As my prayer become more attentive and inwardKierkegaard
I had less and less to say.
I finally became completely silent.
I started to listen
– which is even further removed from speaking.
I first thought that praying entailed speaking.
I then learnt that praying is hearing,
not merely being silent.
This is how it is.
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking,
Prayer involves becoming silent,
And being silent,
And waiting until God is heard.
Today, in Australia, is a public holiday for the Queen’s Birthday. So in honour of Her Royal Majesty, I have been watching the UK version of Humans. It is based on Swedish series called Real Humans.
In short, AI (called “synths” in the show) becoming conscious – feeling, thinking, and living in freedom. They embody various human traits – caring, agression, “philosopher”, etc. I like the way the UK does TV!
While the consciousness theme is fascinating, I have been struck by a question repeated throughout the series: “what is it like to be you?”. Of course, there is no answer because there is no point of reference. The question illustrates Existential Loneliness – only I know what it is like to be me. And the quote on my email signature comes to mind:
The formula that describes the state of the self when despair is completely rooted out is this: in relating itself to itself and in willing to be itself, the self rests transparently in the power that established it.SUD
I feel like a large part of modern life is all about avoiding the question or escaping into “false answers”. (Doesn’t Merton write about that in No Man is An Island?) So the most important question in my life, who am I?, has to be faced alone before God. I can try to give an answer to others. But there is absolutely no need to justifiy myself to others – my beliefs or my actions. There is only One to whom I must answer – “the power that established me”. In the end I have to answer to my Creator by being “me”. I have to hold in tension the various aspects of my life – freedom and necessaity are at the top of my life at the moment.
So may the Heart of Jesus have mercy on you today!
… the self has the task of becoming itself in freedom.Sickness unto death
So I am having this love affair with Sickness unto Death today. (Or should that be I am having a love affair with Kierkegaard?) So the above really spoke to me.
Every more earnest person who knows what upbuilding is, everyone, whatever else he or she is, high or low, wise or simple, male or female, anyone who has ever felt built up and felt God as very present, will certainly agree with me unconditionally that it is impossible to build up or to be built up en masse, even more impossible than to “fall in love en quatre [in fours]” or en mass
The god one can point to is an idol, and the religiousness that one can point to is an imperfect form of religiousness.Concluding Unscientific Postscript
Christ is no play-actor, if I may say it this soberly; neither is he a merely historical person, since as the paradox he is an extremely unhistorical person. But this is the difference between poetry and actuality: contemporaneity. The difference between poetry and history is surely this, that history is what actually happened, whereas poetry is the possible, the imagined, the poetized. But that which has actually happened (the past) is still not, except in a certain sense (namely, in contrast to poetry), the actual. The qualification that is lacking—which is the qualification of truth (as inwardness) and of all religiousness is—for you. The past is not actuality—for me. Only the contemporary is actuality for me. That with which you are living simultaneously is actuality—for you. Thus every human being is able to become contemporary only with the time in which he is living—and then with one more, with Christ’s life upon earth, for Christ’s life upon earth, the sacred history, stands alone by itself, outside history.Practice in Christianity
The monastic movement is therefore a passionate decision, as is fitting in respect of the absolute τέλος, and it is to that extent preferable in its nobility to the wretched middleman-wisdom of mediation.Concluding Unscientific Postscript
The true knight of faith is a witness, never a teacher, and therein lies the deep humanity that is worth more than this frivolous concern for the welfare of other people that is extolled under the name of sympathy but is really nothing more than vanity.Fear and Trembling
When a person sets out on what in a certain sense is the hard way of the tragic hero, many will be able to advise him; the one who goes faith’s narrow way, him no one can advise, no one can understand. Faith is a miracle, and yet no human being is excluded from it, for that which unites all human life is passion, and faith is a passion.Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling
More classical than modern in his definition of passion. The way of faith is travelled alone – alone before God.
There is, namely, an infinite chasmic difference between God and man, and therefore it became clear in the situation of contemporaneity that to become a Christian (to be transformed into likeness with God) is, humanly speaking, an even greater torment and misery and pain than the greatest human torment, and in addition a crime in the eyes of one’s contemporaries. And so it will always prove to be if becoming a Christian truly comes to mean becoming contemporary with Christ. And if becoming a Christian does not come to mean this, then all this talk about becoming a Christian is futility and fancy and vanity…Practice in Christianity
I have always liked the above quote from Practice in Christianity. Yes, SK is very Lutheran/Augustinian in it but I think it says something about God: God’s transcendence in being and his imminence in action (in Jesus). It is about the King and the Servant, and love, and surrender.