Søren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855) is without a doubt the greatest Danish philosopher. The father of existentialism. In a very simple way, he lived his philosophy. After all, to exist means not only to be alive and breathing but also to “stand out.”
I always visualized existentialism as a vibe board, where a particular life stands out in an ocean of other lives. The image is romantic but it fits with Kierkegaard. He stood out.
To the world he is known for setting the tone for such themes as fear, guilt, and anxiety, but also for choosing the choice, freedom, and love. In Denmark, his name is spoken with a certain amount of reverence because it can be difficult not to be seduced by his vision of life and poetic style, but also because he was radical. For example, Kierkegaard was openly critical of democracy when he elevated the individual above the crowd. In fact, he would not see imprisonment in isolation as one of the worst forms of punishment, because the truth emerges, undisturbed, between the individual and God.
For Kierkegaard, I suggest, it all comes down to four important concepts: the self, truth, freedom, and one’s relationship to God.
Read the rest of the essay in Erraticus