Jun 11, 2008


By primitivity Christianity does not of course mean the usual fanfare about the intellectual, about being a genius and the like. No; primitivity, spirit, means staking your life and putting the kingdom of God first, first, first. The more literally a person can accept this, and act accordingly, the more primitivity he has.

....Anyone who has persevered in living up to his primitivity has a reliable knowledge of existence, may be rated an able seaman on life's ocean, has something he can vouch for. If a blushing (oh, Socrates!) youth turns to such a man he will not talk a lot of moonshine, nor will he offer the youth that sham reliability: be like the others.

....primitivity - having to be primitive, alone with God without being preceded by others whom one can ape and to whom one can refer for corroboration - is something people accept most reluctantly. All deadening of spirit is bound up with this historical taking shelter and making a pretext of the innumerable millions who have lived before us.

— Kierkegaard (1854, year before dying)

Jun 4, 2008

Genius in confrontation with the choice between happiness (women, society) and morality

The reason why madness overtakes so many men of genius - fools believe it comes from the influence of Venus, or the spinal degeneration of neurasthenics - is that for many the burden becomes too heavy, the task of bearing the whole world on the shoulders, like Atlas, intolerable for the smaller, but never for the really mighty minds. But the higher a man mounts, the greater may be his fall; all genius is a conquering of chaos, mystery, and darkness, and if it degenerates and goes to pieces, the ruin is greater in proportion to the success. The genius which runs to madness is no longer genius; it has chosen happiness instead of morality. All madness is the outcome of the insupportability of suffering attached to all consciousness.

— Otto Weininger

The man of genius possesses, like everything else, the complete female in himself; but woman herself is only a part of the Universe, and the part can never be the whole; femaleness can never include genius. This lack of genius on the part of woman is inevitable because woman is not a monad, and cannot reflect the Universe.

— Otto Weininger

It is certainly true that most men need some kind of a God. A few, and they are the men of genius, do not bow to an alien law. The rest try to justify their doings and misdoings, their thinking and existence (at least the menial side of it), to some one else, whether it be the personal God of the Jews, or a beloved, respected, and revered human being. It is only in this way that they can bring their lives under the social law. . . .

— Otto Weininger

Woman and Genius

It is through woman that ideality is born into the world and - what were man without her! There is many a man who has become a genius through a woman, many a one a hero, many a one a poet, many a one even a saint; but he did not become a genius through the woman he married, for through her he only became a privy councillor; he did not become a hero through the woman he married, for through her he only became a general; he did not become a poet through the woman he married, for through her he only became a father; he did not become a saint through the woman he married, for he did not marry, and would have married but one - the one whom he did not marry; just as the others became a genius, became a hero, became a poet through the help of the woman they did not marry.

— Kierkegaard

Women, in general, are not attracted to art at all, nor knowledge, and not at all to genius.

— Rousseau

Male conspiracy cannot explain all female failures. I am convinced that, even without restrictions, there still would have been no female Pascal, Milton, or Kant. Genius is not checked by social obstacles: it will overcome.

— Camille Paglia, in Sexual Personae

There are no female geniuses because there are no female Jack-the-Rippers.

— Camille Paglia

Women of genius commonly have masculine faces, figures and manners. In transplanting brains to an alien soil God leaves a little of the original earth clinging to the roots.

— Ambrose Bierce


Genius does what it must, and Talent does what it can.

— Owen Meredith Earl of Lytton

Jun 3, 2008

Communion with Nature

One can very well eat lettuce before its heart has been formed; still, the delicate crispness of the heart and its lovely frizz are something altogether different from the leaves. It is the same in the world of the spirit. Being too busy has this result: that an individual very, very rarely is permitted to form a heart; on the other hand, the thinker, the poet, or the religious personality who actually has formed his heart, will never be popular, not because he is difficult, but because it demands quiet and prolonged working with oneself and intimate knowledge of oneself as well as a certain isolation. Even if, in a full-toned voice, I could say something that would please each and every one, if it were of a religious nature I would not say it, because it is already a kind of religious indecency that it should be necessary to make an outcry about it; on the contrary, religious things have to do with a softly murmured soliloquy with oneself. Alas, things are so topsy-turvy that, instead of having to do with each individual going alone into his secret closet to commune quietly with himself, people believe that religion is a matter for very loud talk.

— Soren Kierkegaard

Jun 1, 2008

'The bad Infinite' vs. 'the good Infinite'

The principal objection, the total objection to the natural sciences, can formally be expressed simply and definitely like this: It is unthinkable that it could occur to a human being who has reached a conclusion about himself as a spirit in relation to eternity, to choose physical science (with its empirical material) as a field for his efforts.

....That a physicist has a consciousness goes without saying, he has a consciousness within the circumscribed scope of his talent, perhaps he has amazing acumen, a gift of combination, almost a conjuror's knack for idea-associations, and so on. But at the very maximum it amounts to this: such an eminent talent, this absolutely uniquely gifted man is able to explain Nature, but does not understand his own self! He does not become transparent to himself in regard to his spiritual destiny, to the ethical guidance of his talent, etc.

But this state of affairs is nothing but scepticism, as is easily seen (for scepticism is this: that an unknown quantity, some 'X', can explain everything. But when everything is explained through an 'X' which is not explained, then in toto nothing is explained, nothing at all. If this is not scepticism, then it is superstition.)

— Soren Kierkegaard

Religion and the sexes

The greatest possible misunderstanding about religious matters between one human being and another occurs when you take a man and a woman, and the man wants to teach her religion, and the whole bliss inherent therein, in this being for God, then becomes the object of her amorous love.

— Soren Kierkegaard