Posted in Fear Inlandish

Fear Inlandish: Piece XI

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”


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But despair is expressed precisely by the fact that a person is unaware of being characterized as spirit.

Even that which, humanly speaking, is the most beautiful and lovable thing of all, a feminine youthfulness which is sheer peace and harmony and joy — even that is despair. For this indeed is happiness, but happiness is not a characteristic of spirit, and in the remote depths, in the most inward parts, in the hidden recesses of happiness, there dwells also the anxious dread which is despair;

it would be only too glad to be allowed to remain therein, for the dearest and most attractive dwelling-place of despair is in the very heart of immediate happiness.

All immediacy, in spite of its illusory peace and tranquility, is dread, and hence, quite consistently, it is dread of nothing; one cannot make immediacy so anxious by the most horrifying description of the most dreadful something, as by a crafty, apparently casual half word about an unknown peril which is thrown out with the surely calculated aim of reflection;

yea, one can put immediacy most in dread by slyly imputing to it knowledge of the matter referred to. For immediacy doubtless does not know; but never does reflection catch its prey so surely as when it makes its snare out of nothing, and never is reflection so thoroughly itself as when it is . . . nothing.

There is need of an eminent reflection, or rather of a great faith, to support a reflection based upon nothing, i.e. an infinite reflection.

So even the most beautiful and lovable thing of all, a feminine youthfulness which is sheer peace and harmony and joy, is nevertheless despair, is happiness. Hardly will one have the good hap to get through life on the strength of this immediacy. And if this happiness has the hap to get through, it would be of little help for it is despair. Despair, just because it is wholly dialectical, is in fact the sickness of which it holds that it is the greatest misfortune not to have had it — the true good hap to get it, although it is the most dangerous sickness of all, if one does not wish to be healed of it. In other cases one can only speak of the good fortune of being healed of a sickness, sickness itself being misfortune.

Therefore it is as far as possible from being true that the vulgar view is right in assuming that despair is a rarity; on the contrary, it is quite universal.

It is as far as possible from being true that the vulgar view is right in assuming that everyone who does not think or feel that he is in despair is not so at all, and that only he is in despair who says that he is. On the contrary, one who without affectation says that he is in despair is after all a little bit nearer, a dialectical step nearer to being cured than all those who are not regarded and do not regard themselves as being in despair.

But precisely this is the common situation (as the physician of souls will doubtless concede), that the majority of men live without being thoroughly conscious that they are spiritual beings — and to this is referable all the security, contentment with life, etc., etc., which precisely is despair.

Those, on the other hand, who say that they are in despair are generally such as have a nature so much more profound that they must become conscious of themselves as spirit, or such as by the hard vicissitudes of life and its dreadful decisions have been helped to become conscious of themselves as spirit — either one or the other, for rare is the man who truly is free from despair. 

Ah, so much is said about human want and misery — I seek to understand it, I have also had some acquaintance with it at close range; so much is said about wasted lives — but only that man’s life is wasted who lived on, so deceived by the joys of life or by its sorrows that he never became eternally and decisively conscious of himself as spirit, as self, or (what is the same thing) never became aware and in the deepest sense received an impression of the fact that there is a God, and that he, he himself, his self, exists before this God, which gain of infinity is never attained except through despair.

And, oh, this misery, that so many live on and are defrauded of this most blessed of all thoughts; this misery, that people employ themselves about everything else, or, as for the masses of men, that people employ them about everything else, utilize them to generate the power for the theater of life, but never remind them of their blessedness; that they heap them in a mass and defraud them, instead of splitting them apart so that they might gain the highest thing, the only thing worth living for, and enough to live in for an eternity — it seems to me that I could weep for an eternity over the fact that such misery exists!

And, oh, to my thinking this is one expression the more of the dreadfulness of this most dreadful sickness and misery, namely, its hiddenness — not only that he who suffers from it may wish to hide it and may be able to do so, to the effect that it can so dwell in a man that no one, no one whatever discovers it; no, rather that it can be so hidden in a man that he himself does not know it!

And, oh, when the hour-glass has run out, the hourglass of time, when the noise of worldliness is silenced, and the restless or the ineffectual busyness comes to an end, when everything is still about thee as it is in eternity — whether thou wast man or woman, rich or poor, dependent or independent, fortunate or unfortunate, whether thou didst bear the splendor of the crown in a lofty station, or didst bear only the labor and heat of the day in an inconspicuous lot; whether thy name shall be remembered as long as the world stands (and so was remembered as long as the world stood), or without a name thou didst cohere as nameless with the countless multitude; whether the glory which surrounded thee surpassed all human description, or the judgment passed upon thee was the most severe and dishonoring human judgement can pass —

eternity asks of thee and of every individual among these million millions only one question, whether thou hast lived in despair or not, whether thou wast in despair in such a way that thou didst not know thou wast in despair, or in such a way that thou didst hiddenly carry this sickness in thine inward parts as thy gnawing secret, carry it under thy heart as the fruit of a sinful love, or in such a way that thou, a horror to others, didst rave in despair. And if so, if thou hast lived in despair (whether for the rest thou didst win or lose), then for thee all is lost, eternity knows thee not, it never knew thee, or (even more dreadful) it knows thee as thou art known, it puts thee under arrest by thyself in despair.



…More to come in piece XII

Posted in Fear Inlandish

Fear Inlandish: Piece X

“For so sworn good or evil an oath may not be broken and it shall pursue oathkeeper and oathbreaker to the world’s end.”


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But the vulgar view has a very poor understanding of despair. Among other things (to mention only one which, if rightly understood, would bring thousands, yea, millions under this category), it completely overlooks the fact that one form of despair is precisely this of not being in despair, that is, not being aware of it.

The vulgar view is exposed, though in a much deeper sense, to the same fallacy it sometimes falls into when it would determine whether a man is sick or not.

In a much deeper sense, I say, for the vulgar view has a far more inadequate notion of spirit than of sickness and health — and without understanding spirit it is impossible to understand despair.

It is ordinarily assumed that a man is well when he does not himself say that he is sick, and still more confidently when he says that he is well. The physician on the other hand regards sickness differently. And why?

Because he has a definite and well thought out conception of what it is to be in sound health, and by this he tests the man’s condition. The physician knows that just as there is sickness which is only imaginary, so also there is such a thing as fictitious health.

In the latter case, therefore, the physician first employs medicines to cause the disease to become manifest.

Generally the physician, just because he is a physician, i.e. the competent man, has no unconditional faith in a person’s own assertion about the state of his health.

If it were true that what every man says about the state of his health (as to whether he is sick or well, where he suffers, etc.) were absolutely to be relied upon, it would be an illusion to be a physician. For a physician does not merely have to prescribe medicines, but first and foremost he has to be acquainted with sickness, and so first and foremost to know whether a supposedly sick man really is sick, or whether a supposedly well man is not really sick.

So it is also with the physician of souls when dealing with despair.

He knows what despair is, he is acquainted with it, and hence he is not satisfied with a man’s assertion that he is in despair or that he is not. For it must be observed that in a certain sense not even all who say they are in despair always are so.

One may affect despair, and one may make a mistake and confuse despair with all sorts of transitory dejection or grief which pass away without coming to the point of despair.

However, the physician of souls does, it is true, regard these states also as forms of despair. He perceives very well that this is affectation — but precisely this affectation is despair. He perceives very well that this dejection etc. does not mean much — but precisely this fact, that it does not mean much, is despair.

Furthermore, the vulgar view overlooks the fact that, as compared with sickness, despair is much more dialectical than what is commonly called sickness, because it is a sickness of the spirit. And this dialectical quality, rightly understood, again brings thousands under the category of despair. For in case at a given moment a physician is convinced that this or that person is in good health and at a later moment becomes sick — the physician may be right in affirming that the person was well then, and at a later moment became sick.

With despair it is different.

As soon as despair manifests itself in a person, it is manifest that the person was in despair. For this reason one cannot at a given moment decide anything about a person who is not saved by the fact that he has been in despair. For in case the condition comes about which brings him to despair, it is at that same moment manifest that he has been in despair throughout the whole of his previous life.

On the other hand, one is by no means justified in saying, when a man has a fever, that he has had a fever throughout his whole life. But despair is a phenomenon of the spirit, is related to the eternal, and therefore has something of the eternal in its dialectic.

Not only is despair far more dialectical than an illness, but all its symptoms are dialectical, and for this reason the superficial view is so readily deceived in determining whether despair is present or not.

For not to be in despair may mean to be in despair, and it may also mean to be delivered from being in despair.

A sense of security and tranquillity may mean that one is in despair, precisely this security, this tranquillity, may be despair; and it may mean that one has overcome despair and gained peace.

In this respect despair is unlike bodily sickness; for not to be sick cannot possibly mean to be sick; but not to be despairing may mean precisely to be despairing. It is not true of despair, as it is of bodily sickness, that the feeling of indisposition is the sickness. By no means. The feeling of indisposition is again dialectical. Never to have been sensible of this indisposition is precisely to be in despair.

This points to the fact, and has its ground therein, that man, regarded as spirit, is always in a critical condition — and if one is to talk of despair, one must conceive of man as spirit. In relation to sickness we talk of a crisis, but not in relation to health.

And why not?

Because  bodily health is an “immediate” qualification, and only becomes dialectical in sickness, when one can speak of the crisis.

But spiritually, or when man is regarded as spirit, both health and sickness are critical. There is no such thing as “immediate” health of the spirit.


So long as one does not regard man as spirit (in which case we cannot talk about despair) but only as a synthesis of soul and body, health is an “immediate” determinant, and only the sickness of soul or body is a dialectical determinant.


More to come in Piece XI…

Posted in Fear Inlandish

Fear Inlandish: Piece IX

“For if joyful is the fountain that rises in the sun, its springs are in the wells of sorrow unfathomable at the foundations of the Earth.”


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The Universality of This Sickness (Despair)


Just as the physician might say that there lives perhaps not one single man who is in perfect health, so one might say perhaps that there lives not one single man who after all is not to some extent in despair, in whose inmost parts there does not dwell a disquietude, a perturbation,


a discord, an anxious dread of an unknown something, or of a something he does not even dare to make acquaintance with, dread of a possibility of life, or dread of himself, so that, after all, as physicians speak of a man going about with a disease in him, this man is going about and carrying a sickness of the spirit, which only rarely and in glimpses, by and with a dread which to him is inexplicable, gives evidence of its presence within.



This view will doubtless seem to many a paradox, an exaggeration, and a gloomy and depressing view at that.

Yet it is nothing of the sort.

It is not gloomy;

on the contrary, it seeks to throw light upon a subject which ordinarily is left in obscurity.

It is not depressing;

on the contrary it is uplifting, since it views every man in the aspect of the highest demand made upon him, that he be spirit.

Nor is it a paradox;

on the contrary, it is a fundamental apprehension consistently carried through, and hence it is no exaggeration.

On the other hand, the ordinary view of despair remains content with appearances, and so it is a superficial view, that is, no view at all.

It assumes that every man must know by himself better than anyone else whether he is in despair or not.

So whoever says that he is in despair is regarded as being in despair, but whoever thinks he is not in despair is not so regarded.

Consequently despair becomes a rather rare phenomenon, whereas in fact it is quite universal. It is not a rare exception that one is in despair; no, the rare, the very rare exception is that one is not in despair.


More to come in Piece X…

Posted in Fear Inlandish

Fear Inlandish: Piece VIII

“Many are the strange chances of the world and help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter.”

it is a superficial view (which presumably has never seen a person in despair, not even one’s own self) when it is said of a man in despair, “He is consuming himself.” For precisely this it is he despairs of, and to his torment it is precisely this he cannot do, since by despair fire has entered into something that cannot burn, or cannot burn up, that is, into the self.

So to despair over something is not yet properly despair. It is the beginning, or it is as when the physician says of a sickness that it has not yet declared itself.

To despair over oneself, in despair to will to be rid of oneself, is the formula for all despair, and hence the second form of despair (in despair at willing to be oneself) can be followed back to the first (in despair at not willing to be oneself), just as in the foregoing we resolved the first into the second.

A despairing man wants despairingly to be himself.

But if he despairingly wants to be himself, he will not want to get rid of himself.

Yes, so it seems; but if one inspects more closely, one perceives that after all the contradiction is the same. That self which he despairingly wills to be is a self which he is not (for to will to be that self which one truly is, is indeed the opposite of despair); what he really wills is to tear his self away from the Power which constituted it.

But notwithstanding all his despair, this he is unable to do, notwithstanding all the efforts of despair, that Power is the stronger, and it compels him to be the self he does not will to be.

But for all that he wills to be rid of himself, to be rid of the self which he is, in order to be the self he himself has chanced to chose. To be self as he wills to be would be his delight (though in another sense it would be equally in despair), but to be compelled to be self as he does not will to be is his torment, namely, that he cannot get rid of himself.

Socrates proved the immortality of the soul from the fact that the sickness of the soul (sin) does not consume it as sickness of the body consumes the body.

So also we can demonstrate the eternal in man from the fact that despair cannot consume his self, that this precisely is the torment of contradiction in despair.

If there were nothing eternal in a man, he could not despair; but if despair could consume his self, there would still be no despair.

Thus it is that despair, this sickness in the self, is the sickness unto death. The despairing man is mortally ill. In an entirely different sense than can appropriately be said of any disease, we may say that the sickness has attacked the noblest part and yet the man cannot die.

Death is not the last phase of the sickness, but death is continually the last.

To be delivered from this sickness by death is an impossibility, for the sickness and its torment . . . and death consist in not being able to die.

This is the situation in despair. And however thoroughly it eludes the attention of the despairer, and however thoroughly the despairer may succeed (as in the case of that kind of despair which is characterized by unawareness of being in despair) in losing himself entirely, and losing himself in such a way that it is not noticed in the least —

eternity nevertheless will make it manifest that his situation was despair, and it will so nail him to himself that the torment nevertheless remains that he cannot get rid of himself, and it becomes manifest that he was deluded in thinking that he succeeded.

And thus it is eternity must act, because to have a self, to be a self, is the greatest concession made to man, but at the same time it is eternity’s demand upon him.


More to Come in Piece IX…

Posted in Fear Inlandish

Fear Inlandish: Piece VII

” I will not walk backward in life “.


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Please listen:


Despair is “The Sickness unto Death.”

The concept of the sickness unto death must be understood, however,

in a peculiar sense.

Literally it means a sickness the end and outcome

of which is death.

Thus one speaks of a mortal sickness as synonymous

with a sickness unto death. In this sense despair cannot be called the

sickness unto death.

For death is doubtless the last phase of the sickness, but death is not the last thing.

If in the strictest sense we are to speak of a sickness unto death, it

must be one in which the last thing is death, and death the last thing.

And this precisely is despair.

Yet in another and still more definite sense despair is the sickness unto

death. It is indeed very far from being true that, literally understood,

one dies of this sickness, or that this sickness ends with bodily death.

On the contrary, the torment of despair is precisely this, not to be able

to die So it has much in common with the situation of the moribund

when he lies and struggles with death, and cannot die.

So to be sick unto death is, not to be able to die — yet not as though there were

hope of life; no the hopelessness in this case is that even the last hope,

death, is not available.

When death is the greatest danger,

one hopes for life;

but when one becomes acquainted with an even more dreadful


one hopes for death.

So when the danger is so great that death has become one’s hope,

despair is the disconsolateness of not being able to die.

It is in this last sense that despair is the sickness unto death, this

agonizing contradiction, this sickness in the self, everlastingly to die, to

die and yet not to die, to die the death.

For dying means that it is all over,

but dying the death means to live to experience death;

and if for a single instant this experience is possible,

it is tantamount to experiencing it forever.

If one might die of despair as one dies of a

sickness, then the eternal in him, the self, must be capable of dying in

the same sense that the body dies of sickness.

But this is an


the dying of despair transforms itself constantly into a living.

The despairing man cannot die; no more than “the dagger can slay thoughts”

can despair consume the eternal thing, the self,

which is the ground of despair, whose worm dieth not, and whose fire is not


Yet despair is precisely self-consuming, but it is an impotent self-consumption

which is not able to do what it wills;

and this impotence is a new form of self-consumption, in which again,

however, the despairer is not able to do what he wills,

namely, to consume himself.

This is despair raised to a higher potency, or it is the law for the potentiation.

This is the hot incitement, or the cold fire in despair,

the gnawing canker whose movement is constantly inward,

deeper and deeper, in impotent self-consumption.

The fact that despair does not consume him is so far from being any comfort to the despairing man that it is precisely the opposite,

this comfort is precisely the torment,

it is precisely this that keeps the gnawing pain alive and

keeps life in the pain.

This precisely is the reason why he despairs —

not to say despaired — because he cannot consume himself, cannot get

rid of himself, cannot become nothing.

This is the potentiated formula for despair, the rising of the fever in the sickness of the self.

A despairing man is in despair over something.

….More to come in Piece VIII

Posted in Fear Inlandish, Uncategorized

Fear Inlandish: Piece VI

“Let the unseen days be. Today is more than enough.”


All Rights Reserved © mmartel∞

Is despair an advantage or a drawback?

Regarded in a purely dialectical
way it is both.
If one were to stick to the abstract notion of despair,
without thinking of any concrete despairer, one might say that it is an
immense advantage.
The possibility of this sickness is man’s advantage
over the beast, and this advantage distinguishes him far more
essentially than the erect posture, for it implies the infinite erectness or
loftiness of being spirit.
So then it is an infinite advantage to be able to despair; and yet it is
not only the greatest misfortune and misery to be in despair; no, it is
Ordinarily there is no such relation between possibility and
actuality; if it is an advantage to be able to be this or that, it is a still
greater advantage to be such a thing. That is to say, being is related to
the ability to be as an ascent.
In the case of despair, on the contrary,
being is related to the ability to be as a fall.
Infinite as is the advantage
of the possibility, just so great is the measure of the fall. So in the case
of despair the ascent consists in not being in despair. Yet this
statement is open to misunderstanding.
The thing of not being in
despair is not like not being lame, blind, etc. In case the not being in
despair means neither more nor less than not being this, then it is
precisely to be it.
The thing of not being in despair must mean the
annihilation of the possibility of being this; if it is to be true that a
man is not in despair, one must annihilate the possibility every instant.
I, unblessed Atlas!
I carry a world, the entire world of pain,
I bear the unbearable,
And the heart within me wants to break.Proud heart, you have wanted it thus!
You wanted to be happy, eternally happy,
Or eternally miserable, you proud heart,
And now you are miserable.

Such is not ordinarily the relation between possibility and actuality.
Although thinkers say that actuality is the annihilated possibility, yet
this is not entirely true; it is the fulfilled, the effective possibility. Here,
on the contrary, the actuality (not being in despair), which in its very
form is a negation, is the impotent, annihilated possibility; ordinarily,
actuality in comparison with possibility is a confirmation, here it is a
Despair is the disrelationship in a relation which relates itself to itself.
But the synthesis is not the disrelationship, it is merely the possibility,
or, in the synthesis is latent the possibility of the disrelationship.
If the synthesis were the disrelationship, there would be no such thing as
despair, for despair would then be something inherent in human nature
as such, that is, it would not be despair, it would be something that
befell a man, something he suffered passively, like an illness into which
a man falls, or like death which is the lot of all.
No, this thing of despairing is inherent in man himself; but if he were not a synthesis, he could not despair.
Whence then comes despair?
From the relation wherein the synthesis relates itself to itself, in that who made man a relationship lets this go as it were out of His hand, that is, in the fact that the relation
relates itself to itself.
And herein, in the fact that the relation is spirit, is the self, consists the responsibility under which all despair lies, and so lies every instant it exists, however much and however ingeniously the despairer, deceiving himself and others, may talk of his despair as a misfortune which has befallen him, with a confusion of things
different, as in the case of vertigo aforementioned, with which, though
it is qualitatively different, despair has much in common, since vertigo
is under the rubric soul what despair is under the rubric spirit, and is
pregnant with analogies to despair.
So when the disrelationship — that is, despair — has set in, does it
follow as a matter of course that it continues?
No, it does not follow as a matter of course; if the disrelationship continues, it does not follow as a consequence of the disrelation but as a consequence of the
relation which relates itself to itself.
That is to say, every time the disrelation expresses itself, and every instant it exists, it is to the relation one must revert.
Observe that we speak of a man contracting a
disease, maybe through carelessness. Then the illness sets in, and from
that instant it affirms itself and is now an actuality, the origin of which
recedes more and more into the past.
It would be cruel and inhuman if one were to continue to say incessantly, “This instant thou, the sick man, art contracting this disease”; that is, if every instant one were to
resolve the actuality of the disease into its possibility. It is true that he
did contract the disease, but this he did only once; the continuance of
the disease is a simple consequence of the fact that he once contracted
it, its progress is not to be referred every instant to him as the cause;
he contracted it, but one cannot say that he is
contracting it. Not so with despair: every actual instant of despair is to be referred back to possibility, every instant the man in despair is contracting it, it is
constantly in the present tense, nothing comes to pass here as a
consequence of a bygone actuality superseded; at every actual instant
of despair the despairer bears as his responsibility all the foregoing
experience in possibility as a present.
This comes from the fact that despair is a qualification of spirit, that it is related to the eternal in man. But the eternal he cannot get rid of, no, not to all eternity; he
cannot cast it from him once for all, nothing is more impossible; every
instant he does not possess it he must have cast it or be casting it from
him — but it comes back, every instant he is in despair he contracts
despair. For despair is not a result of the disrelationship but of the
relation which relates itself to itself. And the relation to himself a man
cannot get rid of, any more than he can get rid of himself, which
moreover is one and the same thing, since the self is the relationship to
…More to come in Piece VII
Posted in Fear Inlandish

Fear Inlandish: Piece V

“The doom lies in yourself, not in your name.”


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Man is spirit. But what is spirit?

Spirit is the self. But what is the self?

The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation [which accounts for it] that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the relation but [consists in the fact] that the relation relates itself to its own self.



Man is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity, in short it is a synthesis. A synthesis is a relation between two factors. So regarded, man is not yet a self.




Such a derived, constituted, relation is the human self, a relation which
relates itself to its own self, and in relating itself to its own self relates
itself to another. Hence it is that there can be two forms of despair
properly so called. If the human self had constituted itself, there could
be a question only of one form, that of not willing to be one’s own
self, of willing to get rid of oneself, but there would be no question of
despairingly willing to be oneself.
This formula [i.e. that the self is constituted by another] is the expression for the total dependence of the relation (the self namely), the expression for the fact that the self cannot of itself attain and remain in equilibrium and rest by itself, but
only by relating itself to that Power which constituted the whole
relation. Indeed, so far is it from being true that this second form of
despair (despair at willing to be one’s own self) denotes only a
particular kind of despair, that on the contrary all despair can in the
last analysis be reduced to this.
If a man in despair is as he thinks conscious of his despair, does not talk about it meaninglessly as of something which befell him (pretty much as when a man who suffers from vertigo talks with nervous self-deception about a weight upon his

head or about its being like something falling upon him, etc., this weight and this pressure being in fact not something external but an inverse reflection from an inward experience), and if by himself and by himself only he would abolish the despair, then by all the labor he expends he is only laboring himself deeper into a deeper despair. The disrelationship of despair is not a simple disrelationship but a

disrelationship in a relation which relates itself to its own self and is constituted by another, so that the disrelationship in that self-relation reflects itself infinitely in the relation to the Power which constituted it.
This then is the formula which describes the condition of the self when
despair is completely eradicated: by relating itself to its own self and
by willing to be itself the self is grounded transparently in the Power
which posited it.
More to come in Piece VI …
Posted in Fear Inlandish

Fear Inlandish: Piece IV

“False hopes are more dangerous than fears.”



“My grief is my castle, which like an eagle’s nest is built high up on the mountain peaks among the clouds; nothing can storm it. From it I fly down into reality to seize my prey; but I do not remain down there, I bring it home with me, and this prey is a picture I weave into the tapestries of my palace. There I live as one dead. I immerse everything I have experienced in a baptism of forgetfulness unto an eternal remembrance. Everything finite and accidental is forgotten and erased. Then I sit like an old man, grey-haired and thoughtful, and explain the pictures in a voice as soft as a whisper; and at my side a child sits and listens, although he remembers everything before I tell it.”


“Something wonderful has happened to me. I was carried up into the seventh heaven. There all the gods sat assembled. By special grace I was granted the favor of a wish. ‘Will you,’ said Mercury, ‘have youth, or beauty, or power, or a long life, or the most beautiful maiden, or any of the other glories we have in the chest? Choose, but only one thing.’ For a moment I was at a loss. Then I addressed myself to the gods as follows: ‘Most honorable contemporaries, I choose this one thing, that I may always have the laugh on my side.’ Not one of the gods said a word, on the contrary, they all began to laugh. Hence I concluded that my request was granted, and found that the gods knew how to express themselves with taste; for it would hardly have been suitable for them to have answered gravely: ‘It is granted thee.’”


“There are people so weak that they need loud noise and a distracting environment in order to be able to work. Why is this, unless for the fact that they have no command over themselves, except in an inverse sense?”


“Imagine hidden in a very plain setting a secret chest in which the most precious treasure is placed — there is a spring that must be pressed, but the spring is concealed, and the pressure must be of a certain force so that an accidental pressure cannot be sufficient. The hope of eternity is concealed within a person’s innermost being in the same way, and hardship is the pressure. When the pressure is put on the concealed spring, and forcefully enough, the content appears in all its glory!”


The three forms of despair: not being conscious of having a self, not
willing to be oneself, but also despair at willing to be oneself. Despair
is “sickness unto death.”
The Universality of This Sickness (Despair):
A man’s life is wasted when he lives on, so deceived by the joys of life
or by its sorrows, that he never becomes decisively conscious of himself
as spirit, as self, that is.
The Self:
In every instant a self exists and is in the process of becoming. The self
does not actually “exist,” but is only that which it is to become. In so
far as the self does not become itself, it is not its own self, and not to
be one’s own self is despair.
Despair is Sin:
Sin means to be in despair at not willing to be oneself, or to be in
despair at willing to be oneself. The lives of most men, being
determined by a dialectic of indifference, are so remote from the good
(that is, faith) that they are almost too spiritless to be called sinners,
almost too spiritless to be called despairers.
Continuation of Sin:
A definition of faith: “By relating itself to its own self and by willing to
be itself, the self is grounded transparently in the Power which
constituted it.” This means we must not despair over despairing about
our sins, nor must we abandon faith and instead substitute
More to Come in Piece V…
Posted in Fear Inlandish

Fear Inlandish: Piece III

” Grief is a hone to a hard mind ” 

“Idleness is by no means as such a root of evil; on the contrary, it is a truly divine life, provided one is not himself bored. Idleness may indeed cause the loss of one’s fortune, and so on, but the high-minded man does not fear such dangers; he fears only boredom. The Olympian gods were not bored, they lived happily in happy idleness. A beautiful woman, who neither sews nor spins nor bakes nor reads nor plays the piano, is happy in her idleness, for she is not bored.”

“Now in case a man were able to maintain himself upon the pinnacle of the instant of choice, in case he could cease to be a man, in case he were in his inmost nature only an airy thought, in case personality meant nothing more than to be a kobold…The choice itself is decisive for the content of the personality, through the choice the personality immerses itself in the thing chosen, and when it does not choose it withers away in consumption.”

 “He who chooses the ethical chooses the good, but here the good is entirely abstract, only its being is posited, and hence it does not follow by any means that the chooser cannot in turn choose the evil, in spite of the fact that he chose the good. Here you see again how important it is that a choice be made, and that the crucial thing is not deliberation, but the baptism of the will which lifts up the choice into the ethical.”
He who would define his life task ethically has ordinarily not so considerable a selection to choose from; on the other hand, the act of choice has far more importance for him. If you will understand me aright, I should like to say that in making a choice it is not so much a question of choosing the right as of the energy, the earnestness, the pathos with which one chooses. Thereby the personality announces its inner infinity, and thereby, in turn, the personality is consolidated.”
“But he who mocks others mocks himself, and your rejoinder is not a mere nothing but a profund mockery of yourself, a sorry proof how limp your soul is, that your whole philosophy of life is concentrated in one single proposition, ‘I say merely Either–or.’ In case this really was your serious meaning, there would be nothing one could do with you, one must simply put up with you as you are and deplore the fact that melancholy [literally, heavy-mindedness] or light-mindedness had enfeebled your spirit. Now on the contrary, since one knows very well that such is not the case, one is not tempted to pity you but rather wish that some day the circumstances of your life may tighten upon you the screws in its rack, and compel you to come out with what really dwells in you; that they may begin the sharper inquisition of the rack which cannot be beguiled by nonsense and witticisms.”



“To forget–all men wish to forget, and when something unpleasant happens, they always say: Oh, that one might forget! But forgetting is an art that must be practiced beforehand. The ability to forget is conditioned upon the method of remembering, but this again depends upon the mode of experiencing. Whoever plunges into his experiences with the momentum of hope, will remember so that he cannot forget. Nil admirari* is therefore the real philosophy. No moment must be permitted a greater significance than that it can be forgotten when convenient; each moment ought, however, to have so much significance that it can be recollected at will.”



More To Come in Piece IV…


Posted in Fear Inlandish

Fear Inlandish: Piece II



“But the up-climbing is painful, and from high places it is easy to fall low”


“Let us consider a little more clearly the distress and dread in the paradox of faith.”

“In resignation I make renunciation of everything; this movement I make by myself, and if I do not make it, it is because I am cowardly and effeminate and without enthusiasm and do not feel the significance of the lofty dignity which is assigned to every man, that of being his own censor, which is a far prouder title than that of Censor General to the whole Roman Republic. This movement I make by myself, and what I gain is myself in my eternal consciousness, in blissful agreement with my love for the Eternal Being.”

“The knights of the infinite resignation are easily recognized: their gait is gliding and assured. Those on the other hand who carry the jewel of faith are likely to be delusive, because their outward appearance bears a striking resemblance to that which both the infinite resignation and faith profoundly despise — to Philistinism.”

“When one would learn to make the motions of swimming one can let oneself be hung by a swimming-belt from the ceiling and go through the motions (describe them, so to speak, as we speak of describing a circle), but one is not swimming. In that way I can describe the movements of faith, but when I am thrown into the water, I swim, it is true (for I don’t belong to the beach waders), but I make other movements, I make the movements of infinity, whereas faith does the opposite: after having made the movements to infinity, it makes those of finiteness.”

“However, in our time people concern themselves rather little about making pure movements. In case one who was about to learn to dance were to say, ‘For centuries now one generation after another has been learning positions, it is high time I drew some advantage out of this and began straightway with the French dances’–then people will laugh at him; but in the world of spirit they find this exceedingly plausible. What is education? I should suppose that education was the curriculum one had to run through in order to catch up with oneself, and he who will not pass through this curriculum is helped very little by the fact that he was born in the most enlightened age.”


More to Come in Piece III…