By Robert L Perkins
Famed for the intensity and acuity of its sleek mental insights, this vintage paintings of theistic existentialist inspiration explores the concept that of melancholy.
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Extra resources for Sickness Unto Death (International Kierkegaard Commentary)
Despair can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Despair is advantageous in that it signals the difference between myself as spirit and a beast, disadvantageous in that it is perdition and loss of self. "Despair is the misrelationship in a relation of a synthesis which relates itself to itself" (SUD, 15). Despair is an affair of free dom; to fall into despair is not like becoming lame, blind, or halt. These afflictions come from without, but, because I inflict it on my self, despair comes from within.
Thus whereas actuality does a favor to the former kind of despair by punishing it, it shows this form of illness the dubious friendship of reinforc ing it. Since it is clear that at least one example of the despair of fini tude would be the self that gets to the ethical stage but not beyond it, treating as ultimate the determinateness of a given social order, it makes sense to ask whether the despair of infinity corresponds to the aesthetic stage on life's way. One only needs to ask the ques tion to see how appropriate an affirmative answer is.
In The Sickness unto Death as elsewhere in Kierkegaard's writings, "humanly 54 International Kierkegaard Commentary Actual life is too complex merely to point out abstract contrasts such as that between a despair that is completely unaware of being so and a despair that is completely aware of being so. Very often the person in despair probably has a dim idea of his own state, al though here again the nuances are myriad. To some degree, he is aware of being in despair, feels it in the way a person does who walks around with a physical malady but does not want to ac knowledge forthrightly the real nature of the illness.