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Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard
-Padmo Adi-

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard is well known as ‘Father of Existentialism’. He was born in Copenhagen, May 5th 1813 and died in November 11th 1855. Although he died in young age, only 42 years old, he wrote more than 25 books. His philosophy, which is now named as existentialism, revolted the whole Europe in XX century.
His writings seem to talk about Kierkegaard himself, his father (Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard), and a lady he loved (Regina Olsen), but it is also talk about you and me, us, indeed. His books are The Concept of Irony, Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, The Sickness unto Death, Attack upon Christendom, The Concept of Irony, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Johannes Climacus – Or De Omnibus Dubitandum Est, The Point View for My Work as an Author, The Journals of Kierkegaard, and so on.
Gained Master title, he called himself as “Master of Irony”. He used irony of Socrates from Athena (469 – 399 BC) to communicate his thesis. Jesus from Nazareth also used irony to describe what ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ is. Irony is how to communicate the thesis indirectly. To support this irony, Kierkegaard used 14 pseudonyms such as ‘Victor Eremita’, ‘Johannes de Silentio’, ‘Constantin Constantius’, ‘Johannes Climacus’, ‘Anti-Climacus’, ‘Nicolaus Notabene’, ‘Hilarius Bookbinder’.
My favorite theme of his writings is ‘Three Ways of Existence’: aesthetic, ethic, and religious. The three ways of existence are more than just “levels of way of life”. We chose one of those to live our life. Whereas, the aesthetic way is the fundamental of all because people who is not conscious in life will find him/herself in aestheticism together with those who chose it consciously.
People who is in aestheticism is lying him/herself. They alienate him/herself so that cannot manifest his/her real self. Aesthetic has its own level. The lowest (maybe) is a fat man sitting on a sofa while drinking beer, smoking, and watching TV. Above the fat man, there is busy businessman because they always look for joy (not happiness) in hurry while doing something busily. The last are the hedonists. Generally, they are driven by (five senses) pleasure.
Some of them will realize something. They will feel bored of being aesthetic. Then, they will do an ‘existential jump’, they will enter ethic level. They do not only think about what makes them feel bored, but also how to gain freedom to exist. They want to exist as they are. Therefore, they leave who they were in aesthetic level. They leave their old-self to gain the new-one, his/her true self. After that, they need commitment to live their new-but-real life, commitment of perfection-of-self, and commitment to the others. Doing existential-jump, people ‘chose themselves’.
Kierkegaard thought of Abraham’s life. He could not understand how Abraham dared to sacrifice his only son because God asked it. What Abraham did, although he did not sacrifice Isaac but a sheep after God stopped it, is a-move-of-faith. With his commitment, Abraham did a ‘faith jump’. Abraham gave his life (for Isaac was his only son in his old age, his pride, and his hope that God had promised to him) totally. What did Abraham get? He got himself (and also his only son, God’s love, God’s grace, and God’s promise at once). He got his existence because of faith. Then, he became what Kierkegaard called ‘knight of faith’.
Reading Kierkegaard, I can aware my own existence. I may know in what level of existence I live. Then, I can plan surely what to do next. If I want to be myself, my true self, if I want to get myself, I have to realize in what level of existence I live then do ‘existential jump’ and ‘faith jump’ or just live my life as I do. I write this in order you who are reading can also realize your own level of existence so that you may plan what to do next.