Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kierkegaard on the difference between reading and thinking...

"In our time, everyone is able to write something or other about everything, but no one is able or willing to endure the strenuous labor of thinking through a single thought exhaustively in all its sharpest implications.  As a result, the writing of trifles is particularly appreciated in our time, and one who writes a substantial book almost makes himself the object of ridicule.  In the old days one read substantial books, and insofar as one read pamphlets and newspapers, one did not care to have it known.  Now everyone feels duty-bound to have read what is in the papers and in the pamphlets but is ashamed to have read a substantial book all the way through; he is afraid this will be regarded as a mark of dullness." (from the Journals)

I guess it's good to know that shallow gossip and trivial information were a problem in Kierkegaard's time as well...?  Or maybe it's just depressing.  Either way, this is a great quote.

1 comment:

BenMc said...

Love this phrase particularly: "thinking through a single thought exhaustively in all its sharpest implications." It's hard to do that. (Especially in a blog comment.) But it's worth reiteration!