"The Unhappiest Man"

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Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 09:39 am
Seeing there's at least one resident Kierkegaard expert in this forum, I thought I might pose this question here.

In the "The Unhappiest Man" in the "Either" volume of Either/Or, an example of an unhappy (the unhappiest?) man is one who hopes for what should be a memory and remembers that for which he should hope. Now, I can relate to hoping in the future for what should be or have been past experience as I've done so personally.

But the second of the above combination has left me scratching my head. Kierkegaard writes, "for the future he already anticipated in thought, in thought already experienced it, and this experience he now remembers, instead of hoping for it." How can this be? The only thing I could think of is one who feels full assurance of a future life in paradise therefore making it a soon-to-be past experience (in thought already experienced it). I don't think that is to what he is referring as that a future experience is said to be remembered. What is it about? I feel like I'm missing the obvious.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 10:53 am
@Labyrinth,
He predicts the future so in thought he's experienced it but not actually in real life therefore it is only a prediction, a thought and not nessecarily going to happen.
 
Labyrinth
 
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 12:41 pm
@Caroline,
That's a good point there. A daily monotonous grind can lead one to believe he has a clear picture of what his future will be like for the next x number of years. If he believes it to be more of what his daily routine already presently is, he, in thought, has already experienced his future. In doing this, this unhappy man restricted himself to a linear future timeline instead of opening the totality of possible experience to himself.

A problem with this interpretation is that when Kierkegaard writes, "and this experience he now remembers, instead of hoping for it," 'it' looks to be referring to a specific determinate experience rather than to the indeterminate future.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 12:48 pm
@Labyrinth,
I don't think you can predict exactly, it will always come out different because of the chance factor plus it's an actual real experience as opposed to a thought.

---------- Post added 09-14-2009 at 02:04 PM ----------

There's always a chance that it could turn out differently too.
 
Victor Eremita
 
Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 05:03 pm
@Labyrinth,
Caroline's got it before me, the unhappiest man has experienced the future in thought, and now remembers that thought. But what he should be doing is hoping for the day that it really does happen.

"this experience he now remembers, instead of hoping for it" is the specific experience in thought. Dream car, loving wife, big house are examples of thought experiences that he remembers, but he ought to hope for it instead. When the unhappiest man doesn't hope, he doesn't do anything to make it happen, because it "happened" already.

Trying to change a past that can never change, and doing little to make a future happen in reality... his present must suck.
 
NonSum
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 06:39 am
@Labyrinth,
Kierkegaard: "for the future he already anticipated in thought, in thought already experienced it, and this experience he now remembers, instead of hoping for it."

Labyrinth: How can this be?

NS: Indeed! Labyrinth, could you please narrow down the cite for this quote for me? Because this statement certainly doesn't stand reasonably on its own shaky legs. One can only hope that the context will rescue it, and suffering Soren, from utter nonsense.

If concepts equated with living perceptual experiences (noumena with phenomena), then the starving would need to only think of a nutritious feast, and be done with all but the burp.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 06:43 am
@Labyrinth,
Thought experience is different from actual experience.
 
Labyrinth
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 07:58 am
@Victor Eremita,
Victor Eremita;90186 wrote:
Caroline's got it before me, the unhappiest man has experienced the future in thought, and now remembers that thought. But what he should be doing is hoping for the day that it really does happen.

"this experience he now remembers, instead of hoping for it" is the specific experience in thought. Dream car, loving wife, big house are examples of thought experiences that he remembers, but he ought to hope for it instead. When the unhappiest man doesn't hope, he doesn't do anything to make it happen, because it "happened" already.

Trying to change a past that can never change, and doing little to make a future happen in reality... his present must suck.


Eye-opening! Is it merely taking for granted future attainments? Or is it also restricting oneself to a linear future path? (I guess they could be related...) I'm wondering this because while this explains the writing's relevance to us today, is this necessarily what Kierkegaard meant? Philosophers (Kierkegaard too was of an affluent family) from the time period and those preceding were generally financially independent. I'm sure Regine doesn't figure in this as this book was written before the broken engagement(?).

---------- Post added 09-15-2009 at 09:59 AM ----------

Caroline;90280 wrote:
Thought experience is different from actual experience.


Haha, yea...which explains the freakout when the market crashes. "Wait, that's not how it happened...uh, was supposed to happen?!"

---------- Post added 09-15-2009 at 10:02 AM ----------

NonSum;90278 wrote:
NS: Indeed! Labyrinth, could you please narrow down the cite for this quote for me? Because this statement certainly doesn't stand reasonably on its own shaky legs. One can only hope that the context will rescue it, and suffering Soren, from utter nonsense.

If concepts equated with living perceptual experiences (noumena with phenomena), then the starving would need to only think of a nutritious feast, and be done with all but the burp.


Sorry, I thought the "Unhappiest Man" piece was short enough to simply mention. :Glasses:
 
Caroline
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 09:07 am
@Labyrinth,
It's not taking for granted future attainments for how can a prediction attain anything? The thinker is aware of what it really is and only is and it's limitations, it is not a definate, it never is, it's just nice to be able to predict because you'll find that several different predictions of outcomes will run together during this process.
 
Victor Eremita
 
Reply Sun 20 Sep, 2009 01:25 am
@Labyrinth,
Labyrinth;90302 wrote:
Eye-opening! Is it merely taking for granted future attainments? Or is it also restricting oneself to a linear future path? (I guess they could be related...) I'm wondering this because while this explains the writing's relevance to us today, is this necessarily what Kierkegaard meant? Philosophers (Kierkegaard too was of an affluent family) from the time period and those preceding were generally financially independent. I'm sure Regine doesn't figure in this as this book was written before the broken engagement(?).


Nope, the book was written after the break up; a good portion of it was written in the months right after the break up while SK visited Berlin to attend Schelling's lectures. While I generally detest using Kierkegaard's life as a case in point for his writings, it is just so easy to do so. :rolleyes:
 
Judges-Vs-Poets
 
Reply Tue 27 Oct, 2009 01:36 am
@Labyrinth,
The opposite is a joke to ... mind you. Either - the unhappiest directly, Or - the unhappiest indirectly

Where oh where is that single individual?

---------- Post added 10-26-2009 at 11:38 PM ----------

Not here. Now for an emoticon.
 
 

 
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