On Soren Kierkegaard’s 200th birthday, a few quotations from his works

Soren Kierkegaard studying“If you wish to be and remain enthusiastic, then draw the silk curtains of facetiousness, and so hide your enthusiasm.” — Soren Kierkegaard, in his journals

“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

“The reason I far prefer the autumn to the spring is because in the autumn one looks up to heaven — in spring at the earth.” — Soren Kierkegaard, in his journals

“Most men think, talk, and write as they sleep, eat, and drink, without ever raising the question of their relation to the idea; this only happens among the very few and then that decisive moment has in the very highest degree either the power to compel (genius), or it paralyzes the individual with anxiety (irony).” — Soren Kierkegaard, in his journals

“Mysticism has not the patience to wait for God’s revelation.” — Soren Kierkegaard, in his journals

“Socrates proved the immortality of the soul from the fact that sickness of the soul (which may be called sin) does not consume the soul, as sickness of the body consumes the body.” — Soren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death

“There are, as is known, insects that die in the moment of fertilization. So it is with all joy: life’s highest, most splendid moment of enjoyment is accompanied by death.” — Soren Kierkegaard, Either / Or

“People hardly ever make use of the freedom they have, that is, freedom of thought, and instead demand free speech as a compensation.” — Soren Kierkegaard, in his journals

“Luther, you have a huge responsibility, for when I look more closely, I see more and more clearly that you toppled the Pope only to enthrone ‘the public.’” — Soren Kierkegaard, in his journals

“Other people may complain that the present age is wicked. I complain that it is wretched, because it lacks passion. People’s souls are thin and flimsy like lace; and they are spiritual lacemakers. The thoughts of their hearts are too paltry to be regarded as sinful. A worm might be looked upon as sinful to think in such a way; but for people made in the image of God, ‘sinful’ is too big a word. Their desires are drab and sluggish, their passion lethargic. They are like shopkeepers, doing their duty, but clipping little pieces of gold from the coins they take. They think that, even if the Lord is careful in keeping his accounts, they can cheat him a little. Away with them! This is why my soul constantly turns back to the Old Testament and to Shakespeare. The characters are real human beings: they hate and love, they murder their enemies, they curse their descendants, they sin.” — Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or

Learn more about Soren Kierkegaard at the late D. Anthony Storm’s thorough commentary site.

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