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Though it will make the Bill Mahers of the world wince, despair according to Kierkegaard is a lack of awareness of being a self or spirit. A Freud with religious categories up his sleeves, the lyrical philosopher emphasized that the self is a slice of eternity.

Maybe Bill Maher could just have it explained to him by one of the agnostic physicists who say the same thing, and then he can be depressed without wincing.


I wanna be a nice mid-level baseball star, without the nonstop attention that guys like A-Rod and Jeter get from the press. Chase Utley, say. I'd make millions per year relatively anonymously.


I think everyone everywhere imagines, or would like to be, someone else.

And contra Kierkegaard, I'm certain there's many people who are quite aware of themselves as selves or spirits yet suffer depression, if not the "despair" he speaks of. In fact I'd wager self aware people are even more susceptible to it.

Kierkegaard might be one of those out of date overworshipped cultural sorts it's time to throw overboard. Like The Doors.


despair according to Kierkegaard is a lack of awareness of being a self or spirit

Is despair an excellence or a defect? Purely dialectically, it is both. The possibility of this sickness is man's superiority over the animal, for it indicates infinite sublimity that he is spirit. Consequently, to be able to despair is an infinite advantage, and yet to be in despair is not only the worst misfortune and misery—no, it is ruination.

SK's point is not that despair is being unaware, it is of being aware AND NOT BEING IN SPIRIT!

When the self is out of balance, i.e., has the wrong understanding of who it is because it conceives itself too much in terms of its own limiting circumstances and thus fails to recognize its own freedom to determine what it will be or too much in terms of what it would like to be, thus ignoring its own circumstances, the person is in a state of despair.

In other words, to be ignorant of spirit is not despair: it's mere ignorance and one can be perfectly blissful in one's ignorance. Despair is being aware there is a higher calling and missing it completely.

Sheesh. What a moe-ron...

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