Choosing Belief with Kierkegaard
This linked post is a great case by which to begin to understand the parameters of the conventional philosophical orientation upon things.
I disagree with the writer: the leap of K is the absurd situation of already having occurred. It is not “into a choice” of faith, rather, such a choice is evidence that faith is already there.
Sartre, as I see him, misunderstood K and posited a free choice in light of the absurdity of brute existence, as S might have been reacting to the reality of the Final Solution and World War 2. But in his bewilderment of such atrocity, as with others of his time, like Fankl and May, his reading of Kierkegaard was produced in his (Sartre’s) astonishment, where as Kierkegaard was not astonished, or, he was more astonished that the brute reality of existence was/is missed so thoroughly by most (the crowd, or those oriented in such a way for their identity).
I see Sartres existentialism as a complete misreading of K. But that’s not to say that S did not have good insight given the condition of his moment.
However, the trauma (ww2) limited his ability to view; it refined his view such that the tiny pin hole he was looking through appeared to grant focus to the “whole”, perhaps like a small apperature of a photographic lens has a longer depth of field.
But we know now with trauma, the tiny view just takes over the field rather than representing it truly.
The traditional conventional readings of Kierkegaard routinely misrepresent his works (or thinks only inside the close reading of his words rather than the whole meaning of all his works — that is, philosophically rather than psychologically . Many of Ks works are indeed called by himself “psychological” btw.) Hence in order to render the meaning of his works properly for our time, one must turn thier idea of faith on its head, turn it upside down.
K’s reprimand is of the “inauthentic” individual who simply is always in despair to will to be oneself. Such individuals, ironically, 😘 find and found solace in Sartre’s existentialism because Sartre and his peers (and others) were shook by the apparent inhumanity that humanity would be party to — and such individuals understand the view from despair (the view that despair brings about) as indeed the true view, the viewing of the true existence, but it is the distortion. I call this distortion the “real” view, because it is the view that must be reckoned with first, in reality. So, in a way, Sartre was actually giving a sort of psychologically compassionate statement by his philosophy.
Like the analysis of Trauma, the view that is true of the situation is not found in the reasonable conclusions gained in the traumatic coming upon such brute force. Rather, distance allows the true picture to come into focus without restimulation.
From the brute existence already having been forced and come to terms with The reading of events is no longer informed through the “post-traumatic” apprehension-reaction against a circumstance of things; the person no longer involuntarily enacting actions and views from the still resonating “close-range” and the re-encountering of the traumatic stimulus. Or, in Sartre’s way: The encounter with the abyss of freedom is traumatic, hence one revolts from it, rejects it in order to reshape one’s own life through choosing it out of the chasm of nothing upon which identity is based.
What Kierkegaard already had processed and viewed truly was already lost, as we see in K’s reprimands of Christianity. What Sartre “rediscovered” was a reading of Kierkegaard through the lens of deflowered ignorance: In despair to will to be oneself. Hence Sartre’s Existentialism just posits that one can will to be oneself through the free choice to no longer be in despair. This reading, while good for the modern citizen who is already in despair merely tells everyone it is ok to live in ignorance of oneself through choosing to deny thier despair through the free act of choice.
Judge Wilhelm (in Either/Or part 2) describes the condition of those who would wish to “join in love” with that which is apparently unknowable, and hence the ground of ethical choice that is despair.
While such a reading can be therapeutic considering that most of society citizens do their best to try and avoid their brute existence, the reading, such as evident in the linked-post (as well as the scholarly reports) nevertheless is opposite of what K was saying.
Ks use of the trope “Christianity” often throws off interpretation, as we see with Sartre; for who could still think God was in history after the Holocaust? Sartre’s whole philosophy is informed by active trauma: the trauma of having the very human force of belief confronted at its core, that is, as an actual force connected with causality.
Read more insights into philosophy in THE SECOND PART of The Philosophical Hack: The Object of the Subject.
The Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Event.
Coming to mind whether you want it to or not.