July 04

“What an individual is capable of may be measured by how far his understanding is from his willing. What a person can understand he must also be able to make himself will. Between understanding and willing lie the excuses and evasions.”
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~Source: The Journals (1846)
Author: Søren Kierkegaard

April 13

“The leveling process is not the action of an individual, but the work of reflection in the hands of an abstract power. It is therefore possible to calculate the law governing it in the same way that one calculates the diagonal in a parallelogram of forces…A demon is called up over whom no individual has any power, and though the very abstraction of leveling gives the individual a momentary, selfish kind of enjoyment, he is at the same time signing the warrant for his own doom. Enthusiasm *may* end in disaster, but leveling is *eo ipso* the destruction of the individual. No age, and therefore not the present age, can bring the skepticism of that process to a stop, for as soon as it tries to stop it, the law of the leveling process is again called into action. It can therefore only be stopped by the individual’s attaining the religious courage which springs from his individual religious isolation.”
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~Source: The Present Age: A Literary Review (1846)
Author: Søren Kierkegaard

September 08

“In order that everything should be reduced to the same level it is first of all necessary to procure a phantom, a spirit, a monstrous abstraction, an all-embracing something which is nothing, a mirage — and that phantom is the public. It is only in an age which is without passion, yet reflective, that such a phantom can develop itself with the help of the Press which itself becomes an abstraction.” ————————- ~Source: The Present Age: A Literary Review (1846) Author: Soren Kierkegaard

August 21

“A public is everything and nothing, the most dangerous of all powers and the most insignificant: one can speak to a whole nation in the name of the public and still the public will be less than a single real man, however unimportant. The qualification ‘public’ is produced by the deceptive juggling of an age of reflection, which makes it appear flattering to the individual, who in this way can arrogate to himself this monster in comparison with which concrete realities seem poor.”
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~Source: The Present Age: A Literary Review (1846)
Author: Soren Kierkegaard

June 30

“The individual no longer belongs to God, to himself, to his beloved, to his art or to his science; he is conscious of belonging in all things to an abstraction to which he is subjected by reflection, just a serf belongs to an estate. That is why people band together in cases where it is an absolute contradiction to be more than one. The apotheosis of the positive principle of association is nowadays the devouring and demoralizing principle which in the slavery of reflection makes even virtues into vitia splendida. There is no other reason for this than that eternal responsibility and the religious singling out of the individual before God is ignored. When corruption sets in at that point, people seek consolation in company, and so reflection catches the individual for life. And those who do not realize even the beginning of this crisis are engulfed without further ado in the reflective relationship.”
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~Source: The Present Age: A Literary Review (1846)
Author: Søren Kierkegaard

June 19

“The abstract leveling process, that self-combustion of the human race, produced by the friction which arises when the individual ceases to exist as singled out by religion, is bound to continue, like a trade wind, and consume everything. But through it each individual for himself may receive once more a religious education and, in the highest sense, be helped by the examen rigorosum of the leveling process to an essentially religious attitude. For the younger men who, however strongly they personally may cling to what they admire as eminent, realize from the beginning that the leveling process is evil in both the selfish individual and in the selfish generation, but that it can also, if they desire it honestly and before God, become the starting point for the highest life — for them it will indeed be an education to live in the age of leveling.”
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~Source: The Present Age: A Literary Review (1846)
Author: Søren Kierkegaard

June 10

“It has often been said that a reformation should begin with each man reforming himself. That, however, is not what actually happened, for the Reformation produced a hero who paid God high enough for his position as hero. By joining up with him directly people buy cheap, indeed at bargain prices, what he had paid for so dearly; but they do not buy the highest of all things. The abstract principle of leveling, on the contrary, like the biting east wind, has no personal relation to any individual, but has only an abstract relationship which is the same for everyone.”
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~Source: The Present Age: A Literary Review (1846)
Author: Søren Kierkegaard

May 26

“It has often been said that a reformation should begin with each man reforming himself. That, however, is not what actually happened, for the Reformation produced a hero who paid God high enough for his position as hero. By joining up with him directly people buy cheap, indeed at bargain prices, what he had paid for so dearly; but they do not buy the highest of all things. The abstract principle of leveling, on the contrary, like the biting east wind, has no personal relation to any individual, but has only an abstract relationship which is the same for everyone.”
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~Source: The Present Age: A Literary Review (1846)
Author: Søren Kierkegaard

May 10

“The taedium vitae so constant in antiquity was due to the fact that the outstanding individual was what others could not be; the inspiration of modern times will be that any man who finds himself, religiously speaking, has only achieved what everyone can achieve.”
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~Source: The Present Age: A Literary Review (1846)
Author: Søren Kierkegaard

May 02

“The highest form of the comic arises precisely when the individual comes directly under the infinite abstraction of ‘pure humanity,’ without any of those intermediary qualifications which temper the humor of man’s position and strengthen its pathos, without any of the concrete particulars of organization which the leveling process destroys. But that again is only another expression of the fact that man’s only salvation lies in the reality of religion for each individual.”
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~Source: The Present Age: A Literary Review (1846)
Author: Søren Kierkegaard