Kierkegaard 1843

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"At one time I was very close to complete satisfaction,. I got up feeling unusually well one morning. My sense of well-being increased incomparably until noon; at precisely one o'clock, I was at the peak and had a presentiment of the dizzy maximum found on no gauge of well-being, not even on a poetic thermometer. My body had lost its terrestrial gravity; it was as if I had no body simply because every function enjoyed total satisfaction, every nerve delighted in itself and in the whole, while every heartbeat, the restlessness of the living being, only memorialized and declared the pleasure of the moment. My walk was a floating, not like the flight of the bird that cuts through the air and leaves the earth behind, but like the undulating of the wind over a field of grain, like the longing rocking of the sea, like the dreaming drifting of the clouds. My being was transparent, like the depths of the sea, like the self-satisfied silence of the night, like the soliloquizing stillness of midday. Every mood rested in my soul with melodic resonance. Every thought volunteered itself, and every thought volunteered itself jubilantly, the most foolish whim as well as the richest idea. I had a presentiment of every impression before it arrived and awakened within me. all existence seemed to have fallen in love with me, and everything quivered in fateful rapport with my being. Everything was prescient in me, and everything was enigmatically transfigured in my microcosmic bliss, which transfigured everything in itself, even the most disagreeable: the most boring remark, the most disgusting sight, the most calamitous conflict. As stated, it was one o'clock on the dot when I was at the peak and had presentiments of the highest of all; when suddenly something began to irritate one of my eyes, whether it was an eyelash, a speck of something, a bit of dust, I do not know, but this I do know -- that in the same instant I was plunged down almost into the abyss of despair, something everyone will readily understand who has been as high up as I was and while at that point has also pondered the theoretical question of whether absolute satisfaction is attainable at all." (173-4)
"The older a person grows, the more he understands life and the more he relishes the amenities and is able to appreciate them -- in short, the more competent one becomes, the less satisfied one is. Satisfied, completely, absolutely satisfied in every way, this one never is, and to be more or less satisfied is not worth the trouble, so it is better to be completely dissatisfied." (172)


"I know a place a few miles from Copenhagen where a young girl lives; I know the big shaded garden with its many trees and bushes. I know a bushy slope a short distance away, from which, concealed by the brush, one can look down into the garden. I have not divulged this to anyone; not even my coachman knows it, for I deceive him by getting out some distance away and walking to the right instead of the left. When my mind is sleepless and the sight of my bed makes me more apprehensive than a torture machine does, even more than the operating table strikes fear in the sick person, then I drive all night long. Early in the morning, I lie in hiding in the shelter of the brush. When life begins to stir, when the sun opens its eye, when the bird shakes its wings, when the fox steals out of its cave, when the farmer stands in his doorway and gazes out over the fields, when the milkmaid walks with her pail down to the meadow, when the reaper makes his scythe ring and entertains himself with this prelude, which becomes the day's and the task's refrain -- then the young girl also appears. Fortunate the one who can sleep! Fortunate the one who can sleep so lightly that sleep itself does not become a burden heavier than that of the day! Fortunate the one who can rise from his bed as if no one had rested there, so that the bed itself is cool and delicious and refreshing to look at, as if the sleeper had not rested upon it but only bent over it to straighten it out! Fortunate the one who can die in such a way that even one's deathbed, the instant one's body is removed, looks more inviting than if a solicitous mother had shaken and aired the covers so that the child might sleep more peacefully! Then the young girl appears and walks around in wonderment (who marvels most, the girl or the trees!), then she crouches and picks from the bushes, then skips lightly about, then stands still, lost in thought,. What wonderful persuasion in all this! Then at last my mind finds repose." (167-8)


"I am at the end of my rope. I am nauseated by life; it is insipid -- without salt and meaning. If i were hungrier than Pierrot, I would not choose to eat the explanation people offer. One sticks a finger into the ground to smell what country one is in; I stick my finger into the world -- it has no smell. Where am I? What does it mean to say: the world? What is the meaning of the word? Who tricked me into this whole thing and leaves me standing here? Who am I? How did I get into the world? Why was I not asked about it, why was I not informed of the rules and regulations but just thrust into the ranks as if I had been bought from a peddling shanghaier of human beings? How did I get involved in this big enterprise called actuality? Why should I be involved? Isn't it a matter of choice? And if I am compelled to be involved, where is the manager -- I have something to say about this. Is there no manager? To whom shall I make my complaint? After all, life is a debate -- may I ask that my observations be considered? If one has to take life as it is, would it not be best to find out how things go?" (200 -- letter from Young Man to Silent Confidant)