subjective truth, objective truth, and anxiety

This morning, I reread fragments from Kierkegaard’s works. His notions of objective and subjective truth interest me most. I don’t care about what he has to say about god. I am an atheist. Faith and worship will never be enough to bring me to god, a being whose existence is absurd.

Yet there is this immense universe that awes, overwhelms, and mystifies me. My subjective being does the same. Let the universe stand in for god. Let me be just as I am. Then what Kierkegaard has to say about god carries over to the universe. What the universe is and how it came to be inspires reverence for it is immensely larger than me. Negotiating the universe successfully (supply your idea of that), requires reverence and trust: reverence at the immensity of it although we can still comprehend a part of it, and trust (not faith, for trust and faith are two different things) that things will turn out well and that life has meaning no matter how much suffering there is in the world.

Love with all its passions and vicissitudes forces the notion of subjective truth upon us even though our fondest desire may be to flee those passions and vicissitudes for an objective truth seen from nowhere. We immerse ourselves in the erotic relation to the beloved, yet we also study and decide who they are and what acts we can expect from them. We live with the personae of the beloved and the acts they commit, some acts we cherish above all else, others acts disgust us. This creates anxiety within us, for which of the beloveds will we share our time with today: the one we want or the one who humiliates us. We are constantly forced to decide between the values of our relationships to the personae of the beloved. We live in a state of anxiety because of this.

I am convinced that life partly consists of negotiating the fine tension between subjective and objective truth each day. It is a prison from which there is no escape.

Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  

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