Search
  • malavikameh

Fear and trembling, Kierkegaard.

"There was one who was great by reason of his power, and one who was great by reason of his wisdom, and one who was great by reason of his hope, and one who was great by reason of his love; but Abraham was greater than all, great by reason of his power whose strength is impotence, great by reason of his wisdom whose secret is foolishness, great by reason of his hope whose form is madness, great by reason of the love which is hatred of oneself. "
Fear and Trembling- Soren Kierkegaard.

A 19-year-old reads Kierkegaard slouching in her lonely bed, caught up in a tormenting affair. Young, fuming, blood boiling, waiting for the revolution to happen and waiting for God to arrive to save her from all hardships, she ate Kierkegaard. Unlike Kant, who was taught to us with great suave and passion by our teachers inside the classrooms, Kierkegaard was to be hunted (at least in India) and hoarded. I remember that the cover of the book was one of Carravagio's paintings titled Sacrifice of Isaac which sent the horrible cry of Isaac outside of the page and it looked as though the scream of this young boy would hop out of the page sending screams on-towards the reader's face.


Kierkegaard thought that a poet and a critic are mirror images, except the critic does not hold inside him the song or the agony of the poet's despair anymore. Kierkegaard's thoughts about ethics and love, and his reflections on 'the other' or the other human soul sound extremely humbling to me and coming across this humbling experience I encounter the morose in Kierkegaard's writing that is capable of exhibiting immense strength. And I in turn believe that the greatest hides his reason for his love which is the hatred of oneself resembling Abraham's love for God who sacrifices his son Isaac who was born late into his life through efforts that are listed in the bible; this makes Isaac the beloved son and Kierkegaard goes on about him, he goes on about the reasons for Abraham's agony in sacrificing Isaac which later echoes throughout the Old Testament.


I am not interested in that, but I am interested in what Abraham and Isaac keep doing to each other. Fear and Trembling, I think, is a Christian treatise, and it is filled with songs of love, sacrifice and self snatched out from the grasps of institutionalised religion which was sound and thriving during Kierkegaard's time; the songs of the religion and the purity of it is however recreated as a philosophical treatise out of Kierkegaard's own mortifying experiences around his love interest. Mimicking the dead captain of a lost ship, Kierkegaard is the marshal of this navigation; enquiring, pondering and wondering at the sacrifice of Abraham, made extraordinary with the existential flamboyance and its biblical extravagance around anxiety and despair. I keep asking myself, what's going on, really? Are both Abraham and Isaac one? No, they are not, they are two people, is that not true? okay! then? But that's according to me, who is and who has become a half lunatic by now. You don't have to listen to me, but I would encourage you to pay attention to what follows. How has Abraham been promised the return of his hope and his faith and how have his beliefs been reinstated; his greatness shows up when God appears to put an end to this dramatic event. God smiles, and he asks Abraham to take Isaac back home. He says, "give that chap a good hot pot of porridge and ask him to chill out, and all the more you chill out, too". He asks Abraham to chill out. Abraham listens to god and is chilling out. I will insist that you people please imagine the open hand gesture of a god, heavy and brooding; reflecting through his sympathetic eyes: his kind heart, his expressions of lovely tolerance and the rest, all for Abraham.


Abraham, mostly, would have walked back with his son, reminiscing the residual satisfaction and the relief out of his anxiety which was just then resolved by him receiving God's love, and his echoing beliefs such as his love for Isaac, Isaac's love for his father, and later God's love for both these people (grrrruuh!). To be honest with you, If I were in Isaac's place, I would have run for my life, my feet hitting my bum, at the top most speed that I am capable of, saving my ass, out of the valley; a valley, it is, after all. And in here, in the simplest of the reasons that Isaac did not run away from his father as his father was standing dumbfounded, elucidating his reasons for slaughtering his son, facing the fear and trembling of this to-be done or not-to-be done act (what is this drama rey) we encounter the greatest fallacy of faith which Kierkegaard names as the paradox of faith. I was questioning my own reasons for feeling humbled by Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard, unlike me, receives the eternal love of God, or so he thinks and says. Abraham is probably the least concerned about Isaac's decisions, and Isaac's love for him; according to Kierkegaard this happens by virtue of God's love that is received both by Isaac and Abraham, and Abraham has already presupposed this all in his head (this chap, I tell you, he is mad). One of the best parts about reading Kierkegaard and my admiration for this philosopher arises in how he, failing not, ensures that love is preeminent in the other, he has already taken Isaac's love for granted and therefore love in this world and thereby between two people.


Kierkegaard is always so full of love (how is that possible, lol). Kierkegaard gives the other a lot of care, attention, energy and love; unmatched, and therefore he writes; if at all reason has to be established again, under the will of God, then those reasons for existence are power, wisdom, hope and love. What is that world in which reason still dances around as listed above, breathing its splendour into existence. I do not believe in that world and nor do I see that world around me as well. I am not saying there is no world like that, but I do not believe in that world.


I am not Kierkegaard, yet I cannot stop myself from falling in love with him.





36 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

in the clogged wash tap root to the base of its shoot like an upward growing yew little breadcrumbs at my feet those kids leave spilling milk and dust. I will be at a foreign land walking

Song to Song has the sneaky little line by Fassbender which goes "do you like kids" and Natalie Portman replies "It wouldn't be a great job if I didn't like kids, would it". Fassbender has blue-green

How to bring up a child in our country. I am going to tell my children that rails are an ankle sock that you tried on your left foot- it didn’t fit, so you immediately switched to the right and yet fa

Subscribe to get updates

Thanks for subscribing!