Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Summary: Fear and Trembling / Kierkegaard - Problem III - part 2

Kierkegaard argues that the aesthetic concealment is opposed to the Paradox of faith. The point is to try and show how faith in above the ethical while the aesthetic is underneath it (see also: Kierkegaard: The Aesthetic, Ethical and Religious)     . The aesthetic treats concealment is something that eventually, by serendipity,  reveals itself with the having to pay a price for it. The ethical according to Kierkegaard does not believe in serendipity and places all responsibility on the individual's shoulders, forcing him to act in order to forge his own fate. This is why ethics cannot stand silence and lack of manifested personal expression. Here Kierkegaard asserts that "aesthetics required concealment and rewarded it, ethics required revelation and punished concealment" (Fear and Trembling, P.134).

Kierkegaard gives another example from Aristotle's Poetics about a bridegroom who, informed by a prophecy of misfortune, abandons his bride. The aesthetic would have required the bridegroom to keep a noble silence while the aesthetic would require him to speak. But in the case of the paradox of faith, Kierkegaard argues that the prophecy belongs to the sphere of the ethical, being commonly believed to be valid and its foreseen fate sealed. But if the knowledge was not delivered by the ethical priest but by some other completely personal manner, he would have had no other choice but to keep silent. His silence would be painful, but the pain comes from the same source of his assurance in his path. For Kierkegaard "the reason for his silence is not that he as the individual would place himself in an absolute relation to the universal, but that he as the individual was placed in an absolute relation to the absolute". This is not like that demand posed by the aesthetic who is constantly harassed by the ethical. Kierkegaard goes further to argue that this is why "religion is the only power which can deliver the aesthetical out of its conflict with the ethical" (Fear and Trembling, P.141).