1. Kierkegaard writes: “For the act of resignation faith is not required” (p51). Why not?
What Kierkegaard is saying in this jumble of words is not as complicated as it seems; in fact, his statements are extremely logical and intuitive, save the manner in which he explains himself. Kierkegaard write about how he does not believe that resignation requires any faith at all; in fact, he means something quite different,
For the act of resignation faith is not required, for what I gain by resignation is my eternal consciousness… for my eternal consciousness is my love to God, for me this is higher than everything… For the act of resignation faith is not required, but it is needed when it is the case of acquiring the very least thing more than my eternal consciousness… (Fear and Trembling 51)
Although his explanation is lengthy, Kierkegaard states what must be stated; he says that personally, in order to carry out an act of resignation, he never felt the need for faith. He simply showed resignation and after all was lost, he developed his “eternal consciousness” which to him, is the most important thing in the world because it is essentially the knowledge of ones self; Kierkegaard refers to it as his “love to God… higher than everything.” Kierkegaard goes on to say, however, that faith is required shortly after the resignation process.
After a man has given up all he is in order to find himself, he must then have faith that he will acquire the next piece that he requires to move on. Kierkegaard describes another case, however, in which a man never feels any faith after his resignation,
…When a man laments the loss of his faith, and when one looks at the scale to see where he is, one sees, strangely enough that he has only reached the point where he should make the infinite movement of resignation. In resignation I make renunciation of everything, this movement I make by myself, and if I do not make it, it is because I am cowardly and effeminate and without enthusiasm and do not feel the significance of the lofty dignity which is assigned to every man, that of being his own censor…” (Fear and Trembling 51)
Kierkegaard states the problems that a man can undergo in resigning. The purpose of this part of the passage is that Kierkegaard conveys that some men confirm their act of resignation, yet never feel anything after that, therefore forcing them to stay in their miserable state of resignation. Kierkegaard sees it as a weakness for some men, calling the act of not making it “cowardly and effeminate,” suggesting that resignation is a glorious and freeing act.
Finally, Kierkegaard elaborates on his points, making a very clear statement on his stance,
…What I gain is myself in my eternal consciousness, in blissful agreement with my love for the Eternal Being. By faith I make renunciation of nothing, on the contrary, by faith I acquire everything, precisely in the sense in which it is said that he who has faith like a grain of mustard can remove mountains. (Fear and Trembling 52)
Kierkegaard closes his argument on faith and resignation by stating that he gives nothing up in having faith, which is why it is not part of resignation; resignation is simply a place of rest or a platform in between non-resignation and faith. He in fact gains faith because he finally truly learns about himself and reflects inward, therefore gaining the strength and will power to “move mountains.”
2. “To despair over oneself, in despair to will to be rid of oneself, is the formula for all despair” (Sickness unto Death, p83). Explain.
Kierkegaard introduces quite an interesting topic in this particular passage. Kierkegaard is stating that one of the worst types of despair is the despair that forces one to feel as though they must rid themselves of themselves. At first, it is very easy to mistake this statement from the quote for someone who despairs enough to kill...
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