Kierkegaard's Prophetic Analysis Of The Present Age

1000 Words 4 Pages
Kierkegaard uses the parable of the jewel, to illustrate the difference in thought in the passionate and reflective ages. In the following essay, I will explore the difference between the two ages to gain a deeper understanding of Kierkegaard’s sentiments behind the example, before explaining the parable and showing how his prophetic analysis is truer than ever.

Kierkegaard begins the The Present Age by stating that the present age is “one of understanding and reflection, without passion, momentarily bursting into enthusiasm, and shrewdly relapsing into repose” (1846, p33). I will begin by exploring what Kierkegaard meant by ‘passion’ and ‘reflection’. Kierkegaard sees passion, in contrast with reflection, as a desire to engage, to participate
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When lost in reflection, one tries to limit themselves to only the positive aspects of life, rationalizing decisions, thereby avoiding uncertainty and the risk that follows. It has become the norm to chase security, safety and avoid the unknown in relation to life choices. The dating apps today are trying to come up with algorithms that make it safer for the individual to ‘fall’ in love, to have the security of a blanket when ‘falling’ in love and likewise with other life altering decisions wherein the future cannot be predicted. In such instances, the passionate choice to take a ‘leap of faith’ in the dark is made ‘safer’ by rational and reflective thought. The selective portrayal of one’s achievements on social media paves the way for envy rather than admiration. Social psychologist Muzafer Sherif (1936) concluded in an experiment using autokinetic effect in a dark room to create ambiguity, that people conformed to group opinions when put in ambiguous situations. Kelman (1958) regarded this as internalization, he said that, “This occurs 'when an individual accepts influence because the content of the induced behavior - the ideas and actions of which it is composed - is intrinsically rewarding. He adopts the induced behavior because it is congruent with his value system” (1958, p. 53). This can be seen largely with social trends in fashion, politics etc., whereby ones’ individuality is subsumed by the “public”

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