What does it mean to work against oneself? It is quite simple. If the established, the traditional, etc., in the context of which a beginning is to be made, is sound, thoroughly sound — well, then apply directly what has to be applied; in any case there can be no talk or thought of reforming, for if the established is sound, then there is nothing, after all, to reform.
Conversely, to the same degree that the established, consequently there where one's striving begins, is corrupt, to the same degree it will become increasingly necessary dialectically to work against oneself, lest the innovation resulting from direct action is itself corrupted the minute it succeeds, and thus is not maintained in its heterogeneity.
— Kierkegaard, 1850