Monday, March 2, 2009

have you met the knight of faith?

the section Problem II not only presents us with a ethical paradox of faith but also sheds some more light on the characteristics of the knight of faith. For example "only when the single individual has exhausted himself in the infinite, only then is the point reached where faith can break forth" (pg 61). I found it interesting that the individual has to be exhausted with the infinite. I think that Kierkegaard is making a distinction between coming to terms with the infinite and being exhausted by it. I think this because he then says only then (being exhausted with the infinite) can faith break forth. Maybe I'm reading into this a different way, thoughts?
Moreover, the knight of faith is in constant isolation having learned that "existing as the single individual is the most terrifying thing of all...(but) will not be afraid of saying that it is the greatest" (pg 66). In trying to understand the knight of faith I cannot help but feel that he/she is at the tipping point of insanity, if not crossed over to it. I know Kierkegaard values Faith as a great thing to have, a miracle, and I too think there is something to that. But, is not it also possible that the knight of faith becomes the knight of faith because he finally lost his mind?


  1. Your last question dealing with one losing their mind; I think what Kierkegaard is saying is that it may seem that way to everyone else (i.e. the universal) because it is like they skip the middle part (intermediate) of what we view as sanity. By this they seem "mad/crazy" to everyone else because no one understands them. Like the tragic hero when he does something he does it for the ethical, but when the knight of faith acts it is a test, and when he acts, he becomes superior to this ethical. He does not abide by the same laws of ethics which everyone else does, precisely because he is superior to it. So in all reality he is not insane, but in reality (world) he may seem that way.

  2. "So in all reality he is not insane, but in reality (world) he may seem that way."

    -so what (if any) are the differences between an insane person (mentally ill) and a knight of faith?(mentally sound). I think that to the observer, there are no obvious differences. However, on an individual level the insane person has not been exhausted with the infinite, where as the knight of faith has.