Sunday, August 27, 2017

Summary: Fear and Trembling / Kierkegaard - Preliminary Expectoration - part 3

He who is capable, like Abraham, for complete resignation to the infinite finds solace in the finite. For Kierkegaard this is not an accomplishment of the mind but rather of the spirit or soul. He holds that:

"infinite resignation is the last stage prior to faith, so that one who has not made this movement has not faith; for only in the infinite resignation do I become clear to myself with respect to my eternal validity, and only then can there be any question of grasping existence by virtue of faith." (Fear and Trembling, p.96).

The knight of faith according to Kierkegaard loves without demanding anything from that Love and this leads to acceptance of existence. This, surprisingly, renders the impossible possible since Abraham was set on killing Isaac while at the same time having no doubt that God would keep his promise to him and that Isaac would survive. In the absurd endless love is possible by giving up on her without losing it. It is faith, not philosophy, that leads us to cognate the absurd.

The point in the story of Abraham, for Kierkegaard, is not how benevolent God is for giving Isaac's life back nor how faithful Abraham is for passing the Test. Kierkegaard says that " the point is to see how great a thing it was that Abraham did, in order that man may judge for himself whether he has the call and the courage to be subjected to such a test." (Fear and Trembling, p.102). In order to properly relate to the story of Abraham one has to first relate to the angst, anxiety or horror that are embedded in it - the suffering of Abraham.
Kierkegaard concludes "Preliminary Expectoration" by stating that the remainder of "Fear and Trembling" will be devoted to a Dialectical exploration of faith, demonstrating its paradoxical nature. since: "faith begins precisely there where thinking leaves off" (p.103)

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