Describe Kierkegaard’s three levels of existence
As psychological categories , the three levels , or stages , of existence can be understood as levels of responsibility : except to yourself , to society , to something higher than society . What is extremely interesting and novel about these levels here is that even the minimal ' responsibility level is not placed at the zero ' point of the coordinates . Within Kierkegaard 's system , even residing at the aesthetic level is a conscious choice - thus making the resident responsible for both his intense pleasures and intense pain at the aesthetic state , or for the stability and weariness of
the ethical stage , and the paradoxical indignation of the religious stage . Anyone below the minimum this philosopher is not even concerned with - thus the pure possibility of adopting these levels already implies a certain level of development in the individual
In theory , this given choice would equate these categories as philosophical ones . These levels are not evolutionary , as they are often perceived , but rather simply different places of residence , however inter-dimensional and overlapping . They intertwine too strongly and intimately to speak of them as clear-cut . For instance , if I , out of the inherent boredom of the aesthetic level , decide to live a religious life , what am I doing ? It is a conscious choice , it gives me a fuller life - and yet , if I am acting out the aesthetic level , it will merely bring me the pleasure of an unknown experience . Or what if I choose to live an aesthetically full life because my relationship with God develops in this manner ? They are different sides of the same individual , all equal - and Kierkegaard recognizes that theoretical part
However , since the author 's own preference of residence is obviously the religious level , this naturally influences his development of his own theory . His conclusions can be understood only within his Christian context , where three categories , to which he gives equality , are indeed perceived as stages in evolution . As religious categories , they set out a clear path to follow for anyone who wants to attain any kind of spiritual understanding . For successful environment , first the understanding of the Self and its inherent emptiness must be achieved then a carcass to build on must be created , and then filled with a greater purpose - this is the message of Kierkegaard...
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