Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Point of View of My Work as a Blogger

I just finished reading Kierkegaard's The Point of View of My Work as an Author. This book essentially traces the manner in which his entire corpus is in the service of the religious, of being or becoming a Christian. SK calls this a backwards movement towards simplicity. You begin with the system, with cleverness, with being interesting and complex. SK says that he too began in this place with Either/Or but this beginning was a deception. It was a trick to gain a sort of attention, to intrigue. But for SK this was already in the beginning to have an eye towards the end. To be begin with the aesthetic as he calls it is simply to be 'emptying out'. A person cannot achieve existence as a Christian but one must create space for it. And so SK began at the beginning which worldly speaking is to begin at the high point. SK created a stir, a controversy, an interest. This was created through SK's celebrated use of 'indirect communication'. He used pseudonyms, irony, humour, paradox, etc. But then at the end of POV he takes up the voice of the reader and says, “What have you done here! Do you not see what you have lost in the eyes of the world by this information and attestation?” SK understands that, in the end, by making plain just what it is he was trying to do he has lost “every worldly form of the interesting.” He continues, “I began as an author with a tremendous force, to be secretly regarded almost as a villain – naturally for that reason charming and, especially as such, tremendously interesting and pungent.” As his literary career progressed Concluding Unscientific Postscript is considered the turning point where it his work become more explicitly focused on the simple issue 'becoming a Christian'. SK continues,
Gradually as I moved ahead and that public of Christians became aware, or came to suspect . . . I might not be so downright bad, the public dropped off more and more, and little be little I began to fall into the boring categories of the good. . . . And now, now I am not at all interesting any longer. That what it means to become a Christian should actually be the fundamental idea in the whole authorship – how boring! . . . The movement is not from simple to the interesting but from the interesting to the simple.

So why have I shared these quotes? Other than the fact these statements are easily and readily dismissed or ignored in much Kierkegaard scholarship I have a personal motive. Having read more broadly in Kierkegaard this past year I am simply in awe of his creative output (though he claims to have approached his writing as a 'work assignment' . . . more on that another time). I cannot reproduce his approach. Even if I could it would be disingenuous to try. So I am hoping to begin again. I am hoping now to begin at the end. To begin and to work towards the beginning. To articulate simply and honestly. I will put it that way. I am coming to realize that honest is actually a significant disposition. We can be honest about any number of things and produce any number of expressions honestly but I know in myself when I am being dishonest. There are parts of this post that are dishonest. For that I am sorry. And so I hope to contribute here honestly and try to understand what that is. It is simple but it may not be immediately simple, at least to me.

Perhaps from now on my posts will be boring, so be it. I will however, try and be honest. I will strive for honesty in this place and if I do suspect and identify dishonesty then I will address and if I cannot address I will try at least to remain silent. And if you detect dishonesty . . . if the project of honesty itself riddled with dishonesty then call me on it.

I will also take heart in believing that SK was not entirely convinced of how boring his project really became. In shifting towards the explicitly religious SK looked to Governance and saw how
Governance assisted and assisted in such a way that the outcome of what I did truly benefited me and my cause, so that, to compare intellectual endowment to a stringed instrument, I not only remained in tune but gained an extra string on my instrument

What a great image. His thoughts continued to play but with Governance the instrument remained fully the same but also totally transformed to play in manner almost identical but also beyond the capabilities of its prior state.

No comments: