Dec 27, 2013

Worldly success vs. true greatness

My misfortune or what makes my life so difficult is that I am stretched one key higher than other men and where I am and what I do are concerned not only with the particular but always with a principle and idea as well. The most the majority do is to think about which girl they should marry; I had to think about marriage. So it is in everything.

It is basically the same with me now. The most the majority do is to think of which appointment they should seek, and I am at present deeply involved in the tension, in the battle of ideas, the question of principles, concerning the extent to which these so-called Christian professions are legitimate from the essentially Christian point of view.

No doubt what makes me unpopular is not so much the difficulty of my books as it is my personal life, the fact that even with all my endeavors I do not amount to anything (the finite teleology), do not make money, do not get appointed to a job, do not become a Knight of Denmark, but in every way amount to nothing and on top of that am derided. To my mind this is what is great about me if there is anything great. And this costs me struggle and strain, for I, too, am flesh and blood — and yet this is precisely why I am unappreciated and mistreated.

— Søren Kierkegaard

Don't speak of what you haven't done

Promptly to become emotional in the pulpit — instead of acting in actuality — and then to have it seem to the person himself and the audience as if the man had acted. Yes, Plato and Socrates were right: banish poets and also orators from the state.

On the whole, the Greek concept of a philosopher (that is, a thinker in ethical character) is much more appropriate to the communication of the essentially Christian than this spineless concept: an orator, a declaimer — instead of an implementer.

— Søren Kierkegaard