from THE JOURNALS
"The paradox in Christian truth is invariably due to the fact that it is the truth
that exists for God. The standard of measure and the end is superhuman; and there is only
one relationship possible: faith."
"To the Christian love is the works of love. To say that love is a feeling or anything of
the kind is an unchristian conception of love. That is the aesthetic definition and therefore
fits the erotic and everything of that nature. But to the Christian love is the works of love.
Christ's love was not an inner feeling, a full heart and what not, it was the work of love
which was his life."
"Genius, like a thunderstorm, comes up against the wind."
"There are men who are wanting in the comparative, they as a rule are the most interesting."
"It takes moral courage to grieve; it requires religious courage to rejoice."
"This is all that I've known for certain, that God is love. Even if I have been mistaken
on this or that point: God is nevertheless love."
"Spiritual superiority only sees the individual. But alas,
ordinarily we human beings are sensual and, therefore, as soon
as it is a gathering, the impression changesówe see something
abstract, the crowd, and we become different. But in the eyes of
God, the infinite spirit, all the millions that have lived and now
live do not make a crowd, He only sees each individual."
"One is not unpopular because he uses peculiar expressions; that
just so happens; such terms become a fad, and by and by
everybody, down to the last simpleton, uses them.
But a person who follows through an idea in his mind is, and
always will be, essentially unpopular. That is why Socrates was
unpopular, though he did not use any special terms, for to grasp
and hold his 'ignorance' requires greater vital effort than
understanding the whole of Hegel's philosophy."
from THE CONCEPT OF IRONY
"And if something should be found, particularly in the first part of the dissertation,
that one is generally not accustomed to come across in scholarly writings, the
reader must forgive my jocundity, just as I, in order to lighten the burden,
sometimes sing at my work."
from EITHER/OR VOL. 1
"What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound
anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs
and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music."
from FEAR AND TREMBLING
"Faith is precisely the paradox that the single individual as the single individual is
higher than the universal, is justified before it, not as inferior to it but
superior--yet in such a way, please note, that it is the single individual who, after
being subordinate as the single individual to the universal, now by means of the
universal becomes the single individual who as the single individual is superior,
that the single individual as the single individual stands in an absolute relation
to the absolute. This position cannot be mediated, for all mediation takes place
only by virtue of the universal; it is and remains for all eternity a paradox,
impervious to thought. And yet faith is this paradox."
"When we objectively investigate the truth, we reflect objectively about the truth as
an object to which we are related. We do not reflect upon the relationship, but
upon the fact that it is the truth--the truth to which we are related. When this to
which we are related merely is the truth, the true, then the subject is in the truth.
When we subjectively investigate the truth, we reflect subjectively upon the
relationship of the individual; only when the how of this relationship is in truth,
is the individual in truth, even if he is thus related to the untrue."
from THE CONCEPT OF ANXIETY
"The present work has set as its task the psychological treatment of the concept of
'anxiety,' but in such a way that it constantly keeps in mente [in mind] and before
its eye the dogma of hereditary sin. Sin, however, is no subject for psychological
concern, and only by submitting to the service of a misplaced brilliance could it be
dealt with psychologically... Sin does not properly belong in any science, but it is the
subject of a sermon, in which the single individual speaks as the single
individual to the single individual."
Deriding Hegel's triad of thesis, antithesis and synthesis
"I am so stupid that I cannot understand philosophy; the antithesis of this is that
philosophy is so clever that it cannot comprehend my stupidity. These antitheses
are mediated in a higher unity; in our common stupidity."
from WORKS OF LOVE
"Most people are subjective toward themselves and objective toward all others,
frightfully objective sometimes--but the task is precisely to be objective toward
oneself and subjective toward all others."
"The essentially Christian is certainly the highest and the supremely highest,
but, mark well, in such a way that to the natural man it is an offense. Anyone
who, in defining the essentially Christian as the highest, omits the middle term of
offense sins against it, is guilty of presumptuousness...
The way to the essentially Christian goes through offense. This does not mean
that the approach to the essentially Christian should be to be offended by it--this
would indeed be another way of preventing oneself from grasping the essentially
Christian--but the offense guards the approach to the essentially Christian.
Blessed is he who is not offended at it."
from THE SICKNESS UNTO DEATH
"An individual in despair despairs over something...
In despairing over something, he really despair[s] over himself, and
now he wants to get rid of himself. Consequently, to despair over something is still not despair proper...
To despair over oneself, in despair to will to be rid of oneself--this is the formula for
"So to be sick unto death is, not to be able to die--yet not as though
there were hope of life; no, the hopelessness in this case is that even
the last hope, death, is not available. When death is the greatest danger,
one hopes for life; but when one becomes acquainted with an even more
dreadful danger, one hopes for death. So when the danger is so great that
death has become one's hope, despair is the disconsolateness of not being
able to die."
"The ever increasing intensity of despair depends upon the degree of
consciousness or is proportionate to this increase: the greater the degree of
consciousness, the more intensive the despair. This is everywhere apparent, most
clearly in despair at its maximum and minimum. The devil's despair is the most
intensive despair, for the devil is sheer spirit and hence unqualified
consciousness and transparency; there is no obscurity in the devil that could
serve as a mitigating excuse. Therefore, his despair is the most absolute defiance..."
"Compared with the person who is conscious of his despair, the despairing
individual who is ignorant of his despair is simply a negativity further away from
the truth and deliverance... Yet ignorance is so far from breaking the despair or
changing despair to nondespairing that it can in fact be the most dangerous form
of despair... An individual is furthest from being conscious of himself as spirit
when he is ignorant of being in despair. But precisely this--not to be conscious of
oneself as spirit--is despair, which is spiritlessness..."
"Sin is: before God, or with the conception of God, in despair not to will to be
oneself, or in despair to will to be oneself. Thus sin is intensified weakness or
intensified defiance: sin is the intensification of despair. The emphasis is on
before God, or with a conception of God; it is the conception of God that makes sin
dialectically, ethically, and religiously what lawyers call 'aggravated' despair."
"To despair over one's sins indicates that sin has become or wants to be internally
consistent. It wants nothing to do with the good, does not want to be so weak as to
listen occasionally to other talk. No, it insists on listening only to itself, on having
dealings only with itself; it closes itself up within itself, indeed, locks itself inside
one more inclosure, and protects itself against every attack or pursuit by the good
by despairing over sin."
from JUDGE FOR YOURSELF!
"Imitation, the imitation of Christ, is really the point from which the human race
shrinks. The main difficulty lie here: here is where it is really decided whether or
not one is willing to accept Christianity. If there is emphasis on this point, the
stronger the emphasis the fewer the Christians. If there is a scaling down at this
point (so that Christianity becomes, intellectually, a doctrine), more people enter
into Christianity. If it is abolished completely (so that Christianity becomes,
existentially, as easy as mythology and poetry and imitation an exaggeration, a
ludicrous exaggeration), then Christianity spreads to such a degree that
Christendom and the world are almost indistinguishable, or all become
Christians; Christianity has completely conquered--that is, it is abolished."
from THIS MUST BE SAID--SO LET IT NOW BE SAID
"This has to be said; so let it now be said. Whoever you are, whatever in other
respects your life may be, my friend, by ceasing to take part (if ordinarily you do)
in the public worship of God, as it now is (with the claim that it is the Christianity
of the New Testament), you have constantly one guilt the less, and that a great
one: you do not take part in treating God as a fool by calling that the Christianity
of the New Testament, which is not the Christianity of the New Testament... the
official worship of God...is, Christianly, a counterfeit, a forgery."
from THE MOMENT
"In the New Testament the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, represents
the situation thus: The way that leads to life is straight, the gate narrow--few be
they who find it!--...now, on the contrary, to speak only of Denmark, we are all Christians, the way
is as broad as it possibly can be, the broadest in Denmark, since it is the way in
which we all are walking, besides being in all respects as convenient, as
comfortable, as possible; and the gate is as wide as it possibly can be, wider surely
a gate cannot be than that through which we all are going en masse...
Ergo the New Testament is no longer truth."