Comparing Kierkegaard's Knights Of Faith

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The process of putting two disparate philosophers in dialogue with each other, in an attempt to reconcile their views, is an old philosophical tradition. Early Christians grappled with making platonic theory and catholic doctrine compatible. The great scholars of Bagdad worked to let Aristotle and the Quran stand side by side. While it may seem like such attempts are simply efforts to “have cake and eat it too”, there is much to be learned from evaluating a text in light of what may at first seem to be an opposing view. Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling and Nietzsche’s The Gay Science are examples of cases that can be served by one placing them in dialogue with each other. When one considers Kierkegaard’s knights of faith and infinite resignation, …show more content…
Kierkegaard explains that the greatest outcomes, stem from the expectation of the impossible (Kierkegaard, 30). The knight of faith, strengthened by his singular relationship, reaches for what others would declare out of his grasp. He takes joy in the effort to embrace the absurd absolutely (Kierkegaard, 44). For example, Kierkegaard tells the story of a man walking home to his wife who has the expectation of an impossible meal. This man is a creator of “apparent truths” (Nietzsche, 133). The knights willing of the impossible acts to create the new. There is also an internal creation. Nietzsche tells the reader that one must shape one’s self, or give style. He explains “It is practiced by those who survey everything that their nature offers in the way of strengths and weaknesses, then fit them all in to an artistic plan, until each thing appears as art and reason, and even the weakness charms the eye” (Nietzsche, 144). It is in this that one can recognize a difference between the knight of infinite resignation and the knight of faith. The knight of infinite resignation takes a look at himself and sees clearly what he perceives as flaws, stemming from failure to measure up to the universal. The knight of faith sees himself and takes joy, through his absolute belief in the singular. He does what Nietzsche says is needful and “attains …show more content…
The knight is instead defined by his singular relationship with god. Kierkegaard explains to the reader that the only way to truly understand such actions, is to experience them subjectively. As Silentio, Kierkegaard tells the story of Abraham to make his point. One cannot give a universal value to Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to god. It is made quite clear, that people who hear the story and conclude that they should too sacrifice their sons are not getting the right message (Kierkegaard, 36). Yet, Abraham was still in the right. Abraham’s actions were correct, but only for someone who is experiencing his singular experience. The knight of faith, who Abraham represents, does not try to force his singular experiences into universal expectations. He does not preach, he is indistinguishable from the rest and it is this movement that dovetails this knight with Nietzsche (Kierkegaard, 44). To Nietzsche all experiences are singular and to “perceive one judgment as universal law…is a blind, petty, and unpretentious selfishness” (Nietzsche, 140) (Nietzsche, 147). The externalizing of one’s judgement is the crux of the argument. It is not that Nietzsche thinks that there should be no singular moralities, in fact he writes that the idea of looking at the multitude of singular moralities and coming to the conclusion that “no

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