PHIL 367 - Lecture (Mar. 12th)
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The Lad and his Princess
Supposed to illustrate the knight of infinite resignation. The man loves the princess,
but the princess cannot be with the lad. The lad has found the one thing that he will
live for and die for – unconditional love. It is the beginning of infinite resignation.
He realizes that he will not get the princess. He lets go of the princess, and he
renounces the whole content of his life. In thus, he transforms it into something
higher; it becomes a love for eternal being. This denies him the fulfilment of his life,
but reconciles him in the eternal consciousness of love's validity in an eternal form
that nobody can take from him.
How? Theories of sublimation
There is peace and solace in this resignation; he is now outside the realm of flux
and finite change of pain and suffering; he is immune to pain, and he has invested
all his positive values into the infinite (ascetic!)
This movement of infinite resignation is a move achieved by an act of self-mastery,
of the will, entirely self-sufficient. If he does not make the movement it is because
he is weak and cowardly.
The knight of infinite resignation does not make claims on anyone, does not define
himself on his worldly relations. He is focused on infinite reflection on himself, and
has made himself his sole concern.
This is the same as to resign oneself to God.
This movement can be understood – unlike the movement of faith – but this is a life
that is thought, not lived, because in a sense the lad has lost his finite, temporal
self, in exchange for the immortality of his love.
To make the movement of faith, the knight must believe that he can actually
receive the princess back. This is to be contrasted with naivete, which is the belief
that the individual can achieve anything. It is not that everything is possible for the
individual; rather, everything is possible for the perspective of God. To have an
individual perspective in this case is not to make the movement of faith.
The knight of faith therefore would believe that he would get the girl back, in his
temporal life, but from a possibility that extends from God.
Kierkegaard makes a distinction between a first immediacy and a second
immediacy (later immediacy), the latter which is the immediacy that comes when
one has made the movement of faith.
In this second movement, the later immediacy, is the moment that is the truth of
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