Comparing and Contrasting Nietzsche’s Preparatory Human Being and Kierkegaard’s Knight of Faith

Comparing and Contrasting Nietzsche’s Preparatory Human Being and Kierkegaard’s Knight of Faith

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Take a minute to relax. Enjoy the lightness, or surprising heaviness, of the paper, the crispness of the ink, and the regularity of the type. There are over four pages in this stack, brimming with the answer to some question, proposed about subjects that are necessarily personal in nature. All of philosophy is personal, but some philosophers may deny this. Discussed here are philosophers that would not be that silly. Two proto-existentialists, Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, were keen observers of humanity, and yet their conclusions were different enough to seem contradictory. Discussed here will be Nietzsche’s “preparatory human being” and Kierkegaard’s “knight of faith”. Both are archetypal human beings that exist in accordance to their respective philosopher’s values, and as such, each serve different functions and have different qualities. Both serve the same purpose, though. The free spirit and the knight of faith are both human beings that brace themselves against the implosion of the god concept in western society.
Nietzsche’s dramatis personae “…is different than the actor of this drama” (Science 241). The preparatory human being is one who sees the world as Nietzsche does, and so his characterization is Nietzsche, and people who he sees stick out from the rest of society. The preparatory human being is one that is fit for the transition that Nietzsche sees the world around him going through. This is the destruction of the belief in God. Nietzsche proposes that the belief has receded and questions how people will be able to cope with this (Science 181). Mentioned, also, by Nietzsche in The Gay Science is his view that monotheism stifles and directs the individual towards a normative sense of mora...


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...ly, that God was in danger, and wrote about human beings that would survive the impersonal world. It is in these writers that many Existentialists, either self labeled or otherwise, saw inspiration for a new kind of life. The free spirit and the knight of faith are both beings that can withstand the melting of ice idols, and are able to joyously dance in the warm breeze.







Works Cited

Guignon, Charles B., and Derk Pereboom. Existentialism: Basic Writings. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001. Print.

Kierkegaard, Søren, Howard V. Hong, Edna H. Hong, and Søren Kierkegaard. Philosophical Fragments, Johannes Climacus. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1985. Print.

Nietzsche, Friedrich, and Walter Kaufmann. The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs : Translated, with Commentary by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random, 1974. Print.


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