True self

Kierkegaard and the True Self’s Alienation

By Benjamin Cain

The full article can be found at:

“…modern secularists face a choice between, on the one hand, conforming to popular ways of life which typically require that we objectify or otherwise degrade ourselves, and on the other, divorcing ourselves from mass society as required by righteous disgust with phony personhood. Of course, staying true to yourself when tempted to succumb to regressive preordained roles is rare in consumer society… To be a Kierkegaardian existentialist or Christian is to struggle with the horror of the abyss between God and the created individual—which an atheist can construe as the conflict between the antihuman otherness of reality and our pretense that we can understand everything despite our natural limits. … The more you struggle with depression or anxiety, the less likely you are to succeed in worldly terms; on the contrary, whether in business or in social relationships, that success depends on deference to noble lies, which is anathema to anyone who cares about philosophical truth. Moreover, existential suffering is chronic and incurable; recognizing the farness and alienness of God and thus the ultimate futility of our rationality isn’t a stepping stone to achieving a greater good, since the resulting disgust and horror already indicate you’ve attained the higher good of being your true self. ”


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