A Victor!

To defend something is always to disparage it. Suppose that someone has a warehouse full of gold, and suppose he is willing to give every ducat to the poor – but in addition, suppose he is stupid enough to begin this charitable enterprise of his with a defense in which he justifies it on three grounds: people will almost come to doubt that he is doing any good. As for Christianity! Well, he who defends it has never believed it. If he believes, then the enthusiasm of faith is not a defense – no, it is an attack and victory; a believer is a victor.

Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death

The Path of an Honest Fighter

A road well begun is the battle half won. The important thing is to make a beginning and get under way. There is nothing more harmful for your soul than to hold back and not get moving.

The path of an honest fighter is a difficult one. And when the fighter grows cool in the evening of his life this is no excuse to retire into games and amusement. Whoever remains faithful to his decision will realize that his whole life is a struggle. Such a person does not fall into the temptation of proudly telling others of what he has done with his life. Nor will he talk about the “great decisions” he has made. He knows full well that at decisive moments you have to renew your resolve again and again and that this alone makes good the decision and the decision good.

Kierkegaard, Provocations: The Spiritual Writings of Soren Kierkegaard

My Soul and Thought

How barren is my soul and thought, and yet incessantly tormented by vacuous, rapturous and agonizing birth pangs! Is my spirit to be forever tongue-tied? Must I always babble? What I need is a voice as penetrating as the glance of Lynceus, terrifying as the sigh of the giants, persistent as a sound of nature, mocking as a frost-chilled gust of wind, malicious as Echo’s callous scorn, with a compass from the deepest bass to the most melting chest-notes, modulating from the whisper of gentle holiness to the violent fury of rage. That is what I need to get air, to give expression to what is on my mind, to stir the bowels of my wrath and of my sympathy. – But my voice is only hoarse like the cry of a gull, or dying away like the blessing upon the lips of the dumb.

Kierkegaard, Either/Or (Diapsalmata)

What is It That Binds Me?

What is it that binds me? Of what was the fetter that bound the Fenris wolf formed? It was wrought of the noise of the cat’s paws as it walks on the ground, of women’s beards, of the roots of rocks, the sinews of the bear, the breath of fish, and the spittle of birds. So, too, am I bound by a fetter formed of dark fancies, of disturbing dreams, of restless thoughts, of dire misgivings, of inexplicable anxieties. This chain is ‘very supple, soft as silk, resilient to the strongest tensions, and cannot be torn in two.’

Kierkegaard, Either/Or (Diapsalmata)

The Melancholic

The melancholic has the best-developed sense of humor, the most extravagant person is often the one most prone to the picturesque, the dissolute one often the most moral, the doubter often the most religious.

Kierkegaard, Either/Or (Diapsalmata)