Crowd Is the Untruth

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Crowd is the “Untruth”

Over the past two weeks, I have been consistently reminded of Kierkegaard’s theory of faith wherein the individual (particular) is higher than the universal (ethical) – of which I have been convinced. This week’s reading supplements this philosophy as it conveys the notion that the “crowd is the untruth”.

According to Kierkegaard, it is justifiable to deem the crowd as the authority and its judgment as the absolute ruling in politics or similar disciplines; however, this view cannot be held true in the intellectual, spiritual, and religious fields. For individuals who are more imaginative like myself, I used the famous childhood tale – Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson – to interpret this abstract concept.

In this children’s story, folks were told that people who could not see the Emperor’s new robe were too incompetent and stupid to appreciate its fine quality. While everyone in the kingdom, including the King himself, pretends to appreciate the rich colors and quality of the new robe, it was a young jobless boy who rejected public opinion and confessed that the King was actually naked. Although this story is fictional, the pretentious folks in this tale are nevertheless an accurate representation of how politics can blind people in reality; thereby justifying Kierkegaard’s view that the crowd is indeed the untruth.

While we can clearly pinpoint the truth in this fictional tale, can we do the same in reality? Is it possible to derive an absolute objective truth from Hegel’s theory of universal consciousness? Or does every individual have his own “eternal truth” based on Kierkegaard’s concept of particularity? Assuming the latter is the case, what are the determinants of an individual’s “eternal truth” – is it his way of thinking, content of life, or both? How can we safely assume that no two people will share the same thoughts and content in their lives?

On the philosophy of particularity, Kierkegaard also...
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