Soren Kierkegaard Quotes

By | 11.08.2022
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Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. Soren Kierkegaard

Adversity draws men together and produces beauty and harmony in life’s relationships, just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers on the window-panes, which vanish with the warmth. Soren Kierkegaard

I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations – one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it – you will regret both. Soren Kierkegaard

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it. Soren Kierkegaard

Men think that it is impossible for a human being to love his enemies, for enemies are hardly able to endure the sight of one another. Well, then, shut your eyes–and your enemy looks just like your neighbor. Soren Kierkegaard

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. Soren Kierkegaard

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. Soren Kierkegaard

The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly one you’ll never have. Soren Kierkegaard

The deepest form of despair is to choose to be another than himself. Soren Kierkegaard

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. Soren Kierkegaard

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom. Søren Kierkegaard , The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin

If I were a physician, and if I were allowed to prescribe just one remedy for all the ills of the modern world, I would prescribe silence. For even if the Word of God were proclaimed in the modern world, how could one hear it with so much noise? Therefore, create silence. Soren Kierkegaard

The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins. Soren Kierkegaard, The Journals of Kierkegaard

Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are. Soren Kierkegaard

People understand me so poorly that they don’t even understand my complaint about them not understanding me. Søren Kierkegaard, The Journals of Kierkegaard

I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved. Soren Kierkegaard

Don’t forget to love yourself. Soren Kierkegaard

The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived. Soren Kierkegaard

It is very dangerous to go into eternity with possibilities which one has oneself prevented from becoming realities. A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it. Soren Kierkegaard

Take a chance and you may lose. Take not a chance and you have lost already. Soren Kierkegaard

The most common form of despair is not being who you are. Søren Kierkegaard

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. Soren Kierkegaard

Once can advise comfortably from a safe port. Soren Kierkegaard

Every human being is tried this way in the active service of expectancy. Now comes the fulfillment and relieves him, but soon he is again placed on reconnaissance for expectancy; then he is again relieved, but as long as there is any future for him, he has not yet finished his service. And while human life goes on this way in very diverse expectancy, expecting very different things according to different times and occasions and in different frames of mind, all life is again one nightwatch of expectancy. Soren Kierkegaard

It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards. Søren Kierkegaard

Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts. Soren Kierkegaard

Trouble is the common denominator of the living. It is the great equalizer. Soren Kierkegaard

Death cannot explain itself. The earnestness consists precisely in this, that the observer must explain it to himself. Soren Kierkegaard

The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed. Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening

Boredom is the root of all evil – the despairing refusal to be oneself. Soren Kierkegaard

There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming. Soren Kierkegaard

God creates everything out of nothing. And everything which God is to use, he first reduces to nothing. Soren Kierkegaard

It’s better to get lost in the passion than to lose the passion. Soren Kierkegaard

I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both. Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own. Soren Kierkegaard

If anyone on the verge of actions should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin. Soren Kierkegaard

Philosophy is life’s dry-nurse, who can take care of us – but not suckle us. Soren Kierkegaard

Do it or don’t do it – you will regret both. Soren Kierkegaard

What labels me, negates me. Soren Kierkegaard

Don’t forget to love yourself. Soren Kierkegaard

Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forwards. Soren Kierkegaard

Most people rush after pleasure so fast that they rush right past it. Soren Kierkegaard

Once you label me you negate me. Soren Kierkegaard

Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy. Søren Kierkegaard

It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite. Soren Kierkegaard

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself. Soren Kierkegaard

The crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die. Soren Kierkegaard

The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown. Soren Kierkegaard

Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God. Soren Kierkegaard

Leap of faith – yes, but only after reflection. Soren Kierkegaard

In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant… My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known — no wonder, then, that I return the love. Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

Marriage brings one into fatal connection with custom and tradition, and traditions and customs are like the wind and weather, altogether incalculable. Soren Kierkegaard

What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music…. And people flock around the poet and say: ‘Sing again soon’ – that is, ‘May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the cry would only frighten us, but the music, that is blissful. Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or

God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners. Soren Kierkegaard, The Journals of Kierkegaard

Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living. Soren Kierkegaard

Father in Heaven! When the thought of thee wakes in our hearts let it not awaken like a frightened bird that flies about in dismay, but like a child waking from its sleep with a heavenly smile. Soren Kierkegaard

Without risk, faith is an impossibility. Soren Kierkegaard

A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke. Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, Part I

Not just in commerce but in the world of ideas too our age is putting on a veritable clearance sale. Everything can be had so dirt cheap that one begins to wonder whether in the end anyone will want to make a bid. Soren Kierkegaard

It is essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important. Soren Kierkegaard

How did I get into the world? Why was I not asked about it and why was I not informed of the rules and regulations but just thrust into the ranks as if I had been bought by a peddling shanghaier of human beings? How did I get involved in this big enterprise called actuality? Why should I be involved? Isn’t it a matter of choice? And if I am compelled to be involved, where is the manager—I have something to say about this. Is there no manager? To whom shall I make my complaint? Soren Kierkegaard

Who am I? How did I come into the world? Why was I not consulted? Soren Kierkegaard

Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved. Those who think they can love only the people they prefer do not love at all. Love discovers truths about individuals that others cannot see. Soren Kierkegaard

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself. Soren Kierkegaard

What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears? Soren Kierkegaard

The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays. Soren Kierkegaard

Boredom is the root of all evil – the despairing refusal to be oneself. Soren Kierkegaard

The question is not “To be or not to be,” it is what we should be until we are not. Soren Kierkegaard

I’m so misunderstood that people misunderstand me even when I tell them I’m misunderstood. Soren Kierkegaard

If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility! Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music. Soren Kierkegaard

It is one thing to introduce a new doctrine into the world, it is something else to live it. Soren Kierkegaard

The self-assured believer is a greater sinner in the eyes of God than the troubled disbeliever. Soren Kierkegaard

For without risk there is no faith, and the greater the risk, the greater the faith. Soren Kierkegaard

Love is all, it gives all, and it takes all. Soren Kierkegaard

I found I had less and less to say, until finally, I became silent, and began to listen. I discovered in the silence, the voice of God. Soren Kierkegaard

Be that self which one truly is. Soren Kierkegaard

It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey. Soren Kierkegaard

During the first period of a man’s life, the greatest danger is not to take the risk. Soren Kierkegaard

Hope is passion for what is possible. Soren Kierkegaard

Confidence is the present tense of hope. Soren Kierkegaard

To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…. And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self. Søren Kierkegaard

I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved. Soren Kierkegaard

To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity. Soren Kierkegaard

Old age realizes the dreams of youth: look at Dean Swift; in his youth he built an asylum for the insane, in his old age he was himself an inmate. Soren Kierkegaard

Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good. Soren Kierkegaard

The door to happiness opens outward. Soren Kierkegaard

People commonly travel the world over to see rivers and mountains, new stars, garish birds, freak fish, grotesque breeds of human; they fall into an animal stupor that gapes at existence and they think they have seen something. Soren Kierkegaard

Most people are subjective toward themselves and objective toward all others, frightfully objective sometimes – but the task is precisely to be objective toward oneself and subjective toward all others. Soren Kierkegaard

If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin. Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important. Soren Kierkegaard

Worship isn’t God’s show. God is the audience. God’s watching. The congregation, they are the actors in this drama. Worship is their show. And the minister is just reminding the people of their forgotten lines. Soren Kierkegaard

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right. Søren Kierkegaard

Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further. Soren Kierkegaard

Christ has not only spoken to us by his life but has also spoken for us by his death. Soren Kierkegaard

To love another person is to help them love God. Soren Kierkegaard

The proud person always wants to do the right thing, the great thing. But because he wants to do it in his own strength, he is fighting not with man, but with God. Soren A. Kierkegaard

At the bottom of enmity between strangers lies indifference. Soren Kierkegaard

I am so stupid that I cannot understand philosophy; the antithesis of this is that philosophy is so clever that it cannot comprehend my stupidity. These antitheses are mediated in a higher unity; in our common stupidity. Soren Kierkegaard

A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him. Soren Kierkegaard

When one has once fully entered the realm of love, the world — no matter how imperfect — becomes rich and beautiful, it consists solely of opportunities for love. Soren Kierkegaard

To the Christian, love is the works of love. To say that love is a feeling or anything of the kind is an unchristian conception of love. That is the aesthetic definition and therefore fits the erotic and everything of that nature. But to the Christian love is the works of love. Christ’s love was not an inner feeling, a full heart and what not, it was the work of love which was his life. Soren Kierkegaard

The more a person limits himself, the more resourceful he becomes. Soren Kierkegaard

Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion — and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion… while truth again reverts to a new minority. Soren Kierkegaard

Take away paradox from the thinker and you have a professor. Soren Kierkegaard

All distinctions between the many different kinds of love are essentially abolished by Christianity. Soren Kierkegaard

If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. Soren Kierkegaard

The thing that cowardice fears most is decision. Soren Kierkegaard

Many of us pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that we hurry past it. Søren Kierkegaard

Trouble is the common denominator of living. It is the great equalizer. Soren Kierkegaard

Unhappiness is not to love without being loved, but to be loved when one does not love. Soren Kierkegaard

Wherever there is a crowd there is untruth. Soren Kierkegaard

It is perhaps the misfortune of my life that I am interested in far too much but not decisively in any one thing; all my interests are not subordinated in one but stand on an equal footing. Soren Kierkegaard quotes

To love another in spite of his weaknesses and errors and imperfections is not perfect love. No, to love is to find him lovable in spite of and together with his weakness and errors and imperfections. Soren Kierkegaard

The truth is a trap: you cannot get it without it getting you; you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you. Soren Kierkegaard

To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner. I am not a teacher, only a fellow student. Soren Kierkegaard

The truth is a snare: you cannot have it, without being caught. You cannot have the truth in such a way that you catch it, but only in such a way that it catches you. Soren Kierkegaard

The hidden life of love, in its most inward depths, is unfathomable, and still has a boundless relationship with the whole of existence. As the quiet lake is fed by the flow of hidden springs, which no eye sees, so a human being’s love is grounded in God’s love. If there were no spring at the bottom, if God were not love, there would be neither a lake nor human love. Soren Kierkegaard

Since boredom advances and boredom is the root of all evil, no wonder, then, that the world goes backwards, that evil spreads. This can be traced back to the very beginning of the world. The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings. Soren Kierkegaard

Prayer is a silent surrendering of everything to God. Soren Kierkegaard

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