Kierkegaard’s existentialism, a philosophical revolution, fundamentally shifted many people’s understanding and engagement with the world. This philosophy emerged predominantly from the Danish thinker, Søren Kierkegaard, one of the pioneering existentialist philosophers. This piece unravels existentialism as interpreted by Kierkegaard, exploring its inception, central principles, and impact on human existence.
The Birth and Progression of Existentialism
Existentialism traces its roots to Kierkegaard’s works in the 19th century. His philosophy was a counter-response to the systematic rationality promoted by Hegel, emphasizing subjective human experience. The crux of Kierkegaard’s existentialism revolves around the idea of individual existence, encompassing feelings, actions, and thoughts.
Pillars of Kierkegaard’s Existentialism
The underpinning elements of Kierkegaard’s existentialism include subjectivity, faith, despair, and the leap.
Kierkegaard posits subjectivity as truth. He contends that objective truths such as facts or data are less impactful than the subjective truths derived from personal experiences and interpretations.
In the realm of Kierkegaard’s existentialism, faith is viewed as a human being’s ultimate passion. It signifies more than just a belief in God; it is a profound passion that surpasses reason and seeps into life’s uncertainties.
Despair, in Kierkegaard’s terms, is a spiritual malady where one is oblivious to their self. It is a state where individuals fail to acknowledge their potential and limit their existence.
The Leap, a metaphor used by Kierkegaard for the act of faith, represents an individual’s choice to accept life’s absurdity and leap into faith, despite the absence of tangible evidence.
Consequences of Kierkegaard’s Existentialism
The profound implications of Kierkegaard’s existentialism on human existence emphasize individual freedom, personal responsibility, and authenticity.
Kierkegaard asserts that each individual possesses the absolute freedom to mold their own life. This liberty enables us to define ourselves and our values.
Accompanying freedom is responsibility. In the sphere of Kierkegaard’s existentialism, individuals bear the sole responsibility for their actions, thoughts, and feelings.
Authenticity refers to living in accordance with one’s true self, as opposed to succumbing to societal expectations. For Kierkegaard, authentic living entails embracing one’s freedom and responsibility.
Kierkegaard’s existentialism has etched a lasting imprint on philosophy and continues to shape modern thought. It provokes individuals to face their existence’s realities, urging them towards authenticity, personal freedom, and responsibility. While existentialism may initially seem bleak, it ultimately empowers individuals to take control of their lives, steering them towards a more meaningful existence.
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