Friday, July 06, 2012

charismatic Kierkegaard: holy laughter in the 7th heaven

Since Kierkegaard was full of subversion and pseudonymns, some have wondered if this story (or some version of it) was a "really real"  dream or experience of his.    (Guy Chevreau actually adapts/Christianizes it by translating "God" for "gods" etc, and assumes it happened to SK.. he even drops the psuedonym).  Here's a standard translation:

Something wonderful has happened to me .
I was raptured up into the seventh heaven.
 There all the gods sat assembled. By special grace I was granted the favor of a request.  ‘Will you,’ said Mercury, ‘have youth, or beauty, or power, or a long life, or the most beautiful maiden, or any of the other glories we have in the chest? Choose, but only one thing.’
 For a moment I was at a loss. 

Then I addressed myself to the gods as follows: ‘Most honorable contemporaries, I choose this one thing, that I may always have the laugh on my side.’

 Not one of the gods said a word, on the contrary, they all began to laugh. 

Hence I concluded that my request was granted, and found that the gods knew how to express themselves with taste; for it would hardly have been suitable for them to have answered gravely: 

‘It is granted thee.’”
~Source: Either/Or: A Fragment of Life (1843)
Author: Søren Kierkegaard, using the pseudonym Victor Eremita

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