An individual human being cannot be thought

The individual human being lies beneath the concept; an individual human being cannot be thought, but only the concept, ‘man’

What does this statement have to do with sin? What does it have to do with Christianity?

What is the difference between general and specific? It seems to me that to understand the specific seems much easier than understanding the general. However, in this case Kierkegaard seems to be implying the opposite of that. We cannot know the specific because it is not describable. But we can make guesses about the general because there is room for approximation and error. From what I have understood we cannot know ourselves as individuals, in fact we have to really work to even become individuals and not part of the mass. Therefor we must generalize like approximating a line on a scatter point graph. In this way we can create a contradiction which takes us so far way from ourselves that we are able to maybe get closer to god. This contradiction is that we are individuals but we can only think of ourselves as part of ‘man’. This is because, I think, to become an individual we must receive the condition from god. When we simply see ourselves as ‘man’ we are in sin, because we do not have faith. And it is a kind of sin that is continuous. This is what Christianity does not understand. Christianity would like to think of sin as being redeemable, but it is not. Having sin is being in a state of sin that does not change until one receives the condition.

I think that be seeing myself not as an individual but as a member of ‘man’ I am less proud. This makes me see myself in connection with others and I feel in a way more relaxed. I think this is not what Kierkegaard wants, I should feel in despair and struggle to save myself. But the obligation to receive the condition, to be in despair to struggle is one of individual making. My way of searching of struggling to be an individual human being is not the same as any other. I am confused as to why he wants to make generalizations about how ones goes about their subjective path of individual thinking. All I can think is that he hopes by stating the opposite of his point we will in turn realize the true point- reverse psychology. As he says, two things held up next to each other make the opposites appear more intensely.

Kierkegaard, S. (2013). Kierkegaard’s Writings, XIX: Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening. (H. V. Hong & E. H. Hong, Eds.). Princeton University Press.

Categories: Writing

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