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The Concept of Despair in the “Sickness unto Death” by Soren Kierkegaard Essay

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Introduction

Soren Kierkegaard makes a clear elaboration on the concept of sickness not leading to death in the Christian perspective. A clear illustration of that ideology is supported by the biblical story of Jesus raising Lazarus from death. While narrating the story of Lazarus, the author suggests that if Lazarus’ sickness led to death, then raising him would not have been beneficial.

A contrast between what is termed as a natural person and a Christian is drawn so as to understand their varying perception on death. The natural person views death as the end, while to a Christian death is a mere step on the journey to eternal life.

The message conveyed in the introductory statement shows that sickness does not lead to death in the Christian sense; hence ruling out any fear by a Christian towards death. On the same note, sickness unto death is discussed. It is termed as the spiritual death, which according to Kierkegaard is something a Christian ought to fear (Kierkegaard, 9).

What amounts sickness unto death

The notion that sickness does not cause death has been narrowed to an explanation of what amounts to a death. Despair is what is referred to as sickness unto death in the life of a Christian. Despair creates a barrier between a Christian and God’s plan. In other words, a

Christian becomes inconsistent with God’s plans for the Christian. It has also been termed as losing the self. To present a further elaboration on the concept of one losing self, humanity is defined as the existence of significant tensions between the infinite and finite. The said tensions are held at a balance on one hand, while tensions between what is necessary and possible. The said elements of desire are interlinked with dialectical balancing of the antagonistic features (Kierkegaard, 63).

Though human beings are said to be inherently reflective and self alert, this alone does not result in self realization. To achieve self realization, human beings ought to be conscious and in conformity with a higher purpose; that is, God’s plan for a human being. Any individual who denies the existence of the higher purpose which has the duty of sustaining life, he/she is said to be in despair (Kierkegaard, 25).

Despair and its three categories

The failure to recognize the existence of God has been explained as despair. Despair is divided into three main types. To start with, is the unconscious despair which entails the unnoticed element of a self. This desire is also described as inauthentic despair since it is a despair created by ignorance. In this state of affairs, an individual is totally unaware of self distinct from reality. The second form of despair is using the immediate events or terms to define self.

In this form of despair, an individual appreciates that he/she has self but desires to lose it by arranging the finite life hence losing the power to realize the self. The last form of despair encompasses the awareness of self but a staunch refusal to surrender to the direction of the will of God. This despair does not acknowledge the creator. In a nut shell, the despair certainly means that an individual denies the reality by not becoming the person he/she is created to be (Kierkegaard, 9).

The true test to despair is to merge the finite with the infinite. Essentially, an individual out of despair is one who has faith. The recognition of the existence of God and self is the immunity to despair. At that moment, the recognition of self is held to rest where it was created (Kierkegaard, 27).

Conclusion

As mentioned above, sickness does not lead to death in the Christian perception. The only death in the Christian life is despair. Despair is defined and it types discussed. In addition, the solution to be adopted to avoid despair is offered after the discussion of the forms of despair. The recognition of the true self and the existence of a sustainer otherwise termed as faith are the only opposite way to avert despair.

Works Cited

Kierkegaard, Søren. Sickness Unto Death: Sören Kierkegaard. S.l.: Wilder Publications, 2008. Print.

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"The Concept of Despair in the “Sickness unto Death” by Soren Kierkegaard." IvyPanda, 16 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-concept-of-despair-in-the-sickness-unto-death-by-soren-kierkegaard-essay/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Concept of Despair in the “Sickness unto Death” by Soren Kierkegaard." December 16, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-concept-of-despair-in-the-sickness-unto-death-by-soren-kierkegaard-essay/.


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IvyPanda. "The Concept of Despair in the “Sickness unto Death” by Soren Kierkegaard." December 16, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-concept-of-despair-in-the-sickness-unto-death-by-soren-kierkegaard-essay/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Concept of Despair in the “Sickness unto Death” by Soren Kierkegaard." December 16, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-concept-of-despair-in-the-sickness-unto-death-by-soren-kierkegaard-essay/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Concept of Despair in the “Sickness unto Death” by Soren Kierkegaard'. 16 December.

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