XXI Seaweed Symposium

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Kierkegaard’s Sickness Unto Death

This piece of literature was composed and written by man by an Danish author by the name Soren Kierkegaard. Existentialism work led to writing of the book and it entails Kierkegaard’s concept of despair, which he vastly associates with Christians’ concept of origin of sin.

Summary of Kierkegaard’s Sickness unto Death

The book is introduced regarding John chapter eleven verse four. The quotation, “this sickness is not unto death,” originates from the story of Lazarus, in which Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. The book tries to evaulate the truth behind this concept if events in the bible turned out otherwise. Throughout the book, Kierkegaard explores the causes a different Christians’ from humans’ death perception. There exists a significant difference in the way people of faith and regular humans view death as humans view death as final whereas people of faith perceive death as a pathway to the eternity. From this, according to Christians people should be afraid of the true sickness unto death rather than the death, which stipulates dying spiritually rather than dying physically is something to fear. According to this book, the feeling of despair is attributed to the failure living according to the plans that God stipulates for self. In his definition, Kierkegaard refers to humanity as the tension between the infinite and the finite and the necessary and the possible and is identifiable with the dialectical balancing between these opposing features. While humans are inherently self-conscious and reflective beings, to be completely conscious of self one has to live in accordance with God’s plans for the self. Failure to observe the power that sustains and creates the self leads to constant feeling of despair. There the book stipulates three major types of despair; avoiding being oneself in despair, desire to be someone in despair and being unconscious in despair of having a self.

The relation of Kierkegaard’s Sickness unto death to other works

There is the prevailing existence of existentialist themes in the sickness unto death. For example, the concepts of the infinite and finite parts of the human self-translate to the notion of transcendence and facticity in Jean-Paul Sartre’s being and nothingness. There exists a contradiction between Sarte’s and Soren’s thesis, in that Soren believes that the human soul can only be rescued from despair through religious faith. This book is very significant in Kierkegaard’s life as it set a footnote for his writing career.

 
 

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