Subject Philosophy General Philosophy

Question

Part I

4. “The only thing which consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and yet this is the greatest of our miseries. For it is this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves, and which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this, we should be in a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us to seek a more solid means of escaping from it. But diversion amuses us, and leads us unconsciously to death.”

And this one; from Kierkegaard:
The knight of faith is assigned solely to himself; he feels the pain of being unable to make himself understandable to others, but he has no vain desire to instruct others. The pain is his assurance; vain desire he does not know—for that his soul is too earnest . . . The true knight of faith is a witness, never the teacher, and therein lies the profound humanity . . . He who desires only to be a witness confesses thereby that no man, not even the most unimportant man, needs another’s participation or is to be devalued by it in order to raise another’s value.”

Part II
Discuss the three kinds of despair described in Sickness unto Death. Do you find this characterization convincing? Why, or why not? Give reasons for your argument.

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On Pascal

.... Pascal’s diagnosis of diversion... Instead of really taking stock of the here and now, and finding meaning in what is presented to me, diversion has the nasty habit of merely allowing me to skim the surface. However, Pascal is right. Who among us can be philosophers even in our off time? It is wearisome and we want and crave diversion because “it amuses us.” So ultimately, even though diversion is a double-edged sword, we tend to find its delight more bearable because we rather deal with the superficial than delving into the more profound meatier aspects of living. So what to make of Pascal’s conclusion? Diversion is a human condition that follows us to our deaths....

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