Handle an illusion, shyly.

Posted on January 7, 2019


We are often faced with the challenge of choosing between two goals that we cannot often achieve simultaneously; making a point, or making a difference. Both of those are attempting to transform a mind from some sort of illusion, some sort of captivity. I find Kierkegaard’s words tremendously wise to this dilemma:

There is nothing that requires such gentle handling as an illusion, if one wishes to dispel it. If anyone prompts the prospective captive to set his will in opposition, all is lost. And this is what a direct attack achieves, and it implies moreover the presumption of requiring a man to make to another person, or in his presence, an admission which he can make most profitably to himself privately. This is what is achieved by the indirect method, which, loving and serving the truth, arranges everything dialectically for the prospective captive, and then shyly withdraws (for love is always shy), so as not to witness the admission which he makes to himself alone before God—that he has lived hitherto in an illusion.

— Søren Kierkegaard, The Point of View For My Work as an Author, p.24ff

Posted in: discourse