HOME     Library     CONTENTS: Journals & Papers of Søren Kierkegaard
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VI A   -   VI B   -   VI C




To the typesetter:

The entire work is to be printed in large format, like that of Erslew's Lexicon. Medium-sized type the size of that in the lexicon is to be used. The other prefaces found in the work are to be set in brevier. The preface to the entire book [is to be set in type] larger than that of the text.

January 1845


Logical Problems

No. 1.       What is a category. What does it mean to say that being is a category.

Is it an abbreviatur which world history gradually deposits.

No. 2       On the historical significance of the category.

No. 3       How does a new quality appear through a continued quantitative increase.

No. 4       On the leap.

No. 5       On the difference between a dialectical and a passion-filled transition.

No. 7       [changed from: 6] Conclusion — Enthymeme — resolution a trilogy.

No. 6.       All historical knowledge is only approximation.

No. 8.       What is existence?


The Truth of Christianity as an Objective Issue
(a) The Historical Point of View
The Bible
The Church
(b) The Speculative Point of View


The Subjective Issue
An Expression of Gratitude to Lessing


The Subjective Issue
An Expression of Gratitude to Lessing
Madvig is somewhat like him.
(His whole style. That he ventured to say: I.)

Whether the Approximation of Probability (just as great for the contemporary and the latest) can be of interest (1) in order to gain faith — or (2) when one has faith.
No! (1) Illusion. — (2) Spiritual trial unto relapse.

In order to dispel the illusion which has gained a foothold during eighteen centuries, the piece made it all contemporary with the appearance of the god and maintained the distinction between the contemporaries and the last disciple.


Addition to previous:

    • Objectivity stresses:     the one spoken to, for example, to God, to pray means to speak to God.
    • Subjectivity stresses:     what is said; one does not stand and talk with one of the other cellar-merchants even though God's name is spoken.
    • Objectivity stresses:     what is said; the summary of thought-determinants.
    • Subjectivity stresses:     *how it is said; infinite passion is crucial, not its content, for its content is in fact itself.

* This is also dialectical with respect to time, the pure repetition which is just as difficult as the first appropriation. This is because man is a synthesis of the temporal and of the eternal, every moment out upon "70,000 fathoms."

In the moment of decision it appears as if the decision were in the present moment, and with that it changes into a striving. For example prayer — it was quite right once to sink into God and then remain there, but since man is a finite being, to pray means continual striving to achieve the true inwardness of prayer.


No wonder that it can be taken for granted that we are all Christians. I recall an incident from my own experience. Once in my youth I was in a group where the young people suddenly had a gay notion of wanting to dance. Music was produced and everything was unusually lively and gay. Unfortunately, I cannot dance, and therefore I withdrew. A young lady came into the room where I was in the company of an elderly gentleman and obviously wanted to embarrass me. She invited me to dance — and I had to say that I could not dance. And yet to be able to dance is an accomplishment, but to be a Christian is something so easy, so completely gratuitous, that it must be frightfully disgraceful to admit that one is not a Christian when everybody else is — ergo, we are all Christians.



In his idea-relationship to truth, Lessing is just as negative as he is positive, equally as much, has just as much of the comic as he has pathos, equally much, and in his idea-relationship is always in a state of becoming — that is, striving.


[Nothing historical can become infinitely certain to me, except that I] exist [er til], which is not something historical, because as one who knows himself in relation to God I am more than historical, I am eternal; or the illusory result.


The subjective existing thinker who has the categories of infinitude in his soul has them always, and therefore his form is continually negative. Suppose such a person devoted his whole life to writing one single book, suppose he published it, suppose he assumed there was a reader — he would then express his relationship to a reader negatively and without qualification; whereas a positive assistant professor who scribbles a book in fourteen days blissfully and positively addresses himself to the whole human race. That negative thinker, on the other hand, could never achieve any kind of direct relationship to his reader. He therefore would probably say: I can just as well recommend the reading of this book as advise against it, because, bluntly speaking, there is no direct gain from reading and no direct loss from not having read it.*

The subjectively existing thinker is therefore just as negative as he is positive. Among the negative ones there are a few. .....

*Note. For the sake of caution I must beg everyone not to be bothered about what he reads here. It is written for idle people; yes, the serious reader will easily perceive that it is a joke to tease Lessing.


This is what Socrates develops in the Symposium. In his dissertation, Magister Kierkegaard was alert enough to discern the Socratic but is considered not to have understood it, probably because, wth the help of Hegelian philosophy, he has become super-clever and objective and positive, or has not had the courage to acknowledge the negation. Finitely understood, of course, the continued and the perpetually continued striving toward a goal without attaining it means rejection, but, infinitely understood, striving is life itself and is essentially the life of that which is composed of the infinite and the finite. An imaginary positive accomplishment is a chimera. It may well be that logic has it, although before this can be regarded as true, it needs to be more precisely explained than has been done up to now, but the subject is an existing [existerende] subject, consequently is in contradiction, consequently is in the process of becoming, consequently is, if he is, in the process of striving.


..... that, like the Wandering Jew in a beautiful legend, I should lead the pilgrims to the promised land and not enter myself, that I should guide men to the truth of Christianity and that as my punishment for going astray in my younger days I myself would not enter in but would venture only to be an omen of an incomparable future.....


A story of suffering; suffering is the religious category.

In Stages the esthete is no longer a clever fellow frequenting B's living room — a hopeful man, etc., because he still is only a possibility; no, he is existing [existerer].

"It is exactly the same as Either/Or."

Constantin Constantius and the Young Man placed together in Quidam of the experiment. (Humor advanced.)

as a point of departure for the beginning of the religious.—
just as the tragic hero was used to bring out faith.

Three Stages and yet one Either/Or


Evening's leave-taking (from the day and from the one who has experienced the day) is puzzling [changed from: has a remarkable ambiguity]; its reminder is like the careful mother's instruction to the child to go home, and its invitation is like an inexplicable hint, as if now for the first time the true life was beginning. Man is blended in approximately the same way — finitude is like the child for whom it is expedient to come home early; infinitude is like the adult who wants to stay out at night — and the evening's leave-taking is puzzling. Sometimes one would like to interpret it as an invitation persuasively insinuated by the night wind as it monotonously repeats itself and searches the forest and fields as if looking for something, persuasively insinuated by the far echo of stillness in oneself (as if he had a presentiment of something), persuasively insinuated by the sublime tranquillity of heaven (as if it were found) and by the audible silence of the dew, which is evidence of this, and the refreshment of infinitude, the fruitful visit of the quiet night concealed in the lifting fog.

In margin: As if one first found rest by remaining out for a nocturnal rendezvous, not with a woman but, womanlike, with the infinite.


Very likely what our age needs most to illuminate the relationship between logic and ontology is an examination of the concepts: possibility, actuality, and necessity. It is hoped, meanwhile, that the person who would do something along this line would be influenced by the Greeks. The Greek sobriety is seldom found in philosophers of our day, and exceptional ingenuity is only a mediocre substitute. Good comments are to be found in Trendlenburg's Logische Untersuchungen; but Trendlenburg was also shaped by the Greeks.


Logical Problems
Johannes Climacus
S. Kierkegaard


Concluding Simple Postscript
(Detailed yet superfluous Postscript)
Philosophical Fragments
Johannes Climacus

        S. Kierkegaard
Copenhagen 1845
Available at Reitzel's


Six Discourses on Imagined Occasions
S. Kierkegaard


That one makes the movement of infinite reflection and then suddenly ends up with categories that speak of the endearing goodness which does not know how good it is itself, the purity which is ignorant of sin. (The first of which is within the category of immediacy; the second is pure nonsense.)


  1. Subject of the Address
  2. The Listener
  3. The Speaker



This was laid aside for the present. Would get to be too discursive to serve as a kind of introduction to my fragmentary discourses. Must be worked out separately and deal essentially with religious address.


  1. Logical Problems
    Johannes Climacus.
    First a preface about Philosophical Fragments.
  2. Something about the Art of Religious Address
    With Some Reference to Aristotle's Rhetoric
    Johannes de Silentio
    with the motto from Aristotle's Rhetoric, II,
    chapter 23 (in the little translation,
    p. 197), about a priestess who forbade her
    son to become a public speaker.
  3. God's Judgment
    A Story of Suffering
    Psychological Experiment
  4. Writing Sampler
    Apprentice Test Pieces
Apprentice Author


A Request to The Corsair

Sing sang resches Tubalcain — which translated means: Cruel and bloodthirsty Corsair, high and mightly Sultan, you who hold the lives of men like a plaything in your mighty hand and as a whim in the fury of your invective, O, let me move you to compassion, curtail these sufferings — slay me, but do not make me immortal! High and mighty Sultan, in your quick wisdom consider what it would not take long for the paltriest of all those you have slain to see, consider what it means to become immortal and particularly to become that through the testimonial of The Corsair. O, what cruel grace and mercy to be forever pointed to as an inhuman monster because The Corsair inhumanly had spared him! But above all not this — that I shall never die! Uh, such a death penalty is unheard of.* I get weary of life just to read it. What a cruel honor and distinction to have no one be moved by my womanly wailing: This will kill me, this will be the death of me — but everybody laughs and says: He cannot die. O, let me move you to compassion; stop your lofty, cruel mercy; slay me like all the others.

Victor Eremita

(Here perhaps could be added the words at the end of the postscript to Either/Or, which are in the tall cupboard closest to the window.)

* Slay me so I may live with all the others you have slain, but do not slay me by making me immortal.


Addition to previous:

Have no fear — why spare me, I have no wife to sigh for me, perhaps to grieve ...... over the husband you slay, no beloved to feel the drubbing more devastatingly, no children whose tenderness makes the blow heavier for them than for the father — I have no legitimately acquired distinction in society that can be temporarily embittering to see wasted, I have no famous family name so that an entire family will suffer by the attack upon one single member — spare instead everyone who has anyone who perhaps cannot help but feel violated even though te one who is wounded disdains the attack. .....


Writing Sampler

Apprentice Test Pieces
Willibald, Alexander, Alexius, Theodor,
Holger Rosenpind or Rosenblad
Prospective Author
Apprentice Author

Additions to previous:

No. 1
Speculative-heralding Style

No. 2
Historical-prophetic Style
of a Seer and Bard

No. 3
Memoir Style . . .


An experiment in highly polished, elegant writing, an opus turned out solely as a New Year's gift:

On the Migration of Birds
with tables and sketches

That our age is an age of mental depression, there is no doubt and no question; the only question is what can be done about it and what the age demands in this respect, for the age is a fashionable patient who is not given orders but is asked what he wants. In this case it seems inadvisable to prescribe what physicians usually prescribe for depression, that is, activity, because it most likely has motion enough, one would think, since it is an age of ferment. As a matter of fact, the depression is the very result of the unrest and fermentation, which will end in yeasty bloating, for sick it is, even though some think it is too hale and hearty. As a rule horseback riding is the activity prescribed, but since our age is in fact a personification and not an actual person, it would be impossible to get it up onto an actual horse. But riding a hobby-horse is no activity at all, as we learn from the experience of all ages, since every age does have its own hobby-horse.

Because of this need I venture to suggest a closer relationship to nature as a provisional analgesic until we see what comes of this ferment.*

* convinced that this is what the age demands.

For what is as recreating as watching migratory birds: this apparent lack of any laws and yet a perfect law. Even watching the stars and their measured course across the sky must, especially in this connection, be acknowledged as a significant remedy for the depression of our age. But this is only the classical and lacks the romantic.

Here Faber's book on our migratory birds is to be used.


A Program of Innocent and Inexpensive Diversions
A result of many years of experience

I get up in the morning — look out of the window to see if the weather is fine or just the sort of weather I happen to want. If such is the case,* I express my supreme approval with a nod and a gracious smile. As a matter of fact, my principal diversion is assuming that everything revolves around me and that the whole world exists for my sake alone. This diversion is both very amusing and exceedingly innocent, for of course I do not ask that it produces results for any other man; on the contrary, like everyone else, I am swindled by the merchants etc. A child can quarrel with another child about a horse trotting by, even come to blows, by saying: That belongs to me, and the other says: No, it belongs to me.

* If this is not the case, I divert myself thinking about what kind of weather I would rather have had and what I would have done if it had turned out that way.

Addition to previous:

In the morning I go right away to the market place and find out the market prices — the servant girls — Knippelsbro.

The special point about my diversions is that they are varied. Here are two principal variations. I regard the whole city of Copenhagen as a great social function. But on one day I view myself as the host who walks around conversing with all the many cherished guests I have invited; then the next day I assume that a great man has given the party and I am a guest. Accordingly, I dress differently, greet people differently, etc. I am sure those who know me have frequently observed that my manner may be somewhat different, but they probably do not dream that this is the reason. — If an elegant carriage goes by with four horses engaged for the day, I assume that I am the host, give a friendly greeting, and pretend it is I who has lent them this lovely carriage.

I also vary my diversions by sometimes regarding Copenhagen as a large city and sometimes as a little one.


For: My Innocent Diversions
in "Writing Sampler"

Sometimes I turn away from men completely and take a fancy to the clouds; this is an innocent and very legitimate infatuation, especially if one is careful to go to solitary places where one does not encounter anyone and is painfully reminded that one lives among men.


For the piece on "My Innocent Diversions"

The Battle between the Crows and the Sea Gulls
on the Commons

The Diversion of Fighting with the Wind

For this I have a big umbrella with a strong frame. I go out to one of the most gusty spots, open the umbrella, and hold it in front of me against the wind, just as in a bayonet skirmish against the cavalry. The grips are as follows: the one hand grasps the handle, the thumb of the other hand is on the release button above so I can trick the wind if it gets too powerful by closing the umbrella. — Now we close it.

This diversion is also a very beneficial motion because one must make the most curious leap.


For "Writing Sampler"
Something about the night watchman's song
or about night watchmen as
untaught singers

The various circumstances are to be examined.


For "Writing Sampler"

What is not used about Grundtvig in "Concluding Postscript" can be used here, somewhat reworked. The title will be "The Danish Pantheon: Portrait of Pastor Grundtvig.


A Surprising, Surprising Surprise

The King of [Prussia] has come — it is absolutely certain. We have our information from a maid servant who saw him and recognized him and from a man who was so close to him that he could have spoken with him if His Majesty had been prepared with what he should say on such an opportunity and occasion. But on festive occasions, just as in public defense of doctoral dissertations, one is prepared with only a limited number of answers and courtesy phrases.*

* In margin: Our reporter explains that he did not get the honor of talking personally with His Majesty or of showing him about the town, which no one knows as well as he does.

The whole event has something so oddly surprising about it that the editorial office staff must be excused for not having spies out and ministry-reports to submit to its public. But it is certain that he has come, and since he has been seen and recognized, as far as facts are concerned it makes no difference by whom he is seen and recognized — our witnesses are not to be scorned.

The maid servant is an unusually clever chambermaid with unusually good and unusually numerous recommendations from the many places where she has worked (there has been such a demand for her). She has been engaged seven times but has been very prudent about it and with none of the beloveds ever let things reach the point of ultimate protestations; she came out of it all right — a little innocent jest, and then the gifts. She is really clever. When she is supposed to do errands in the city, she does not slouch and drag along as the other maid servants do — no, she runs like the wind — but not to get home early — she just wants to make sure of the time she has at her own disposal. Thus she assumes that an ordinary Wednesday or Saturday expedition to the market takes, as a rule, two to two and a half hours. The days when there is so much traffic, as on Vimmelskaftet and Amagertorv, that a trading ship must ride at anchor more frequently, she runs through the secondary streets and counts on having exactly two hours in which to visit someone or other. This morning she was sent out to the custom house with her master's lunch — he is a customs officer. What happens? Well, she described it, but the one who saw her excitement when she told it ..... she recognized the King immediately. He was a young man in a white uniform; she saw him quite clearly, so clearly that she is convinced that he also saw her, of which she is not a little proud. It amazed her no end that our King walked over and embraced someone else, but a servant girl standing there, who also took the man in white to be none other than the King, explained that it must be a foreign custom, a strange way of showing courtesy, that the Chief Marshal or someone like that should represent the King so that the King himself could stand calmly as an onlooker and see how much was made of the King.

Ceremonies were hurriedly outlined (we go on with the story) for the three days the King would be Denmark's guest — but only the ceremonies for the first day are decided; we state it here and admire the wisdom of not deciding things too long in advance when one is dependent on wind and weather. Immediately after disembarking considerable changing of clothes — that is, undressing — and then to bed to sleep. This entertainment is planned to last twelve hours. Curious! Anyone who has read anything about ceremonies certainly must marvel because they are always planned as if royalty and the highest royalty did not need to sleep. It is the same with little people. Mr. and Mrs. Burmann's ceremony for a Sunday in Dyrehaven is an excellent [example]: they ride out, eat lunch, eat dinner, spend the whole day in the bosom of the family and of nature — but no one has given any thought to sleep — and therefore Malle and Klister must seek solitude.

The entertainment lasts twelve hours. At eight o'clock in the evening they get up, renewed and refreshed, completely new and different people. But the visit is not an official one, nor is it purely personal, but a mixture of the two. The ceremony has focused on this and is specifically arranged in painterly tableaus. So they get up. For a quarter of an hour, after a signal from the Chief Marshal, the two kings walk back and forth arm in arm and affectionately pat each other many times; this diversion lasts a quarter of an hour. Then they sit down at a great green table, for now the negotiating begins. This is the reason the Chief Marshal thought it best to provide and implement a familiar tableau. When Napolean and Talleyrand had worked together for many days and nights, they both fell asleep. The first part of this was not painterly and cannot be depicted, only the last part. They both fell asleep, and the ceremony, which also is the program, explains that it is after many days and nights of strenuous effort. Therefore a man-in-waiting goes in and calls the King, just as in that tableau. They get up.

Since the King of ——— is supposed to have the intention of learning to know the Danish state, and since, in reliance on his military power, he fears only the intelligence of this country, he especially wishes to get to know this. This has been prepared for. All the male and female teachers of German have been gathered together hastily, and these are grouped in such a way that they are enough for the whole nation which is to be presented to the foreign monarch.[*

* In margin: And in order to guarantee his observations, he wishes to see them by night, has them summoned in order that they should not have time to prepare themselves.

As if at random, our King, while walking arm in arm with the foreign King down the row, as if at random addresses one of his subjects and now another — and loo,, to the foreign monarch's amazement they all answer in German. They permit him to remain ignorant of the fact that they are language teachers, and our King does not get too involved with any of them for fear that one of the language teachers might betray that he was only a phrase-book and not a man. Our queen, too, in passing, occasionally drops a word now to one, now to another of the women; it appears to be quite at random and yet she always chances upon a language teacher, and the foreign monarch is more surprised than ever. But it is Nathanson,* the wholesaler, who attracts the foreign King's particular attention. He has offered his services as one who speaks perfect German and who is also expert in politics. He is also supposed to have proposed that during the time the foreign King was here he might publish the Berlingske Tidende in German, but this was refused since it was assumed that the numerous diversions would leave no time for any of the monarchs to read this paper.

* Everything is built around him; a nation fortunate enough to have such a man must also show him off. Our King holds forth with him much longer, discusses Denmark's prosperity, and gives him the chance also to shine in mental arithmetic. In addition, the wholesale grocer is relied upon to use the utmost discretion in satisfying the royal visitors. The intention is to get the foreign monarch himself to enter into discussion with Nathanson, and behold, he can answer much faster than he is asked, and that is why he is given a medal which he wears around his waist — it is so heavy that it cannot be carried any other way.


The Scandinavian Idea

Wherever there are good people they are joined by good people. The King of P. is here, and now the Scandinavian Brothers arrive, I do not mean those greeted with catcalls but those greeted with applause.

At this point we should take the examle of Sallust's story of the three brothers who had themselves buried alive in order to decide boundary disputes: in like manner they express this symbolically by three of them getting drunk.

Hans Povelsen, a graduate student, is the central figure here. His motto is: Now or Never. It is two weeks now since he first let his sweetheart listen critically to the speech he intends to give, but he is not satisfied with it and with her assurance that he does it very well, and now he goes around with a copy which he hands to passersby with the request that they stop and listen to him. The author of this article was fortunate enough to listen to him at a gateway to Vimmelskaftet and must testify to the fact that Mr. P. knows his job very well; his gestures perhaps could be somewhat more expert, but his voice and facial expressions were evidence of an unmistakable effort, which may in fact go on three or four days yet, unless the Swedes do not show up at all, and in that case it can go on longer — if his strength holds out. But this is the trouble. For fourteen days and nights he has not closed his eyes, and the resulting exhaustion is evident in his alarming absent-mindedness. If the Swedes actually do arrive and P. actually does get to give his speech, there is no doubt that a union will result. The danger is from another direction. There is supposed to have been a pastor so absentminded that he married two completely strange and incompatible people. There was nothing to object to in the act itself. The wedding discourse was unusually fine; the speaker inspired the two to be joined together uncommonly well — the trouble was simply that they were wrong for each other. There were many unpleasant consequences involved in getting separated. Thus it is not to be feared that Mr. Povelsen is likely to forget his talk on that day (although that has already happened many times in the daily practice), but that he will unite us Danes, perhaps not with the Swedes, but with another race — and after having been so fervently united it will be difficult to be separated.

The ceremony at this festivity is designed to be especially meaningful — as Povelsen says: Now or Never. First of all 500 Swedish students will be placed vis-à-vis 500 Danish students, and they will gaze romantically at each other and then soulfully. This entertainment will last a quarter of an hour.

The ceremony is planned for just one day, since in these three days the spirit will be so active that, as the prophet declares, your maidens and young men will have visions; thus one always must be prepared for a sudden marvelous proposal which then would be put into action.

In St. Peter's Church in Rome four sermons are preached in four places at the same time; in the same way it has been resolved that four speeches should be delivered here at the same time, but since there are not as many orchestras as speakers, they must be satisfied with a common fanfare. A list of the different songs and speeches is laid at each place-setting like a menu, so each one may choose.

(The young people's gaiety in the words has an amusing side — which has a value of its own — but not the Ale-Norse.)

In conclusion, an apotheosis.

Grundtvig appears on an elevation in the forest background, supported by Barfod and Povelsen. He is artistically draped in a great cloak, has a staff in his hand, and his face is concealed by a mask with one eye (deep and profound, so as to see into world history) and a mossy beard with birds' nests in it (he is very old — about 1,000 years); he has a hollow voice melodrammatically accompanied by a few blasts on a conch (as at a town meeting); he speaks in dithyrambic rhythm. When he has finished his speech (that is, when the committee in charge of the festivities says "Enough", for otherwise he would never finish), a bell rings, a cord is pulled, the beard falls off, followed by the enormous cloak, and we see a slim young man with wings: it is Grundtvig as the spirit of the Scandinavian idea, he says: Ladies and Gentlemen.*

* This is what I have been prophesying for half a century now. Shoemaker Mathiesen can testify that I said it to him one Sunday afternoon forty-five years ago when we met in the barber shop of district barber Biberak, now deceased. What I have suffered for the sake of this idea, how often I have been close to despair for old Denmark, how many tears it has cost me — this only shoemaker Mathiesen knows, he who first accepted my teaching, and that is why he shall also be my successor in the tyranny.

— This was on a Sunday. Strangely enough, Bishop Mynster preached that same Sunday. There was not a soul in church; nevertheless, just as the great congregation had inspired him to give a glorious sermon, so too the empty church inspired him. When he was through, he gazed in front of him in silence, and if there is a transfiguration when the dead go behind the curtain, then he was transfigured in the same way — and like one who is dead.




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