His essays and miscellaneous writings controversially praise the value of living in a purely aesthetic sphere of existence. Yet even he finds the impassioned deviousness of the seducer, Johannes , to be too much. This may be particularly true because A mentions that he believes he once knew this Cordelia—though he is not particularly certain of this fact, as the Diary is shadowy in true details. The first letter is accusatory, bitterly acknowledging that she never possesed Johannes the way he possessed her. The second letter is similar in intent, though it is more obscure in that she draws mainly from an anecdote about a rich man who took from a poor maiden her single lamb.
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Historical context[ edit ] 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. 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?
Fichte wrote in The Science of Knowledge "An in itself returning activity Egohood, subjectivity is character of the rational being. The positing of itself reflecting about itself is an act of this activity. Let this reflection be called A.
The rational being posits itself through the act of such an activity. All reflection reflects something as its object; let this object be called B. Now, what sort of a something must this object be as object of the reflection A. In A the rational being is to posit itself, is to be its own object; but its character is in itself returning activity. The last highest object B of its reflection must therefore also be in itself returning, or itself determining activity, since otherwise it would not posit itself as a rational being, and hence would not posit itself at all.
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 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.
Kierkegaard saw this as a denial of true selfhood and instead advocated the importance of personal responsibility and choice-making.
Journals and Papers of Kierkegaard, 4A Either[ edit ] "Wine no longer makes my heart glad; a little of it makes me sad, much makes me melancholy. My soul is faint and impotent; in vain I prick the spur of pleasure into its flank, its strength is gone, it rises no more to the royal leap. I have lost my illusions. Vainly I seek to plunge myself into the boundless sea of joy; it cannot sustain me, or rather, I cannot sustain myself.
Once pleasure had but to beckon me, and I mounted, light of foot, sound, and unafraid. When I rode slowly through the woods, it was as if I flew; now when the horse is covered with lather and ready to drop, it seems to me that I do not move. I am solitary as always; forsaken, not by men, which could not hurt me, but by the happy fairies of joy, who used to encircle me in countless multitudes, who met acquaintances everywhere, everywhere showed me an opportunity for pleasure.
As an intoxicated man gathers a wild crowd of youths about him, so they flocked about me, the fairies of joy, and I greeted them with a smile. My soul has lost its potentiality.
If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible.
Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility! 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. Diapsalmata[ edit ] The first section of Either is a collection of many tangential aphorisms , epigrams , anecdotes and musings on the aesthetic mode of life.
During this process he develops the three stages of the musical-erotic. 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: Achim v. 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: how , the method. 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: "He gets away with things like that by lies and things like that. 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: being a woman.
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 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.
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. 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. Lectures on the History of History Vol 1 p. He studies how desire can come to grief in the single individual. He asks if love can be deceived. 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.
The Seducer's Diary Summary
Malaktilar Unfortunately they were both abnormal and therefore had only a disturbing effect upon his development. Kierkegaard lets an alter ego write a book in which an anonymous and fictional character reproduces a diary he found of another fictional character Johannes. Intricately, meticulously, cunningly, the seduction proceeds. 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. The story is told by Johannes, a man ten years Cordelias senior, who spins a sedufer, to bring this young girl of seventeen, into womanhood through an erotic seduction of the kierkegzard.
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