Sickness Unto Death Kierkegaard Summary

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Since human kind gained the ability of reflection we have questioned our purpose of existence. What makes a human, human? Four philosophers, representing four areas of Philosophy, attempt to answer this question. First is the Dutchman Soren Kierkegaard and his book Sickness unto Death, who is considered the “Father of Existentialism”. Prevalent through all of Kierkegaard’s work was his constant goal to move people closer to God and thus closer to discovering their authentic self. Therefore, our relationship with God is what makes us human. Next is Jeremy Rifkin and his book The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in A World in Crisis who believes that humanity is defined by our ability to empathize with other humans whether …show more content…

The outermost ring is Aesthetical aspect. This is all about pleasure, but the consequence of this ring is despair. This is where Sickness unto Death enters as it outlines the levels of despair one feels because one does not know one’s true self. “With every increase in the degree of consciousness, and in proportion to that increase, the intensity of despair increases, the more consciousness, the more intense the despair.” This means that humanity is doomed to be in despair unless it finds its purpose in discovering the authentic self through God. His book outlines the three main kinds of despair which are: 1)Despair by not knowing; 2) Despair by not wanting to be oneself; 3) Despair by wanting to be oneself but not being able to. (See Figure One) Think of despair as an addiction. A person suffering from the first level is an addict without knowing they are an addict, they have no way out because they do not know there is a problem. They have no sense of self or spirit, and thus no sense of God. Kierkegaard calls this paganism. This level is not just outside of the church, but inside as well. The pagan that sits at church is there because their family went to that church and does not truly believe. Yet, one

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