Works of Love

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“Works of Love”

In chapter IV of Works of Love, Soren Kierkegaard discusses the duty of love that all humans must find. On a biblical account, Kierkegaard argues that, in order to love, whether or not one sees perfections or imperfections, we must love a person for the person that we see.

Kierkegaard begins the chapter with several examples regarding the different ways people love, one example being a difference between two artists (pg. 156). The first artist travels the world seeking a face worthwhile to paint, but to his surprise, he “found no face with such perfection of beauty” that is worth painting. On the contrary, the second artist does not pretend to be a real artist nor does he travel to foreign lands. Instead, he emerges himself around his closest friends and paints them. His reasoning is that, “I have not found a face so insignificant or so full of faults that I still could not discern in it a more beautiful side and discover something glorious.” This is example is significant to Kierkegaard’s claim that we must love a person for the person that we see no matter their qualities. For example, the first artist sets a claim that no person is beautiful enough to paint and that “none of us is worth loving (157)”. While the first artist looks at one’s imperfections rather than the person, the second artist pays no attention to the faults or imperfections in his friends, and instead, he loves what sees. The second artist is the true artist in this situation because he finds love for his friends despite their flaws.

By allowing oneself to have an open mind, preconceived notions of another person can be dropped and one is able to love the person they see. Kierkegaard reiterates this idea into Christianity, on page 169, when he writes, “Christianly understood, loving is loving the very person one sees,” He continues to say, “Christian love grants the beloved all his imperfections and weaknesses and in all his changes remains with him, loving the...
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