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Re: Subjectivity, Risk and Uncertainty

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  • Will Brown
    Hi Jim, your question is one of whether I can offer an interpretation of SK s use of the ethico-religious that fits all three of the quotes your offered. Meddy
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 3, 2005
      Hi Jim, your question is one of whether I can offer an interpretation
      of SK's use of the ethico-religious that fits all three of the quotes
      your offered. Meddy insists that I do it so I'll give it a shot. I
      think the clue as to what he was saying lies in the following quote
      (italics mine).

      "Esthetically, the sacred resting place of the upbuilding is outside
      the individual; he seeks that place. In the ethical-religious sphere,
      the individual himself is the place, /if the individual has
      annihilated himself/." (CUP, Hong, Note pp. 560-61: Lowrie, pp. 497-98)

      Kierkegaard, if nothing else, is consistent; speaking, as he is, from
      one idea, it all holds together. Look at the following quote from Cup
      about E/O:

      "If it were to be pointed out clearly in E/O where the discrepancy
      lies, the book would have needed to have a religious instead of an
      ethical orientation…it is in this moment of decision that the
      individual needs divine assistance, although it is quite correct that
      one must first have understood the existence-relation between the
      esthetic and the ethical to be at this point—that is, by being there
      in passion and inwardness, one indeed becomes aware of the
      religious—and of the leap. Furthermore, the definition of truth as
      inwardness, that it is upbuilding, must be explicitly understood
      before it is even religious, to say nothing of being Christianly
      religious." (CUP, Hong, pp. 257-58; Lowrie, pp. 230-31)

      There is an ethical that is self-supporting and there is the ethical
      that has visited self-annihilation. Although SK does not lay out the
      structure between the two, that I have found so far (maybe someone can
      point it out for me), I have a structure that fits (of course, what
      else) that has to do with the assumption of self-transcendence as the
      non-annihilated position. Ok, on to your quotes.
      ==== === == = == === ====
      "The inwardness that is the core of the ethical and ethico-religious
      individual understands suffering [on the other hand] as something
      essential" (CUP, p. 389)

      I added the part you clipped as necessary to my task here. The point
      here, given by the 'on the other hand,' is that there is suffering and
      there is suffering. The following quote lays out that difference:

      "The meaning of religious suffering is dying to immediacy; its
      actuality is its essential continuance, but it belongs to inwardness
      and must not express itself externally (the monastic movement). (CUP,
      Hong, p. 499; Lowrie, p. 446)

      Religious suffering is the death pangs of the esthetic sphere, the
      first immediacy—whether or not that which remains is the transcended
      one or the one who is nothing before God. Here is another quote
      pushing the second meaning of suffering.

      "But the sufferer who sincerely wills the Good, uses this cleverness
      to cut off evasions and hence to launch himself into the commitment
      and to escape the disillusionments of choosing the temporal way. He
      does not fear the mark of the commitment that, as it were, draws the
      suffering over him; for he knows that this mark is the breaking
      through of the eternal. He does not fear the mark of the commitment
      that, as it were, draws the suffering over him; for he knows that this
      mark is the breaking through of the Eternal. He knows that in the
      Commitment the nerve of the temporal order is being cut, even though
      pain continues in the wish. There is no doubt that what often makes a
      sufferer impatient is that he takes upon himself in advance the
      suffering of a whole lifetime and now quails before what would be
      lighter to bear if he were to take each day's burden as it comes."
      (PH, Steere, p. 170)

      Dying to the temporal is the cutting off of the future. The suffering
      without an escape is without hope. It is full blown despair. It is not
      the trials and tribulations of the temporal order. Thus, a disjunction
      may be placed between the esthetic and ethico-religious spheres, where
      the latter therefore includes the ethical sphere.
      ==== === == = == === ====
      "The ethical and the ethico-religious have nothing whatever to do with
      the comparative" (p. 487)

      The comparative is the relative is of the temporal and is not of the
      absolute, or eternal. There is no self-that-is compared to the
      self-that-should-be, whether judged the same or different. Hidden
      inwardness has no category for self-congratulation (and segues to the
      notion of borders between the spheres) :

      "The religiosity of hidden inwardness does not permit the individual
      to regard himself as better than any other human being…" (p. 456)

      Again, a disjunction is placed between the two spheres. This
      understanding is the sign. I see the Zen Buddhist handling that
      difficulty by speaking to a gate that one must go through, yet in
      going though, there was no gate nor anyone going through. Any
      reflection that smells of the transcendental must include the before,
      and since the before is the esthetic sphere, the disjunction is
      negated. Here is a quote that collects around the point:

      "All essential knowing pertains to existence, or only the knowing
      whose relation to existence is essential knowing. Essentially viewed,
      the knowing that does not inwardly in the reflection of inwardness
      pertain to existence is accidental knowing, and its degree and scope,
      essentially viewed are a matter of indifference. That essential
      knowing is essentially related to existence does not, however, signify
      the above-mentioned abstract identity between thinking and being, nor
      does it signify that the knowledge is objectively related to something
      existent [Tilvaerende] as its object, but it means that the knowledge
      is related to the knower, who is essentially an existing person
      [Existerende], and that all essential knowing is therefore essentially
      related to existence and to existing. Therefore, only ethical and
      ethical-religious knowing is essential knowing. But all ethical and
      ethical-religious knowing is essentially a relating to the existing of
      the knower." (CUP, Hong, pp. 197-98; Lowrie, pp. 176-77)
      ==== === == = == === ====
      "Repentance belongs in the ethico-religious sphere, and is hence so
      placed as to have only one higher sphere above it, namely, the
      religious in the strictest sense." (p. 463)

      This one is complicated. Here is my view of the essence of it. Begin
      with the quote on p. 446 of the Lowrie I referenced above and follow
      down the paragraph until he starts talking about the knight of secret
      inwardness (see also p. 456 quote above) . This inwardness has to do
      with the relation of the individual to himself before God. This
      individual cannot exclaim, "I am a knight of inwardness," for then it
      would not be hidden, and part of the inwardness, or within the
      individual, which is the essential category for inwardness. He is
      going to set up a scheme that deals with contradictions due to the
      in's and out's of inwardness, all viewed from a higher plane, as it
      were, concerning the existence spheres; irony between the ethical and
      esthetic and humor between the religious and the ethical. When you get
      to the quote, he is saying that there is no humorous contradiction in
      repentance because repentance spans, or belongs to the two spheres.
      There is an irony however, between repentance and repentance as viewed
      from the ethical. The irony can be spoken to. The religious, having to
      do with the existing individual in inwardness, cannot speak to that
      difference. This subject of not speaking is something SK speaks to
      F&T. Again we can say that there is a disjunction between the esthetic
      and ethico-religious sphere.

      "Ethics, therefore, must also denounce all the jubilation heard in our
      day over having surmounted reflection. Who is it who is supposed to
      have surmounted reflection? An existing person. But existence itself
      is the sphere of reflection, and an existing person is in existence
      and therefore in reflection—how, then, does he go about surmounting
      it? (CUP, Hong, p. 421; Lowrie, p. 377)

      My position regarding that quote? The description of the difference
      between the before and after of a transition can only be made in terms
      of time. The only position to take concerning the description is that
      it has no content. Otherwise, your description of my position is more
      than fair.

      Willy Brown, wearing two caps.

      PS: There you go Meddy; no slying out, so fangs for the memory.

      PPS: Oops, Jim, almost forgot, I'll buy into your suggestion about the
      ethico-religious being Rel. A. It sees to me to be in line SK's
      thoughts, and, according to the quote I found about the need for
      self-annihilation, fits nicely.
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