Now that I have finished reading Fear and Trembling, I realize that faith is far more complicated than that of what I have previously made it out to be.
Johannes de Silentio writes, “Either there is then a paradox, that the single individual as the particular stands in an absolute relation to the absolute, or Abraham is lost.” Abraham contradicted nothing; he questioned nothing and knew that the universal, i.e. the ethical, no longer constrained what he was about to do. He was being tested and it was not a matter of finding a way out, but finding himself, in world where language and reason were indecipherable utterances. Abraham remains silent, not because God commanded him to be silent, but because God has suspended the universal, God has stopped what he has established to govern the world. In essence God lifts Abraham out of the ethical, he makes him superior to language, making language a temptation; if Abraham speaks, he becomes part of the universal, and he saves his son and becomes a tragic hero. But he does not, he does not because it is not an option.
Two heroes emerge as Cameron has said the esthetic hero and the tragic hero; both of whom are hero’s, both of whom refrain from an action or pursue an action to save someone. Abraham is neither, he is neither because what he is doing, applies towards him and him alone. He does not try to save his son because saving his son requires him to break the suspension of the universal; it requires him to question what he is being asked to do, kill his son. In the ethical this is what it would consist of to save his son. Silence is a prerequisite to become the knight of faith; silence allows Abraham to become the single individual and be able to stand in absolute relation to the absolute.
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