(The beginning of a class handout. The rest is linked.)
I realize the last few days of class may have been difficult for you to pull into manageable shape. I’ve allowed myself the liberty–in part, a compliment to you–of simply coming into class and thinking aloud, allowing my own indecision about how to read sections of Kierkegaard to find its voice. My hope has not been to confuse you or to suggest any unwillingness to dig in and make a decision on my part, but instead to pull you into the mazeways of Kierkegaard’s qualitative dialectic–to get you involved in Kierkegaard’s mysteries. You might even say that I have been trying to subjectify (in Kierkegaard’s sense) Kierkegaard’s text, to keep you from simply treating it abstractly, as another here-we-go-again! philosophical system. For me, there is always the worry that teaching Kierkegaard is a betrayal of Kierkegaard, because the teaching we do at the University falls naturally into the objective, the aesthetic. But keep in mind that Kierkegaard wanted to be read subjectively, indeed religiously, at least at the end of the day.
What does that mean–to want to be read subjectively? It is to write so as to secure a confrontation between your reader and himself. Not between your reader and yourself. Not between your reader and anyone else. Not between your reader and his thought, doctrine. Not between the reader and your thought, doctrine. Not between the reader and anyone else’s thought, doctrine. No; no. You write so as to secure a confrontation between the reader and himself. Not himself as he was; not himself as he hopes to be; but himself as he now is. If you stop–stop–and really consider wanting to do this, you will get at least a glimpse of how surpassingly hard it is to do.