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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Seoul, South Korea
People do not know what they ought to say but only that they must say something.
It is one thing to be a physician beside a sickbed, and another thing to be a sick man who leaps out of his bed by becoming an author, communicating bluntly the symptoms of his disease. Perhaps he may be able to express and expound the symptoms of his illness in far more glowing colors than does the physician when he describes them; for the fact that he knows no resource, no salvation, gives him a peculiar passionate elasticity in comparison with the consoling talk of the physician who knows what expedients to use.
Nowadays one takes for a revelation any sort of strong impression, and the same evening puts it in the newspaper.
Instead of having, each man for himself, a clear conception of what one wills in concreto before one begins to express one's views, one has a superstitious notion about the utility of starting a discussion... "If only an outcry is raised in a loud voice that can be heard all over the land, and it is read by everybody and is talked about in every company, then surely it will turn out all right."... that the outcry is like a wishing rod - and he has not observed that almost all have become outcriers... it would after all be more reasonable in our age, the age of outcry, if a man were to think thus: The outcry will certainly be made anyway, therefore it would be better for me to abstain from it and collect myself for a more concrete reflection. One smiles at reading all the romantic tales of a bygone age about how knights fared forth into the forest and killed dragons and liberated princes from enchantments, etc. - the romantic notion that in the forests such monsters dwelt, along with enchanted princes. And yet it is quite as romantic that in a whole generation everyone believes in the power of outcry to summon such monstrous forces. The apparent modesty of wanting merely to make an outcry or to raise a discussion does not seem praiseworthy at all, seeing that experience again and again repeated must impress upon everyone the serious thought that he must look for real help in answer to his cry, or else refrain from doing anything to increase the confusion.
Fear and Trembling and The Book on Adler, Soren Kierkegaard, 1843