Anxiety/dread/angst is unfocused fear. If a man stands on the edge of a tall building or cliff and looks over the edge, he experiences a focused fear of falling. At the same time, the man feels a terrifying impulse to throw himself intentionally off the edge. That experience is anxiety or dread because of our complete freedom to choose to either throw oneself off or to stay put. The mere fact that one has the possibility and freedom to do something, even the most terrifying of possibilities, triggers immense feelings of dread. This is our “dizziness of freedom.”

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Kierkegaards’ works are interesting to read, they have a freshness and intensity that separates them from other philosophical writings. It is easy to get lost in his aphorisms – but what are the main features of his thought? Here is a summary: Becoming a Christian Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was, in many ways, the first existentialist. He […]

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“What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die.”

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Kierkegaard is a Danish philosopher who lived from May 5, 1813 to November 11, 1855. He is the grandfather of Existentialism, and a forerunner of psychoanalysis, because he bring together psychology, philosophy, and religion, and focuses it all on the individual. He analyses complex feelings like fear, and examines them in relation to existential and religious choices.

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The following excerpt from Soren Kierkegaard’s  book “The Sickness Unto Death” (1849) shows different ways in which we try to choose our existence, and how we end up in despair.  Kierkegaard defines the human being as a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, the temporal and the eternal, and of freedom and necessity. We […]

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Kierkegaard’s book Fear and Trembling is an early work, it was published in 1843, together with his book Repetition. It is Kierkegaard’s response to Hegel. Context The philosophical scene in Denmark in the mid-19th century was dominated by the thought of Hegel. “Fear and Trembling” is written as a sustained response to his ideas. Hegel’s […]

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This short essay, written in August and September 2001, could also be entitled “The Religious Roots of  Our Concept of the Person.” I argue that: we need to make a distinction between “something” and “someone;” this was done in the past through a religious definition of the origin of the human being; it has been […]

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