He lived all his life on his inheritance, using it to finance his literary career. He studied theology at the University of Copenhagen, completing a master's thesis in on the topic of irony in Socrates. At about this time, he became engaged to a woman he loved, but he broke the engagement when he decided that God had destined him not to marry. The years to were a period of intense literary activity for Kierkegaard, in which he produced his "authorship," a series of writings of varying forms published under a series of fantastic pseudonyms. Parallel to these, he wrote a series of shorter Edifying Discourses, quasi-sermons published under his own name. As he later interpreted it in the posthumously published Point of View for My Work as an Author, the authorship was a systematic attempt to raise the question of what it means to be a Christian.
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All of Kierkegaard's books have either a preface, dedication, or prayer at the beginning. This book includes a lengthy introduction. The Concept of Anxiety was published on exactly the same date as Prefaces , June 17, His work up to this point was to show that faith was being mediated by knowledge. Here he takes up the questions of sin and guilt. Kierkegaard uses the example of a man standing on the edge of a tall building or cliff. When the man looks over the edge, he experiences a focused fear of falling, but 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.
Kierkegaard called this our "dizziness of freedom. Kierkegaard focuses on the first anxiety experienced by man: Adam 's choice to eat from God's forbidden tree of knowledge or not. Since the concepts of good and evil did not come into existence before Adam ate the fruit, Adam had no concept of good and evil, and did not know that eating from the tree was "evil. The anxiety comes from the fact that God's prohibition itself implies that Adam is free and that he could choose to obey God or not.
After Adam ate from the tree, sin was born. So, according to Kierkegaard, anxiety precedes sin. Kierkegaard mentions that anxiety is the presupposition for hereditary sin which Augustine was the first to call peccatum originale , "original sin".
However, Kierkegaard mentions that anxiety is a way for humanity to be saved as well. Anxiety informs us of our choices, our self-awareness and personal responsibility, and brings us from a state of un-self-conscious immediacy to self-conscious reflection. Jean-Paul Sartre calls these terms pre-reflective consciousness and reflective consciousness.
So, anxiety may be a possibility for sin, but anxiety can also be a recognition or realization of one's true identity and freedom. Alternatively, sin exists in the very resolution of anxiety through right and wrong; why to embrace anxiety is to not pass judgement. Kierkegaard was familiar with Book Two of Kant's book The Conflict of the Good with the Evil Principle for Sovereignty over Man  and he made a similar study in this book; however, he might call it the conflict of ethics and anxiety for sovereignty over man.
He wrote about the ideal good versus the actual good that a single individual can do in the following way: "Ethics proposes to bring ideality into actuality.
On the other hand, it is not the nature of its movement to raise actuality up into ideality. Ethics points to ideality as a task and assumes that every man possesses the requisite conditions. Thus ethics develops a contradiction, inasmuch as it makes clear both the difficulty and the impossibility.
Kierkegaard begins this book with a short preface. By now he expects his readers to be aware that the preface is a key to the meaning of the book. Haufniensis uses the word "generation' several times as well as "epoch" and "era" in his introduction to prepare the reader for his subject.
Progress from the "first science", ethics , to the "second science", psychology. Historians , psychologists , anthropologists , theologians and philosophers were all in agreement that the past must be preserved if there is to be a future for humankind. These soft sciences were of interest to Kierkegaard only in so far as they related to the progress of Christianity. His preface is followed by his first introduction since he published his thesis , The Concept of Irony.
It could mark a new beginning but that is not known for certain. All of them were discussing how good and evil come into existence. Kierkegaard questioned Hegel and Schelling's emphasis on the negative evil and aligned himself with Hebart's emphasis on the positive good. Kierkegaard says "anxiety about sin produces sin"   in this book and later says it again:.
Repentance is a recollection of guilt. From a purely psychological point of view, I really believe that the police aid the criminal in not coming to repent.
By continually recounting and repeating his life experiences, the criminal becomes such a memory expert at rattling off his life that the ideality of recollection is driven away. Really to repent , and especially to repent at once, takes enormous ideality; therefore nature also can help a person, and delayed repentance, which in regard to remembering is negligible, is often the hardest and deepest.
The ability to recollect is the condition for all productivity. If a person no longer wishes to be productive, he needs merely to remember the same thing that recollecting he wanted to produce, and production is rendered impossible, or it will become so repulsive to him that the sooner he abandons it the better. All of them were involved with the dialectical question of exactly "how" an individual, or group, or race changes from good to evil or evil to good.
Kierkegaard pressed forward with his category of "the single individual. I understand the words of Peter, "To whom shall we go? It is this that binds a man to Christianity. Many men and women are anxious about whom they should marry and how they will pick the right person. The anxious person stands at the crossroads and wonders which way to go. Johann Goethe — was at a crossroads and couldn't make up his mind about what he wanted so he talked to the devil about it in his play Faust.
He wrote:. Isaac presumably dared with a certain degree of assurance to expect that God would surely choose a wife for him who was young and beautiful and highly regarded by the people and lovable in every way, but nevertheless we lack the erotic, even if it was the case that he loved this one chosen of God with all the passion of youth.
Freedom was lacking. Isaac had expectations, but he didn't have an easy time just because God made his choice for him. Both freedom and anxiety were absent in these examples of three personal choices but ignorance was present because none of them were personally involved in a very important decision.
But Isaac's story continued and showed that he was faithful to the choice made for him. Kierkegaard questions: how a person can remain faithful to a choice that is made by others? The others are external powers whereas his spirit is an internal power. All three stories deal with the world of the spirit. Kierkegaard thinks the "spirit is a hostile and a friendly power at the same time". Man is a synthesis of the psychical and the physical; however, a synthesis is unthinkable if the two are not united in a third.
This third is spirit. In innocence, man is not merely animal, for if he were at any moment of his life merely animal, he would never become man. So spirit is present, but is immediate, as dreaming. It is in a sense a hostile power, for it constantly disturbs the relation between soul and body, a relation that indeed has persistence and yet does not have endurance, inasmuch as it first receives the latter by the spirit.
On the other hand, spirit is a friendly power, since it is precisely that which constitutes the relation. How does spirit relate itself to itself and to its conditionality? It relates itself as anxiety. Do away with itself, the spirit cannot; lay hold of itself, it cannot, as long as it has itself outside itself.
Nor can man sink down into the vegetative, for he is qualified as spirit; flee away from anxiety, he cannot, for he loves it; really love it, he cannot, for he flees from it. Innocence has now reached its uttermost point.
It is ignorance; however, it is not an animal brutality but an ignorance qualified as spirit, and as such innocence is precisely anxiety, because its ignorance is about nothing. Here there is no knowledge of good and evil etc. The Concept of Anxiety , p. This "ambiguous power" is discussed further in Kierkegaard's book Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits and his book Christian Discourses  where he finds himself standing against his own best intentions.
The person who is to be master it is, of course, he himself ruins it; such a person works with perhaps scarcely a third of his power in the right place and with more than two-thirds of his power in the wrong place or against himself.
Now he gives up working in order to begin to deliberate all over again, now he works in instead of deliberating, now he pulls on the reins in the wrong way, now he wants to do both at the same time-and during all this he does not move from the spot. During all this, his life comes to a standstill, as it were; he cannot get the task firmly set, so that it stands firm, so that he is able to tear himself away from this work and have his strength available to carry out the task.
The task does not become a burden, but he is swamped with the burdensome muddling with the task in order to get it, if possible to stand firm.
When this is so, he naturally never gets around to carrying the burden; after all, he cannot even get it to stand still; the moment he wants to turn his back, as it were, in order to pick up the burden, the burden seems to tumble down and he has to stack it up again.
Kierkegaard was interested in how an individual can keep faith awake and hope alive. Prayer: Thou my God and Father! The question of my salvation concerns no other being but me-and thee. Should there then not remain uncertainty in fear and trembling until the last, I being what I am, and thou what thou art, I on earth, thou in heaven-a difference infinitely great-I a sinner, thou the Holy One?
Should there not, ought there not, must there not, be fear and trembling till the last? Was it not the fault of the foolish virgins that they became sure, and went to sleep; while the wise virgins kept awake? But what is it to keep awake? It is uncertainty in fear and trembling. And what is faith but an empty fantasy, if it be not awake? And when faith is not awake, what is it but that same pernicious feeling of security which ruined the foolish virgins? Christian Discourses , Lowrie p.
Croxall, The Westminister Press, copyright , by W. Jenkins p. The Brothers Grimm were writing about the use of folktales as educational stories to keep individuals from falling into evil hands. Can the "power of the example",  or theatre pedagogy , or the theatre of the absurd , help an individual learn how to find the good? Danish folklore was at this time also coming to the attention of pedagogs.
Imagination can be of assistance but it can also keep an individual from making crucial decisions. But failing to "become honest with yourself so that you do not deceive yourself with imagined power, with which you experience imagined victory in imagined struggle" is how a decision can become an impossibility. What's keeping him from making the decision?
Begrebet Angest: En simpel psychologisk-paapegende Overveielse i Retning af ...
All of Kierkegaard's books have either a preface, dedication, or prayer at the beginning. This book includes a lengthy introduction. The Concept of Anxiety was published on exactly the same date as Prefaces , June 17, His work up to this point was to show that faith was being mediated by knowledge. Here he takes up the questions of sin and guilt. Kierkegaard uses the example of a man standing on the edge of a tall building or cliff.
The Concept of Anxiety
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