Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"isn't it true here too that those whom God blesses he damns in the same breath?"

Kierkegaard wants to speak about Abraham with the utmost respect. He loves the way in which Abraham himself loved and does not wish to speak about him as if he were a murderer, but instead as a man of immense faith. With this he talks about the amount of impossibility within his actions, how incredibly difficult it really is to follow through with such a task. Although, Kierkegaard is able to understand what is going on and what faith tells him he should do, in the end he says once thrown into the water he would not be able to swim (as many of us wouldn't). Kierkegaard admits that he would never be able to have followed through with the task as was asked of Abraham by God.

Abraham was able to resign himself to God and step outside of his own desires, giving of himself completely to God. "Infinite resignation is the last step before faith (75)". If Abraham had been attached to himself he would not have been able to perform an act that was greatly beyond his comprehension. He had faith that God would provide, all would be well, and that as easily as God gives He can take away, and as He takes He can give again. It is noted, however, that Abraham makes it seem fairly easy (this may be because the Biblical story, as mentioned in class, lacks any mention of emotion or conflict so that it seems like blind obedience) and thus Kierkegaard calls him the knight of faith and, later, the father of faith.

Problema I is interesting in that it gives an account of the ethical dilemma of Abraham's actions. There are 2 types of ethical action according to the text (83). The first is the universal, that which is unchanging. This ethics lies on the telos that is in itself the telos for everything outside. This sort of ethics is the same for everyone and shouldn't depend on the particular. The second greater ethics is that where the telos is preserved in something higher in order that the particular is greater than the universal. However, this state to enter the particular in the universality of ethics is exactly the temptation we all face. This is the paradox that makes up most of Problema I. It seems that the telos of Abraham was itself suspended by a higher telos, that is, God.

I understand the name Johannes de Silentio to mean that if this suspension was made public no one would understand it before it was performed. People would work towards stopping it and completely inhibit further action. By being silent about it until it has been completed then the greatness of such an action will be known in the future, rather than never having occurred at all. Alternately, it may be Johannes de Silentio because Abraham himself was silent because no one would understand him. He had an internal dilemma within himself and what God had asked of him.

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