Kierkegaard Essay, Research Paper
Kierkegaard felt that subjective reflection was more crucial to the individual life than objective reflection because it focused on passion and human existence instead of logic and impersonal truth. The objective world is the world of facts and truth independent of the perceptions of humans. Objective reflection focuses on what actually is, in the objective world. Objective reflection centers on the things and ideas in the world that can give meaning to life. The subjective world is the world of human thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. It focuses on the relationship between people and their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions in respect to their lives. It centers on how meaning in life is viewed subjectively, or how humans find meaning in their lives. So, basically what he is saying is, it is the relationship to what a person values in life.
One major difference I noticed in the reading, between the objective and subjective realms, is in regards to ‘being’ versus ‘becoming’. Kierkegaard stated the objective world is as it is: being. The subjective world is always ‘becoming’ something else through internal conflicts and struggle. However, the latter difference then kind of creates a chain as another difference arises between the two realms. The objective world is based in reason, while the subjective world is based in passion.
Kierkegaard believed that subjective reflection was the key understanding meaning in life. He kind of complains with the objective reflection stating that it is impersonal and an indifferent relation to existence. As a matter of fact, this terminology as I shall call it, defines just what the objective world and objective reflection is: being independent of any human subjectivity. Subjective reflection naturally focuses on human existence in a personal, inward way without ‘detachment’ as Kierkegaard put it.
Kierkegaard goes on to use the knowledge of God as an example to show why subjective reflection is more important. He believes that there is the objective reflection that states that this is the true God, but subjectively, the relation to God that the person has, is a God-relation. He makes sure to point out that there really is no truth in the situation without the relation to God because the relation to God is more important than the objective proof of God’s existence. So with that in mind, to treat God objectively is to treat Him as an object. However, God is a subject and therefore can only be related to subjectively in inwardness.
So it is the HOW which is important to Kierkegaard, not the WHAT. The strongest example of his reasons for this comes in his idea of the leap of faith when faced with the ‘absurd’. I say absurd partially because Kierkegaard is an existentialist, yet different from those of modern present time. The absurd, with consideration to Christianity, is the idea that the eternal God could never actually exist in human form as Christ did. It is a paradox, it just cannot happen. There can be no objective justification for such a paradox at all. Kierkegaard sees this not too important because what is truly important is the relationship one has to God. This is where the leap of faith comes into place. One is faced with complete absurdity and paradox, and one then abandons reason for completely blind faith. There is no rational justification for it, only inward justification for the existing individual. For Kierkegaard there really was no point in finding objective truths, he only truly valued subjective truth. This meant that the truth was in respect to a person’s relations to other things in the world or to God. Because of this, subjective reflection was crucial and more important for human existence because subjective reflection embraced passion and faith in existing individuals. This idea was demonstrated in the leap of faith that one has in relation to God. To Kierkegaard, this was the highest way of life for the existing individual. The life of faith is the highest form of human existence.