Soren Kierkegaard Is A Danish Philosopher And Theologian, The Founder Of Existentialism Homework Essay Sample

Existentialism raises many unresolved inquiries regarding the existence of humanity, the principles of morality, and the discernment of what is right and wrong. Throughout his life, philosopher Soren Kierkegaard dedicated himself to deciphering these enigmatic questions.

According to Oaklander (3), Kierkegaard, a devout Christian, believed that all humans should strive to become Christians like him. Although existentialist philosophy does not center around human life holistically, it highlights the importance of the choices individuals make during their lifetime. The primary goal of existentialist writers is to increase consciousness among all people that they are independent beings who exercise their freedom through decision-making and accepting responsibility for those decisions.

The existentialists discuss and explore various themes in their writings. These themes include the importance of the individual, criticism of reason, the contrast between inauthenticity and authenticity, the boundary situation, alienation, confronting nothingness, dread, community, freedom, and commitment.

Soren Kierkegaard’s works aimed to answer the question of the ultimate purpose of human existence, with a main focus on matters of religion and advocating for a close connection with God and Christianity. His writings allow individuals to confront their own subjectivity (Oaklander 2). As one of the pioneering existentialists, Kierkegaard believed that truth can only be found within oneself, rejecting psychological experiences, scientific endeavors, philosophical ideas, and worldly knowledge as objects lacking truth (Oaklander 2).

In his book Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard examines three of the eight themes of existentialism mentioned earlier, namely the inauthentic versus the authentic and alienation. The central focus of the text revolves around the narrative of Abraham and Isaac. Kierkegaard utilizes this story as an explanation for his decision to end his long-term relationship with Regine Olsen, his beloved. It is believed that upon discovering his true aspiration in life, which was to embark on a Christian path, Kierkegaard came to the realization that it would be impossible to fully unite with God while simultaneously trying to maintain a marital bond. Therefore, he terminated his engagement with Miss Olsen in order to prioritize his journey towards becoming a Christian.

Kierkegaard posits that there are three stages of human existence. The first and most immature stage is known as the aesthetic stage, as confirmed by Jansen (1). In this stage, individuals are dominated by their desires, whether they be physical, emotional, or intellectual. The main objective for these individuals is to obtain pleasure; however, satisfaction remains elusive. It is at this point that an existentialist would argue that the person is living inauthentically, not fully grappling with their own existence. Stage two marks the emergence of a newfound awareness of moral values, as individuals now confront ethical dilemmas.

According to Jansen (1), individuals in the ethical stage of development may feel equally unfulfilled as those in the aesthetic stage when faced with unclear choices and having to choose between negative options. By the end of this stage, individuals have developed a moral sense, with moral principles guiding their actions. Kierkegaard’s stages of faith include a final stage called the religious stage, which is primarily explored in Fear and Trembling. In this stage, individuals strive for an authentic existence but can be divided into two groups. Group 1 consists of individuals burdened by guilt, while Group 2 comprises those who wholeheartedly dedicate themselves to God.

The themes of alienation and the conflict between the inauthentic and the authentic are illustrated in Kierkegaard’s novel, “Fear and Trembling,” through the story of Abraham and Isaac. This narrative also mirrors aspects of Kierkegaard’s own life. As Abraham progresses through different stages, these themes emerge at each stage. God had promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, with a son as a starting point. Until this point in his life, Abraham could be seen as living an aesthetic existence. True to His promise, God blessed Abraham and his wife Sarah with a son named Isaac. This gratified Abraham’s lifelong desire, bringing him contentment.

However, Abraham’s joy was fleeting as he received a command from God to sacrifice his most beloved possession, his son. This dilemma left Abraham torn between his love for his son and his unquestioning devotion to God, his ultimate source of life and sustenance. In a similar vein to the existentialist writers, Abraham now faced a crucial decision, an existential choice. Interestingly, this pivotal moment in Abraham’s life aligns with a significant life decision that Soren Kierkegaard, a renowned philosopher, had to confront.

Kierkegaard, who was once betrothed to Regine Olsen, found himself contemplating the direction of his life. His decision: to embrace Christianity. Yet as he delved deeper into his choice, Kierkegaard realized that it was impossible to maintain a marriage and family while pursuing his ultimate goal of becoming a Christian. Thus, similar to Abraham who obediently carried out God’s command to sacrifice his son, Kierkegaard ended his engagement with Regine Olsen. At this point, both men were situated in the ethical stage of faith. Abraham grapples with the potential disobedience of God’s demands and the act of murdering his own son. By committing this act, not only would Abraham be taking a life, he would also be relinquishing the gift that God had so graciously bestowed upon him.

What if Isaac did not fulfill the prophecy of becoming a great ruler as Abraham had predicted? What if his true purpose was to be offered as a sacrifice to God? In relation to Kierkegaard’s situation, what if he was never destined to be a Christian or a husband? If these were not their intended paths, then both men would only be defying God. Despite their reluctance, both men chose to follow their own judgement, which ultimately aligned with God’s will. After making his decision, Abraham embarked on the religious phase of his faith journey. The final stage, known as the leap of faith, occurs when he believes in the virtue of the absurd – that his son will be spared. (Oaklander 22)

The text highlights the connection made between Abraham, Isaac, and God, which marks a transition from inauthenticity to authenticity. As mentioned earlier, Abraham’s life-altering decision has dissociated him from the inauthentic world. Furthermore, Abraham can be categorized alongside believers who respond to God. Similarly, Kierkegaard, like Abraham, has made a transformative choice to embrace his Christian faith. In this scenario, Abraham relinquishes his individuality and becomes part of the universal, conforming to the actions of others. (Oaklander 23)

Unfortunately, Regine Olsen never again became a part of Soren Kierkegaard’s life, unlike Abraham who was reunited with his son. Fear and Trembling explores the existential theme of alienation. Through the testing of his faith, Abraham becomes acutely aware of his individual existence and the necessity of being alone. (Oaklander 25) He separates himself by defying moral laws and preparing to sacrifice his son. Furthermore, he demonstrates his solitude by keeping God’s commandment a secret, even from his wife. Rather than seeking immediate reconciliation with the world he had fallen from, Abraham instead tries to exert dominance over his surroundings. (Taylor 38).

Both Kierkegaard and Abraham relied on their own guidance without seeking advice from others. However, Abraham recognized that following God’s command would make him a murderer and decided not to proceed. Despite deviating from God’s request, Abraham’s suffering confirms that he made the right choice.

Both Kierkegaard and Abraham reached the pinnacle of Christian faith by fully devoting themselves to God. Kierkegaard, in his work and teachings, exemplified unwavering dedication to God just as Abraham did. Their transformation from living in a state of disingenuousness to authenticity stemmed from their complete responsiveness to God.

Bibliography

  1. Jansen, G.M.A. An Existential Approach to Theology. Bruce Publishing Company: Milwaukee, WI. 1966.
  2. Oaklander, Nathan L. Existential Philosophy: An Introduction. Prentice Hall: Paramus. 1995
  3. Taylor, Mark-Lloyd. Anthropology and Authority: Essays on Soren Kierkegaard. Rodopi: Atlanta, GA. 2000.

How To Create A Music CD Using

With today’s personal computers, creating a customized music Compact Disc (CD) from various original CDs can be done in three easy steps. Not only is this process simple, but the end result provides hours of enjoyment. Before getting started, check that all necessary equipment is readily available and configured according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This can save time and frustration.

A computer with an installed CD recorder is the first item necessary to create a personalized music CD. All recorders come with mastering software. This software allows the computer to create a list, called layout, of the songs. It also controls the process of creating the disc. The process of creating or writing music to a recordable disc is often referred to as burning. The next item required is original music recordings from which songs, called audio tracks, will be copied.The last item required is a blank disc. These are readily available at most computer stores and some department stores. As the first step, make a list of the songs desired in the order of playback. Include for each audio track the name of the album, the number of the audio track, and the duration time for the song. Keeping track of the duration time for each song will help stay within the 74 minute limit imposed by recordable CDs.

In the next step, create a layout for the recording within the mastering software. Creating the layout of the CD simply tells the computer in what order to place the audio tracks (songs), the duration of each track, and the total duration of tracks. Start the mastering software according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place the first CD on the list created in the previous step in the recorder. The mastering software will display a list of the tracks by their number from that CD in a small window. Drag the number of the desired track from that window into the layout area. This area is clearly marked as such and adjacent to the track list window. Doing so will add the name of the audio track to the layout. Repeat this process for each song in the list of songs to be burned until the mastering program indicates no more time available in the blank disc or there are no more songs to be recorded.

The last step is to burn the CD. Insert the blank disc in the recorder. Different recorders have different recording speeds, so select the speed at which to create the CD. Select the record option from the mastering program. This will start the burning process. A 74 minutes CD takes 74 to 9 minutes to burn depending on the speed of the recorder. The computer will signal at the end of the burning process. Then remove the newly created disc from the recorder. The recording is now ready to use.

As demonstrated, anyone can create a customized music CD with the help of a personal computer in just a few steps. These recordings work in the same manner as the commercially created ones, so let the burning begin and enjoy.

1984 And The Left Hand Of Darkness

The books Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Left Hand of Darkness provide insights into the essence of humanity and truth. Humanity refers to the collective condition, quality, or fact of being human. Truth encompasses the current state, past events, and future occurrences, remaining unaffected by personal viewpoints. These literary works demonstrate humans’ interactions with themselves, friends, adversaries, and the broader human community.

Truth empowers individuals to stand on their own, enabling them to defy the majority. As stated in “Nineteen Eighty-Four” on page 171, “Being in a minority even a minority of one did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” This realization allows Winston to resist the party’s control. Truth possesses an immense strength that can prevail against any odds. On page 27 of “The Left Hand of Darkness,” it is affirmed that “One voice speaking truth is greater force than fleets and armies, given time.” Genly Ai understands that eventually the people of Winter will come to accept the truth, although it may require patience. Man is incapable of altering the truth; they can only distort it.

This fact is exemplified in both books. In “The Left Hand of Darkness” (Pg. 106), it is stated that the shortcomings lie with the messenger rather than the message. Genly Ai acknowledges that when one person holds the responsibility of the truth, it can become distorted. Similarly, in “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (Pg. 62), it is depicted how the truth can be warped when those in power control its perception. The past is erased, forgotten, and lies become truth. The distortion of truth results in the loss of freedom to choose between supporting truth or falsehood.

Additionally, when friendships remain untested, people tend to believe their friends would do anything for them. However, when faced with trials, these friendships often end in betrayal. Winston, the protagonist in “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” firmly believes he will remain loyal to Julia regardless of circumstances (Pg. 184). Despite betraying everyone else, Winston still maintains his conviction to withstand torture without betraying Julia.

Ultimately, as one’s pain intensifies and mercy is sought, betrayals occur to friends and everything else.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston, through tear-filled eyes, tells O’Brien that he has not betrayed Julia. However, in the end, his worst fear comes true and he betrays her, pleading that the torture be done to Julia instead of himself. Similarly, in The Left Hand of Darkness, Estraven commits the vile act of stealing to provide food and supplies for himself and Genly Ai, even though it is highly despised in his society. Ultimately, Estraven betrays Genly Ai by sacrificing himself and allowing himself to be shot. This act prompts Genly Ai to contemplate whether his friend had intentionally killed himself. A friend plays various roles, including tormentor and lover, but their main purpose is to aid in survival. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, after undergoing a harrowing interrogation, Winston considers O’Brien as his sole remaining friend.

“The individual portrayed in Nineteen Eighty-Four is depicted as assuming various roles – the tormenter, the protector, the inquisitor, and the friend.” (Pg.193)

O’Brien’s ability to be a friend to Winston in different capacities is highlighted in this quote. Genly Ai faces a unique challenge in understanding friendship on Winter, where relationships can switch between friendship and romance every month. This forces him to reevaluate his previous understanding of friendship. (Pg.213)

In The Left Hand of Darkness, Genly Ai and Estraven form a friendship that helps them navigate difficult times. (Pg.247) They not only share provisions and resources but also share the experience of exile. (Pg.202) This shared experience allows them to better understand each other.

These books illustrate the idea that friends can play different roles in one’s life – providing necessities like food and supplies or offering support and protection through questioning and guidance. Moreover, these books suggest that death penalty is not an essential means to punish one’s enemies. The harsh conditions of life on Winter serve as punishment enough, as illustrated by the quote: “And I really don’t see how anyone could put much stock in victory or glory after he had spent a winter on Winter, and seen the force of the ice.” (Pg.97) Consequently, there is no need to resort to death sentences.In Karhide, the death-sentence is rarely imposed.

The inhabitants of Winter in The Left Hand of Darkness are faced with the choice of surrendering to nature or becoming angry rather than following laws. This is similar to the objective of the Thought Police in Nineteen Eighty-Four, who seek to change their enemies instead of killing them: “We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.” Additionally, the desire for a sense of belonging is an integral part of human nature. Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four seeks membership in a collective that opposes the ruling party, which explains her decision to involve herself with Winston: “‘You are very young,’ he said (Winston).’You are ten or fifteen years younger than I am. What could you see to attract you in a man like me?’ ‘It was something in your face. I thought I’d take a chance. I’m good at spotting people who don’t belong. As soon as I saw you I knew you were against them.’” Julia is drawn to Winston because they both belong to the same opposition group. Similarly, Genly Ai yearns for unity and assimilation: “More and more often I longed for anonymity, for sameness. I craved to be like everyone else.” This longing for belonging can be found in both The Left Hand of Darkness and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

In Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness,” the idea is presented that finding solace and support during challenging moments can come from being connected to a collective (pg.173). belonging to a community not only brings solace but also provides individuals with an identity and purpose, whether as a leader or follower, resulting in profound relief and a strong sense of self (pg.112). Nevertheless, being part of a group can restrict independent thinking and lead to the forfeiture of individual rights, as illustrated when a dying man chooses to leave his wealth to the state rather than his personal wishes (pg.117).

Being part of a group requires pledging allegiance or love to one’s country, which can result in developing hatred towards another nation. Ursula K. Le Guin challenges the concept of loving one’s country and suggests that it is not virtuous if it involves hating other nations. In “The Left Hand of Darkness,” she states, “What is love of one’s country; is it hate of one’s uncountry? Then it’s not a good thing” (Pg.212). This implies that showing love for one’s country may lead to difficulties. Patriotism can also induce fear in those who do not share their nation’s ideals. Le Guin writes, “…When I say patriotism, I mean fear.The fear of the other” (Pg.19). Therefore, fear adds to life’s challenges by creating more foes to contend with.

In the novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” the protagonist Winston is forced to be loyal to his country through coercion and eventually undergoes brainwashing by O’Brien. As a result, he changes his hatred for Big Brother into love for him.Winston initially shouts, “Down with Big Brother!” (Pg.18), but his mindset shifts as he develops affection for Big Brother (Pg.236). This transformation deprives him of freedom because he believes true freedom lies in being able to die while hating Big Brother: “To die hating them, that was freedom” (Pg.223). Winston’s brainwashing leaves him without autonomy over whom he will despise or cherishTo summarize, these literary works demonstrate that although human relationships may differ, the fundamental principles remain unchanged.

These principles state that humans will remain steadfast when they possess the truth as it is immutable. Additionally, friendships will crumble when individuals prioritize their self-interests. Furthermore, the death penalty is not a requisite means of retaliating against adversaries. Lastly, being a member of a group can be advantageous due to a sense of belonging, but detrimental if one blindly adheres to it. The associations individuals establish with others serve as an expression of their convictions regarding truth and humanity.

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