Unbelievably Irritating

I have been searching for over an hour for a Kierkegaard quote out of one of his diaries, to use for a Hegel-Seminar presentation (one of the things I’ve been working on lately that have been keeping me away from the internet) … and virtually no one who references this quote on the internet cites the whole thing, which totally changes it. They also do not give the exact source… google books is a totally worthless (!) demand-generator for amazon.com. So, I decided that I would repost it here in German if only to contribute to its being more easily found by others in search engines in the future:

“Es ist ganz wahr, was die Philosophie sagt, daß das Leben rückwärts verstanden werden muß. Aber darüber vergißt man den andern Satz, daß vorwärts gelebt werden muß. Welcher Satz, je mehr er durchdacht wird, eben damit endet, daß das Leben in der Zeitlichkeit niemals recht verständlich wird, gerade weil ich in keinem Augenblick völlige Ruhe bekommen kann, um die Stellung einzunehmen: rückwärts” (Kierkegaard, Søren (1949): Die Tagebücher 1834 – 1855. S. 157. München: Verlag Jakob Hegner).


“It is quite true what philosophy says: that Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying: that it must be lived–Forwards. [this is where the typical googled version stops… K. continues] The more one ponders this, the more it comes to mean that life in the temporal existence never becomes quite intelligible precisely because at no moment can I find complete quite to take the backward-looking position” (Kierkegaard, Soren. The Diary. p. 111 § 136. from 1843; Philosophical Library, Inc. New York 1988).

The way he understands this… rather abstractly… reminds me of Epicurus’ quip on fearing death: “Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come we no longer exist” (book X of Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers).

Because we would not apparently survive our own life, for Kierkegard, it can never be understood… I am hesitant here… more to come…


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