I seem to be drawn, these days, to readings of a distinctly foreboding nature, philosophical outlooks despairing of the human condition, views that someone of a stoic nature might see as realistic, I suppose, but for those of us who rabidly consume the news a dark psychic presence persists as a familiar companion. This even though the scientific community races to relieve us of the potential devastation of the dreaded virus, developing, as they are, a viable vaccination.
Nevertheless, here I am, reading more Kierkegaard. ‘The Unhappiest One’ is written as an address to ‘The Fellowship of Buried Lives’, a rumination on who most aptly deserves the title. The first test is whether the contestant fears death, an immediate disqualification since the unhappiest one must certainly be without hope or sense of life’s values. To further cull the dour participants the title holder must to be found unhappy in her personal memories of the past and deceived in her hope for the future by the shadow of memory (K’s words here); hers is an unhappy consciousness.
Well, I’m certainly not in the running for such a title and I suppose there is something cathartic about grasping the idea of true, deep sorrow. Still, I really need to find something to read that’s a bit more uplifting.
I think you’d be better off reading the Stoics. At least they try to make the best of whatever the situation is. Hopelessness isn’t really an option. One has to act and do ones best. Sure, you might have to accept the way things are, or a dire situation, but then you need to get one with it and play the cards you’ve been dealt they best you are able. That process would tend to make one feel better. I feel like some of the existentialists and their ilk wallow a bit in depression. That’s a bit of a luxury, since it’s harder to do if you are busy getting things done, or just doing your job, etc., which isn’t writing books about how awful things are, or can be. Just a thought. There’s definitely a time to read Kierkegaard. I haven’t found it yet, but I’m sure it’s good to look at reality from a range of different angles. In the end, though, one needs to get things done, and whatever “philosophy” facilitates that is going to be better, practically speaking, than one that undermines it, IMHO.
No question K’s a dour sort and the Stoics as well; to address such with a certain sense of humor one must at least find catharsis there.