la tristesse durera
айм сорри итс ин инглиш, но так написалось и мне лень переводить

Socrates, a greek philosopher from V cent. BC is stil highy praised today as one of the most important figures in the history of philosophy. No wonder Kierkegaard in his writings often turned to Socrates and his methods. But what are those?
Socrates in his dialogues imployed a tactic where he called himself ignorant about the subject the other person claimed to know well and used that ignorance to ask questions about that subject. During the questioning it became clear that the other person was just as ignorant and actually had no idea what he was talking about, making Socrates the wiser one, since he, at least, was able to admit that he was ignorant, while the other person was ignorant even of the fact him being ignorant. Thus the conversation often ended in aporia meaning they did not have any positive outcome, no new knowledge was gained on either side, but the person Socrates was talking to started doubting the ideas that were cultivated to them by religion or traditions. Socrates called this method 'maieutics' or midwifery, meaning that he only helped people to search for the truth inside themselves, not telling them his own truth.
Many philosophers, for example, Hegel, saw this method as not fully complete one as it did not provide any new ideas in exchange for those that were proved to be untrue. They thought Socrates stopped short, when he was supposed to go further and provide the people of Athens with new concepts instead of those proved to be wrong.
Kierkegaard truly begins his studies of Socrates while writing his master thesis, 'The Concept Of Irony' and there he compares his own views on Socrates' methods with the views of famous philosophers of his time. Kierkeegaard agrees with the idea that Socrates' teachings were completely negative, as in not providing any positive ideas, but he did not see that as a flaw. On the contrary, Kierkegaard thought that that was exactly what people need - a push for searching the truth within themselves, a reason to start doubting things they always took for granted. Kierkegaard was himself starting to search for his own truth as it was written in his diaries.
Socrates was talking to people of Athens about fundamental concepts such as love, faith, piety and so on, making them doubt the general view on these matters and for that he was accused and later sentenced to death. Kierkegaard decided that his mission was the same only he had to make to think not people of ancient Athens but people of modern Copenhagen. Just as Socrates, Kierkegaard does not give any positive ideas in his works, he leaves the readers with questions, doubting and contemplating the ideas they never really thought about. One of such ideas was Christianity. Kierkegaard himself was a Christian, but he thought many religious people in his day did not understand Christianity at all. He saw it as a paradox, one that cannot ever be expressed, moreover, explained.
Another tool of Socrates that was widely used by Kierkegaard is irony. Indeed Socrates' claim to be ignorant is seemed by many as ironic. Kierkegaard not only uses irony in his works but also studies it, making his master thesis 'The Concept Of Irony' . Kierkegaard's irony is also a negative tool.
Socrates remained Kierkegaard's mentor for the rest of his life. There's much evidence to the fact that Kierkegaard's fascination with Socrates was not limited by his years as a student but became a beacon for all his life. Throughout all his work one can find mentions of Socrates, be it a direct reference or a paraphrase such as 'Greek wise old man', his purpose, he said, was to be the gadfly of Copenhagen, just as Socrates was the gadfly of Athens, he even refers to Socrates while discussing the matter of Christianity notwithstanding the fact that Socrates was a pagan. And, to my mind, Kierkegaard succeeded in being Socrates' follower for XIX cent. Denmark. Only the fact that people started doubting the trueness and sincerity of the teachings of Danish clergy tells us he was able to create the state of doubt from which the search for truth begins.

Why are those ideas important for us today? Sure, Kierkegaard appropriated Socrates' teaching for his own time, but that was almost 200 years ago. The world has drastically changed just as people who live in it.
Kierkegaard's view on search for truth highlights the importance of every single person on their own. It is not relativism, but he is telling his readers to search for their own truth in all aspects of life. In our modern life when it is so easy to lose your own way in the flood of information, Kierkegaard's works remind us to look inside ourselves, to try to come to conclusion about values in our lives by ourselves, not to blindly follow what newspapers, politicians and other sources tell us.
As for myself, one of the most important things I learned from Kierkegaard is that 'living poetically' is not always a good thing. Nowadays it is so easy to build an image of oneself, that many people use that opportunity to construct the image they want others to see. The problem is, there's a big difference between 'appearing' and 'being'. It is one thing to want to dive into any subject because that subject genuinely interests you, it is completely another thing to want to do so just to boast in front of other people, to seem as if you're an expert. Here we may again think of Socrates: how he, in his dialogues, showed that people don't really know the things they claim to know all about.
It is also very important to remember that faith may only come from inside a person. We have many examples of the same corruption of religious institutes similar to those Kierkegaard witnessed, and thus many people insist that the whole concept of religion is useless. But the problem lies not within religion itself but within the appropriation of it, which is usually used for one's own interests. Many crimes, hateful and offensive statements people try to justify with their faith, which, according to Kierkegaard, is a major misunderstanding of what being a Christian really means. I am not a religious person myself, still I wholly agree with him, since I am not religious for that very reason - I am not sure I have exactly what it takes to trully fulfill the meaning of having faith.

In conclusion, I'd like emphasyse once again how important Kierkegaard's ideas of searching for truth within oneself ar today. We can see many people giving in to propaganda, hateful agenda, accepting others' ideas without fully realizing what they really mean. Reading some of his works and trying to appropriate his ideas for themselves would do many people great good.

@темы: text