‘An illusion can never be destroyed directly’


Sketch of Søren Kierkegaard. Based on a sketch...

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“No, an illusion can never be destroyed directly, and only by indirect means can it be radically removed…. That is, one must approach from behind the person who is under an illusion.” — Soren Kierkegaard, The Point of View for My Work as an Author, found in Kierkegaard’s Philosophy: Self-Deception and Cowardice in the Present Age by John Douglas Mullen

For an explication of this point of view, see Thomas C. Oden’s introductory essay to Parables of Kierkegaard.

Consider a similar perspective in the following poem, “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant–“, by Emily Dickinson:

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Success in Cirrcuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—

 

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