la tristesse durera
«I have, I believe, the courage to doubt everything; I have, I believe, the courage to fight against everything; but I do not have the courage to acknowledge anything, the courage to possess, to own, anything»

«Ask me what you wish; just do not ask me for reasons. A young girl is excused for not being able to state reasons; she lives in feelings, it is said. It is different with me. Ordinarily I have so many and most often such mutually contradictory reasons that for this reason it is impossible for me to state reasons. »

«I feel best in the evening the moment I put out the light an pull the feather-bed over my head. I sit up once more, look around the room with indescribable satisfaction, and then good night, down under the feather-bed. »

«How empty and meaningless life is. -We bury a man; we accompany him to the grave, throw three spadefuls of earth on him; we ride out in a carriage, ride home in a carriage; we find consolation in the thought that we have a long life ahead of us. But how long is seven times ten years? Why not settle it all at once, why not stay out there and go along down into the graveand draw lots to see to whom will befall the misfortune of being the last of the living who throws the last three spadefuls of earth on the last of the dead? »

«What is it that binds me? From what was the chain formed that bound the Fenris wolf?88 It was made of the noise of cats' paws walking on the ground, of the beards of women, of the roots of cliffs, of the grass of bears, of the breath of fish, and of the spittle of birds. I, too, am bound in the same way by a chain formed of gloomy fancies, of alarming dreams, of troubled thoughts, of fearful presentiments, of inexplicable anxieties. This chain is "very flexible, soft as silk, yields to the most powerful strain, and cannot be torn apart. »

«To a knowledge of the truth, I perhaps have come; to salvation, surely not. What shall I do? Be active in the world, people say. Should I then communicate my sorrow to the world, make one more contribution to prove how pitiable and wretched everything is, perhaps discover a new, hitherto undetected stain [ Plet] in human life? I could then reap the rare reward of becoming famous, just like the man who discovered the spots [Pletter] onJupiter. I still prefer to remain silent. »

«How dreadful boredom is-how dreadfully boring; I know no stronger expression, no truer one, for like is recognized only by like. Would that there were a loftier, stronger expression, for then there would still be one movement. I lie prostrate, inert; the only thing I see is emptiness, the only
thing I live on is emptiness, the only thing I move in is emptiness. I do not even suffer pain. The vulture pecked continually at Prometheus's liver; the poison dripped down continually on Loki; it was at least an interruption, even though
monotonous. Pain itself has lost its refreshment for me. If I were offered all the glories of the world or all the torments of the world, one would move me no more than the other; I would not turn over to the other side either to attain or to avoid. I am dying death. And what could divert me? Well, if I managed to see a faithfulness that withstood every ordeal , an enthusiasm that endured everything, a faith that moved mountains; if l were to become aware of an idea that joined the finite and the infinite. But my soul's poisonous doubt consumes everything. My soul is like the Dead Sea, over which no bird is able to fly; when it has come midway, it sinks down, exhausted, to death and destruction. »

— S. Kierkegaard «Either/Or»

«If the one who is to act wants to judge himself by the result, he will never begin. Although the result may give joy to the entire world, it cannot help the hero, for he would not know the result until the whole thing was over, and he would not become a hero by that but by making a beginning. »

«I require every person not to think so inhumanly of himself that he does not dare to enter those palaces where the memory of the chosen ones lives or even those where they themselves live. He is not to enter rudely and foist his affinity upon them. He is to be happy for every time he bows before them, but he is to be confident, free of spirit, and always more than a charwoman, for if he wants to be no more than that, he will never get in. And the very thing that is going to help him is the anxiety and distress in which the great were tried, for otherwise, if he has any backbone, they will only arouse his righteous envy. And anything that can be great only at a distance, that someone wants to make great with empty and hollow phrases-is destroyed by that very person. »

— S. Kierkegaard «Fear and Trembling»

«So there I sat and smoked my cigar until I drifted into thought. Among other thoughts, I recall these. You are getting on in years, I said to myself, and are becoming an old man without being anything and without actually undertaking anything. On the other hand, wherever you look in literature or in life, you see the names and figures of celebrities, the prized and highly acclaimed people, prominent or much discussed, the many benefactors of the age who know how to benefit humankind by making life easier and easier, some by railroads, others by omnibuses and steamships, others by telegraph, others by easily understood surveys and brief publications about everything worth knowing, and finally the true benefactors of the age who by virtue of thought systematically make spiritual existence easier and easier and yet more and more meaningful-and what are you doing? »

« It is, however, thecase, and all the analogies will confirm the correctness of the statement: the less externality, the more inwardness, if it is truly there; but it is also the case that the less externality, the greater the possibility that the inwardness will entirely fail to come. »

— S. Kierkegaard «Concluding Unscientific Postscript»

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