The Aardvark Advisory (Preface)
- To whom it may concern. I have finished cobbling together a paper that
goes to defining what I see as a bright line difference that separates
two absolutely different ways of interpreting SK. When I post it, it
will be in two parts, necessitated by the length it acquired in the
I am adding this preface as a general expression of the form that
bright line difference settled into as representing itself. The
conclusion I reached will be placed up front so as to spare you, dear
reader, from the task of plowing through my very lengthy creation of
the form to access its conclusion.
However, anyone who is either curious as to how I reached my
conclusion, or wish to argue against it, the record will be available.
If what I say here does not make sense, don't hassle it; my view of
what SK was going on about is off the wall compared to the usual
reading of his works. If you like to play handball, by all means, ask
questions; the wall will be SK's words and the ball will transform
itself as it bounces off that wall. However, I must warn you; the
perfectly round ball you hit will more than likely come back to you in
an absolutely different shape. ----willy
"In the world of spirit, the different stages are not like cities on a
journey, about which it is quite all right for the traveler to say
directly, for example: We left Peking and came to Canton and were in
Canton on the fourteenth. A traveler like that changes place, not
himself: and thus it is all right for him to mention and to /recount/
the change in a direct, unchanged form. But in the world of spirit to
change place is to be changed oneself, and therefore all direct
assurance of having arrived here and there is an attempt à la
Münchhausen." (CUP, Hong, p. 281; Lowrie, p. 250)
There is, in Kierkegaard, the suggestion of a passageway between the
aesthetic sphere and the religious sphere that /must/ be passed
through to get from the former to the latter. This "between sphere" is
called the ethical sphere. There is, in Kierkegaard, talk of a
transition from the aesthetic sphere to the ethical sphere.
There are two absolutely different ways to view that transition; the
first as if the movement were from one location to another and the
second as if the movement were from one state of existence to another;
the former considers the movement as representing a continuity, while
the latter considers the movement as representing a disjunction.
There are two absolutely different ways to describe the latter, in
terms of the aesthetic, that is, in before-the-transition terms, or in
terms of the ethical, that is, in after-the-transition terms. This
difference is where the bright line difference I am speaking to
appears. Let me expand a bit upon that appearance.
Let the subject of the transition be subjectivity, as qualified by a
term Kierkegaard uses he calls inwardness. Since there is, as given,
an operative disjunction between the aesthetic and ethical spheres,
the difference between the subjectivity of the two must be described.
If that difference is cast in before-the-transition terms, the
difference cannot be separated from the transition representing
continuity other than by declaring the transition as having "really"
been made. The difference will be cast in terms of really having been
appropriated, as really being a passionate choice, as having been a
real decision. This difference may be passionately placed in abstract
poetic terms, as the person really choosing themselves but the
description cannot go beyond that; the disjunction being cast in
pre-disjunction terms means that what "really" really means is
If that disjunction is cast in after-the-transition terms, the
before-the-transition terms must be of the same order, which is to say
that the definition of the ethical is controlling of the definition of
the aesthetic. The difference between the two is then described in
terms that looks back across the disjunction, as opposed to terms that
looks forward to the disjunction. This requires that the disjunction
itself be written into the after-the-disjunction terms.
This then is the bright line difference; it is whether the
after-the-transition terms are cast in before-the-transition terms or
the before-the-transition terms are cast in after-the-transition
terms. In the former, the disjunction is outside the terms, while in
the latter, the disjunction is in the terms. That difference is
absolute for the transition itself is absolute. In other words, the
bright line difference lies in whether or not the words themselves
appropriate that difference.
William Immiscible Brown, Esq.