
We are all predisposed to certain actions, some good some evil. Are these habits or sins? Kierkegaard and Rosenkranz thought it was a good idea for a person to find out about their own dispositions.
if you cannot control yourself, you will scarcely find anyone else who is able to do it.
- "B" to "A", Either/Or, Vol II p. 206-207 Hong 1987
Especially among woman there are instances of an individual who in anxiety conceives of most trivial bodily functions as sinfulness. A person may smile at this, but no one knows whether the smile will save or destroy, for if the smile contributes not to the opening of the individuality but to the closing of it, such a smile can cause irreparable harm. Soren Kierkegaard Papers V B 53:34 1844
Kierkegaard believed "each generation has its own task and need not trouble itself unduly by being everything to previous and succeeding generations". In an earlier book he had said, "to a certain degree every generation and every individual begins his life from the beginning", and in another, "no generation has learned to love from another, no generation is able to begin at any other point than the beginning", "no generation learns the essentially human from a previous one. He was against the Hegelian idea of mediation because it introduces a "third term" that comes between the single individual and the object of desire.
The individual does not relate himself to the ideal through the generation or the state or the century or the market price of human beings in the city where he lives-that is, by these things he is prevented from relating himself to the ideal-but relates himself to it even though he errs in his understanding of it. … Because of the jumbling together of the idea of the state, of sociality, of community, and of society, God can no longer catch hold of the single individual. … The immorality of our age could easily become a fantastical-ethical debilitation, the disintegration of a sensual, soft despair, in which individuals grope as in a dream for a concept of God without feeling any terror in so doing. God in the indefinite. … Let us sin, sin outright, seduce girls, murder men, rob on the highway-that at least can be repented, and God can at least catch hold of such a criminal. Let us mock God outright, this is always preferable to the debilitating importance with which one wants to demonstrate the existence of God. One demonstrates the existence of God by worship-not by demonstrations. Soren Kierkegaard Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong p. 543-545
Kierkegaard is wondering if one generation can learn wonder, love, anxiety, peace, patience, hope, from a previous generation or if each "single individual" in each generation must learn these things, for the most part, on their own. He asked the same question in Philosophical Fragments about how someone learns to become a Christian. Are we Christian because of our family and personal history or because we have made a "decisive resolution"? What kind of goods is the Christian looking to gain? Isn't hope a good and despair an evil in yourself that you work to change into a the good called hope? Isn't patience a good and impatience an evil that can be changed if you want to change it? Isn't your soul a good? Is the soul given to the chosen few or is it given as a free gift to all, without merit? [nb 2] Is our future a matter of fate, of choice, or a combination of both? Kierkegaard answers this way:
If a person does not first make clear to himself the meaning of “self,” it is of no use to say of sin that it is selfishness. Only when the concept of the particular is given can there be any talk of selfishness, however, no science can say what the self is without stating it quite generally. And this is the wonder of life, that each man who is mindful of himself knows what no science knows, since he knows who he himself is, and this is the profundity of the Greek saying know yourself, which too long has been understood in the German way as pure self-consciousness, the airiness of idealism. It is about time to seek to understand it in the Greek way, and then again as the Greeks would have understood it if they had possessed Christian presuppositions. However, the real “self” is posited only by the qualitative leap. In the prior state there can be no question about it. Therefore, when sin is explained by selfishness, one becomes entangled in indistinctness because, on the contrary, it is by sin and in sin that selfishness comes into being.
- Soren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety, Nichol p. 78-79
His soul is a self-contradiction between the external and the internal, the temporal and the eternal here, therefore, the same thing can be possessed and the same thing gained at the same time. Indeed, what is more, if the soul is this contradiction, it can be possessed only in such a way that it is gained and gained in such a way that it is possessed. The person who possesses the external does not need to gain it-in fact, he is even unable to do that. He can give away what he possesses and then see whether he can gain the same thing again; he can use what he possesses to gain something new, but he cannot simultaneously possess and gain the very same thing. ... If the person who wants to gain his soul does not want to understand that when he has won patience he has won what he needed, what was of more value than any other winning, then he will never gain it. It is already obvious here how secure this gain is, since in a profound sense it is so cunning that the more the world deceives, the more patience wins. In this gain, the very condition is also the object and is independent of anything external. The condition, therefore, after it has served the gaining, remains as that which is gained; this is different from what happens when the merchant sold his merchandise and the fisherman has caught his fish-they lay aside patience and also their tools so the they may enjoy what they gained. In the external, patience is some third element that must be added, and, humanly speaking, it would be better if it were not needed; some days it is needed more, some days less, all according to fortune, whose debtor a person becomes, even though he gained ever so little, because only when he wants to gain patience does he become one’s debtor. Soren Kierkegaard, Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Hong p. 163-168
Man is a synthesis of psyche and body, but he is also a synthesis of the temporal and the eternal. In the former, the two factors are psyche and body, and spirit is the third, yet in such a way that one can speak of a synthesis only when the spirit is posited. The latter synthesis has only two factors, the temporal and the eternal. Where is the third factor? And if there is no third factor, there really is no synthesis, for a synthesis that is a contradiction cannot be completed as a synthesis without a third factor, because the fact that the synthesis is a contradiction asserts that it is not. What, then, is the temporal? The Concept of Anxiety p. 85
June 3 Midnight: So once again I am sitting on watch. If I were to say that to a third party, it no doubt would need an explanation, for it is readily understood that the pilot along the coast, the sentinel at the top of the tower, the lookout at the bow of a ship, and the robber in his lair sit and watch because there is something to watch for. But someone sitting alone in his room-for what can he be watching? And someone who anticipates that everything-that is, the minor little affair that everyone else would perhaps disregard-will pass quietly, he, of course, is on watch for nothing. No wonder it is a strain for his soul and his head, because to look for something is good for the eyes, but to look for nothing strains them. And when the eyes look for nothing for a long time they finally see themselves or their own seeing; in the same way the emptiness surrounding me presses my thinking back into myself. Soren Kierkegaard, Stages on Life's Way, Hong p.356-357
Anxiety and nothing always correspond to each other. As soon as the actuality of freedom and of spirit is posited, anxiety is canceled. But what then does the nothing of anxiety signify more particularly in paganism. This is fate. Fate is a relation to spirit as external. It is the relation between spirit and something else that is not spirit and to which fate nevertheless stands in a spiritual relation. Fate may also signify exactly the opposite, because it is the unity of necessity and accidental. … A necessity that is not conscious of itself is eo ipso the accidental in relation to the next moment. Fate, then, is the nothing of anxiety. The Concept of Anxiety p. 96-97
Kierkegaard repeats the synthesis again in The Sickness Unto Death and he tied it to his idea of the "Moment" from Philosophical Fragments. He says, "For the Greeks, the eternal lies behind as the past that can only be entered backwards. The category I maintain should be kept in mind, repetition, by which eternity is entered forwards." Kierkegaard wrote Edifying Discourses in Diverse Spirits in 1847. He said, "A Providence watches over each man’s wandering through life. 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. These guides are called repentance and remorse. 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 also mentions this idea in his Journals. He wrote: "It is quite true what philosophy says; that life must be understood backwards. But then one forgets the other principle: that it must be lived forwards. Which principle, the more one thinks it through, ends exactly with the thought that temporal life can never properly be understood precisely because I can at no instant find complete rest in which to adopt a position: backwards.
The English poet Christina Rossetti said the same thing in her poem Advent: "The days are evil looking back, The coming days are dim; Yet count we not His promise slack, But watch and wait for Him." If we want to look back to the age of Constantine The Great and start there in our search for Christianity we will go forward and think that an emperor can create millions of Christians by edict. Constantin Constantius wanted to do that in Repetition. Goethe wanted to start with the black plague in Faust or with the Lisbon Earthquake in his autobiography. These are negative beginnings. Both Rossetti and Kierkegaard take this present age as a starting point. Now the single individual interested in becoming a Christian can go forward toward a goal without continually looking over the shoulder.
Hegel looks at eternity as an unfolding, or a transition, from stage to stage, from the Persian, to the Syrian, to the Egyptian religion as Object, Good. Kierkegaard didn't want to be doubl-minded about the good, and, after his own fashion, created his own system of good in 1847 in Edifying Discourses in Diverse Spirits. He brought eternity into relation with his own feelings of guilt in relation to Regine Olsen, his fiance, in Stages on Life's Way (1845) because he had so much anxiety about disclosing his inner being to her, it was "terrifying".
Compared with eternity, is time the stronger? Has time the power to separate us eternally? I thought it had only the power to make me unhappy within time but would have to release me the instant I exchange time for eternity and am where she is, for eternally she is continually with me. If so, then what is time? It was that we two did not see each other last evening, and if she found another, it was that we two did not see each other last evening because she was out somewhere else. And whose fault was that? Yes, the fault was mine. But would I or could I nevertheless act in any other way than I have acted if the first is assumed to have happened? No! I regret the first. From that moment on, I have acted according to the most honest deliberation and to the best of my ability, as I also had done the first, until I perceived my error. But does eternity speak so frivolously about guilt? At least time does not; it will no doubt still teach what it has taught me, that a life is something more than last evening. But eternity will, of course, also heal all sickness, give hearing to the deaf, give sight to the blind and physical beauty to the deformed; hence it will also heal me. What is my sickness? Depression. Where does this sickness have its seat? In the power of the imagination, and possibility is its nourishment. But eternity takes away possibility. And was not this sickness oppressive enough in time-that I not only suffered but also became guilty of it? After all, the deformed person only has to bear the pain of being deformed, but how terrible if being deformed made him guilty! So when time is over for me, let my last sigh be to you, O God, for my soul’s salvation; let the next to last be for her, or let me for the first time be united with her again in the same last sigh! Soren Kierkegaard, Stages on Life's Way p. 390-391
Primary Sources 
- The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin by Soren Kierkegaard June 17, 1844 Vigilius Haufniensis, Edited and translated by Reidar Thomte Princeton University Press 1980 Kierkegaard's Writings, VIII ISBN 0691020116
- The Concept of Anxiety, Introduction Marxist.org
- The Concept of Anxiety in Soren Kierkegaard Arne Grøn, Mercer University Press, Oct 1, 2008 Retrieved 1/15/2012
- The Christian and Anxiety Hans Urs von Balthasar 1952, 1994
- Rosenkranz's Philosophy of Education (February 18, 1887) Science Vol 9
- "There is an old, respectable philosophical terminology: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. A more recent terminology has been chosen in which “mediation” takes the third place. … One rejects synthesis and says “mediation.” One says “reconciliation” and what is the result?"
- The Concept of Anxiety P. 11
- "Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom"—Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety
- "No Grand Inquisitor has in readiness such terrible tortures as has anxiety."—Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety
- "Whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate."—Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety
- He wrote a discourse at the end of Either/Or as well as eighteen other upbuilding discourses in 1843 and 1844. They were published in conjunction with his pseudonyms books.
- Kierkegaard clarifies this in 1845:
How does a person learn earnestness? Is it having an earnest person dictate something to him so that he can learn it? Not at all. If you have not yourself learned in this way from an earnest man, then imagine how it goes. See, the learner concerns himself (without concern there is no learner) about some object with his whole soul, and in this way the certainty of death becomes an object of concern. Now the concerned person turns to the teacher of earnestness, and thus death is indeed not a monster except for the imagination. The learner now wants this or that; he wants to do it thus and so and under these assumptions-“And it is bound to succeed, is it not so?” But the earnest person answers nothing at all, and finally he says, yet without mockery but with the calmness of earnestness, “Yes, it is possible!” The learner already becomes a little impatient; he suggests a new plan, changes the assumptions, and concludes his speech in a still more urgent way. But the earnest person is silent, looks calmly at him, and finally says, “Yes, it is possible!” Now the learner becomes passionate; he resorts to pleas or, if he is so equipped, to clever locutions-indeed, he perhaps even insults the earnest person and becomes totally confused himself and everything around him seems to be confusion. But when with these weapons and in this condition he charges at the earnest person, he has to endure his unaltered calm gaze and put up with his silence, because the earnest person merely looks at him and finally says, “Yes it is possible.” This is the way it is with death. The certainty is the unchanging, and the uncertainty is the brief statement: It is possible. Every condition that wants to make the certainty of death into a conditional certainty for the wisher, every agreement that wants to make the certainty of death into a conditional certainty for the person making up his mind, every arrangement that wants to condition the certainty of death as to time and hour for the one who is acting, every condition, every agreement, every arrangement runs aground on this statement: and all passionateness and all cleverness and all defiance are rendered powerless by this statement-until the learner sees the error of his ways. But the earnestness lies just in this, and it was to this that certainty and uncertainty wanted to help the learner. The certainty is allowed to leave open the question of what it can be, like a universal caption over life, instead of being the endorsement of the particular and the daily by usage, as happens with the help of uncertainty-then earnestness is not learned. Soren Kierkegaard, Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, 1845, Hong p. 94-95
- The book is available on Questia: The Concept of Dread, by Walter Lowrie
- Prefaces/Writing Sampler, Nichol p. 33-34, 68 The Concept of Anxiety p. 115-116
- Kierkegaard Josiah Thomson Alfred A Knopf 1973 p. 142-143
- See Marxist.org for Hegel's book
- Kierkegaard discusses Hebart in relation to the question of whether an individual would begin with the negative or the positive.
In his treatise De affectionbus (The Affections), Descartes calls attention to the fact that every passion has a corresponding passion; only with wonder that is not the case. The detailed exposition is rather weak, but it has been of interest to me that he makes an exception of wonder, because, as is well known, according to Plato’s and Aristotle’s views precisely this constitutes the passion of philosophy and the passion which all philosophizing began. Moreover, envy corresponds to wonder, and recent philosophy would also speak of doubt. Precisely in this lies the fundamental error of recent philosophy, that it wants to begin with the negative instead of the positive, which always is the first, in the same sense affirmatio [affirmation] is placed first in the declaration omnis affirmatio est nagatio [every affirmation is a negation]. The question of whether the positive or the negative comes first is exceedingly important, and the only modern philosopher who has declared himself for the positive is presumably Herbart. The Concept of Anxiety Thomte p. 143
- The Concept of Anxiety, p. 73
- The Concept of Anxiety, Nichols p. 31, 55-56, 75-76
- The Concept of Anxiety, Nichols p. 41-45
- Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong p. 113-115
- Either/Or Part II p. 198-199
- Philosophical Fragments, Swenson p. 30, The Concept of Anxiety p. 12-13, Three Discourses On Imagined Occasions, Soren Kierkegaard, June 17, 1844, Hong 1993 p. 13-14
- Three Discourses On Imagined Occasions, p.90-97
- Concluding Unscientific Postscript, p. 220-230
- The Concept of Anxiety p. 57-60
- Journals and Papers, Hannay, 1996 1843 IVA49
- The Concept of Anxiety p. 44-45
- Journals of Soren Kierkegaard, VIII 1A 192 (1846) (Works of Love), Hong p. 407
- The Concept of Anxiety p. 29-31, Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1843, Hong p. 11-14
- The Concept of Anxiety p. 38
- Either/Or Part II, Hong p. 342
- The Concept of Anxiety P. 109, Concluding Postscript, Hong p. 259, 322-323
- The Concept of Anxiety, p. 39
- The Concept of Anxiety Note p. 33
- Soren Kierkegaard, Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions p. 31-32
- The Concept of Anxiety P. 7 and Either/Or Part II, Hong p. 342
- Either/Or Part II, Hong p. 31
- Fear and Trembling p. 121-123
- Either/Or Part II, Hong p. 170-176, The Concept of Anxiety P. 11-13 including note,
- Johannes Climacus, by Soren Kierkegaard, Edited and Introduced by Jane Chamberlain, Translated by T.H. Croxall 2001 p. 80-81, Either/Or II p. 55-57, Repetition p. 202-203
- The Concept of Anxiety p. 9-13
- The Sickness Unto Death, Soren Kierkegaard, translated by Alastair Hannay 1989 p. 72ff Despair viewed under the aspect of consciousness The Sickness Unto Death
- Read about it here: Philosophical Fragments
- Read it here: Purity of Heart
- Journals IV A 164 (1843) See Kierkegaard: Papers and Journals, Translated by Alastair Hannay, 1996 P. 63 and 161
- Poems of Christine Rossetti http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Poetry/christmastide_poems_of_christina.htm
- Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion p. 65ff
- See Stages on Life's Way, Hong p. 373-376