Dec 27, 2008

Buying sweets - Buying suffering

A pagan (Cicero, in De finibus) relates that the greatest sensualist in the Orient (Sardanapalus) put on his tombstone: I took all the pleasures of the world with me to the grave — to which another pagan (Aristotle) is supposed to have said: How so? You could not even hold on to a single one of them while you were living.

— Kierkegaard

Dec 21, 2008

Both-And --- Either/Or

From a strictly Christian point of view, what we men call earnestness in contrast to diversion is often nothing but diversion.

— Kierkegaard

Dec 18, 2008


Emotional suffering when young is a vital ingredient for becoming wise. It is necessary to learn how painful life can be, and that being alive and experiencing is not intrinsically enjoyable.

This is not sadomasochism.

A deep, lasting, strong experience of emotional pain will force a person to become indifferent to life. If they can bear up under that pain, without sinking into self-pity or suicidalism, then they are able to reflect on what it is that makes life different to not-living.

They become dwellers in the land of thought, imagination, and reflection.

If they can live in between life and death, with no strong attachment to either, neither wishing to "make merry and forget their woes" or to "celebrate destruction and nihilism", then they become thinkers and are likely to have some wise insights.


A link to some interesting images.

Dec 17, 2008

Regarding the starry evening sky

Alas, but man is still an animal-creature, and the indolent inclination to ape and mimic seems to be his second nature. That is why it is so very easy to collect them in a herd; that a proclaimer will get thousands who want to learn what he says by rote, perhaps become professors of it — but perhaps not one in ten thousand who himself gazes at the starry evening sky. But are not the proclaimers all too frequently to blame when the whole thing becomes aping and copying, for it is to their earthly and temporal advantage. Be unprincipled, if you will, toward the starry evening sky, make it seem that what is glorious is not the starry evening sky but your conception of it, get a few blaring knights of commerce on your staff, and you will soon get a crowd who will pay a fancy price for your wonderful instruction. Ah, but if you are honest toward the starry evening sky, if you tell the truth and declare that the glory belongs to it and that every man could if he would see its glory in his own way, and that his own way means infinitely much more to him than yours to him or his to you: well, then there is really no occasion for making money or for animal-like crowding together in herds.

— Kierkegaard

Dec 9, 2008


...any crime is far preferable to this self-satisfied, smiling, cheerful, blissful demoralisation: mediocrity.

Soren Kierkegaard

Dec 1, 2008

The knife edge of living according to the truth

Resignation to the Infinite is a simple matter. It just means following one's reason in regards the nature of ultimate reality. It just means: stop building something. This indeed is easy.

But now arises the difficulty. Karma (one's memory, habits, routines, preferences, and a life-time of deep-engrained beliefs) is all about building the self up, building anything up, as a safe haven in reality. This sets one's whole being against reason. This is the personal struggle, of ongoing and profound resignation. Perhaps after many years, one finds new force in the habit of reason. So one starts to 'float' and the habit of constructing fades.

But now arises a greater difficulty. One floats, living beside things, resigned to any environment and any experience. One's higher understanding, emptied of a need for self - reputation, accomplishment, experience to fall back on, etc. - stands in collision with the entire human environment. Clearly, one values the highest and purest resignation possible. And because of this valuing, there is a struggle against wishing for the entire human environment to be dragged up and educated.

So here is the collision with the world. In the same instant, there is the old danger, of the ego wanting to protect itself by destroying a worldful of threats (human evil), posed with a higher expression of the same (wanting all other selves to resemble oneself), posed with a purer, higher form of ego (wanting to be a self that exists with no attachment to any environment), posed with an even higher ego that values not protecting the false self by hiding in a selfish, unattacked, private heavenly bliss, posed with an even higher ego that submits its claims to accomplish anything and simply enters into the world with a deep consciousness of the true state of affairs.

And in this collision is that awareness that no matter how one does try within the world to educate, one's resignation - to these enormous demands on consciousness to run the program of reason through every level of egotistical rebellion in oneself consistently and constantly - will enforce the belief in others that one is half-mad, obsessive, depressive, and doing something torturously unnatural - and they will flee one.

Maneating is spiritual obesity and it kills

Preachers and professors eat the dead. Novelists, writers of romances, and minor authors eat even the living. It never occurs to such a scoundrel that he could assist some greater excellence not to succumb. O, no, even if he could, he owes it to his trade not to do it lest he miss out on a poetic motif and the public's eagerness for just that sort of writing.

- Kierkegaard

(A confessional demonstration of my own maneating)

Sublimation - Subliminal

transitive verb
1: to cause to pass directly from the solid to the vapor state and condense back to solid form
2 a (1): to elevate or exalt especially in dignity or honor
(2): to render finer (as in purity or excellence)
b: to convert (something inferior) into something of higher worth
intransitive verb: to pass directly from the solid to the vapor state
[Etymology: C14th Middle English, from Middle French sublimer, from Medieval Latin sublimare to refine, sublime, from Latin sublimis to elevate.]

Sublimation: to divert the expression of (an instinctual desire or impulse) from its unacceptable form to one that is considered more socially or culturally acceptable.
[Etymology: C15th Middle English, from Medieval Latin sublimatus, past participle of sublimare]


1: inadequate to produce a sensation or a perception
2: existing or functioning below the threshold of consciousness
[Etymology: 1886 sub- + Latin limin-, limen threshold]