Friday, April 01, 2005

Kierkegaard on Individuality

I was waiting on my computer to do some stupid thing, and flipped open my copy of Provocations just to have something to do. My eyes immediately fell upon this passage, which, for some odd reason, I find to be most insightful:
True individuality is measured by this: how long or how far one can endure being alone without the understanding of others. The person who can endure being alone is poles apart from the social mixer. He is miles apart from the man-pleaser., the one who manages successfully with everyone--he who possesses no sharp edges. God never uses such people. The true individual, anyone who is going to be directly involved with God, will not and cannot avoid the human bite. He will be thoroughly mis-understood. God is no friend of cozy human gathering.
It is important to understand what Kierkegaard is NOT saying here, as well as what he is saying. He's not saying that those who are socially inept and loud-mouthed bores are the people who God uses. Rather, it is those people who are more concerned with what God thinks of them in contrast to what their friends, family and neighbors think.

For proof, I cite all four Gospels in the New Testament. Here we see Jesus far more concerned with truth and honesty than making friends and just getting along. He called it going about his Father's business. The Pharisees called it blasphemy. Even with the very real threat of death, Jesus does not sway from the course set by his Father, but stays obedient to the Lord's will to the very end. Certainly Jesus was a victim of the "human bite."

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