In summers of 1834 and 1835 Søren Kierkegaard was in a state of violent mental unrest and ferment. For a time he was obliged to break off his studies entirely and retire to Gilleleje, a coastal resort. There he attempted to clarify his thoughts and among other things wrote in his notes: "What I really need is to come to terms with myself about what I am to do, not about what I am to know, except insomuch as knowledge must precede every act. It is a matter of understanding my destiny, of seeing what the Divinity actually wants me to do; what counts is to find a truth, which is true for me, to find that idea for which I will live and die."
When a memorial stone was erected on Gilbjerg Head at Gilleleje in 1935 to commemorate the centenary of the intellectual emergence of the young Kierkegaard, these words from his notebook were inscribed on the stone: "What is truth but to live for an idea."
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Posted by Samuel J. Howard at 7:48 AM