Søren Kierkegaard is a Danish philosopher known as the father of existentialism, a philosophical movement that emphasizes individual freedom and choice and the inherent meaninglessness of life.
Kierkegaard lived during the 19th century, a time of great upheaval and change in Europe. The Industrial Revolution was well underway, leading to rapid urbanization and the development of new technologies. Along with these changes came a sense of disillusionment and anxiety for many people. Like many of his contemporaries, Kierkegaard was deeply affected by this sense of unrest and sought to understand the human condition in the face of such change.
One of the key themes in Kierkegaard’s philosophy is the concept of subjectivity. Kierkegaard believed that each individual has their own unique perspective on the world and that this perspective shapes their experiences and understanding of reality. He wrote, “Subjectivity is truth.” This idea is at the heart of existentialism, which emphasizes the importance of individual experience and freedom.
Another important concept in Kierkegaard’s philosophy is the idea of the “leap of faith.” Kierkegaard believed that to fully embrace one’s subjectivity and achieve a sense of meaning in life; one must be willing to take a leap of faith and embrace the unknown. This requires a willingness to accept life’s inherent uncertainty and embrace one’s own freedom and responsibility for shaping one’s own life.
He is often seen as a significant figure in the development of existentialism.
This philosophical movement has profoundly influenced many areas of thought, including literature, psychology, and popular culture. Existentialism is concerned with the individual’s search for meaning and purpose in a world that is often seen as meaningless and absurd. It emphasizes the importance of personal freedom and choice and encourages individuals to take responsibility for their own lives and embrace the inherent uncertainty of the human experience. One of the key ideas in existentialism is the concept of “authenticity,” or living in a way that is true to one’s own values and beliefs. Kierkegaard believed that to live authentically; one must be willing to embrace life’s inherent uncertainty and make choices that are true to oneself, even if those choices are difficult or unpopular.
I have studied few of Kierkegaard’s works and have always been struck by their depth and complexity. One work that stands out to me is his book “Either/Or.” In this book, Kierkegaard presents a series of philosophical essays that explore the concept of subjectivity and the inherent uncertainty of the human condition.
One of the most striking aspects of “Either/Or” is how Kierkegaard uses literary techniques, such as pseudonyms and dramatic irony, to illustrate his ideas. Through these techniques, he can present different perspectives on complex philosophical concepts in an engaging and thought-provoking way.
Another work that I have found particularly insightful is Kierkegaard’s book “Fear and Trembling.” In this book, Kierkegaard explores the concept of faith and its role in the human experience. He uses the story of Abraham and Isaac to illustrate the idea of the “leap of faith” (quoted previously) or the willingness to embrace the unknown and to trust in a higher power.
Søren Kierkegaard’s thoughts on the human experience are deeply influential and remain relevant today.
In a world that is often marked by uncertainty and change, his ideas about the importance of subjectivity and the value of taking a leap of faith offer a way for individuals to find meaning and purpose in their lives. So, his works and thoughts are still very significant and worth considering.