In a few days I’ll head West from Tel Aviv to New England — to Hanover, New Hampshire, to be precise — to read a paper. It’s not about Thoreau, but about Kierkegaard, though as you know I see them as not unlike each other in a number of respects. I’ve neglected posts here, and can blame that on getting submerged in writing projects. I can share a bit of what I’ll be touching on in Hanover, passing on three touchstones for a talk on Fear and Trembling.
The first is from George Pattison who is flying in from London to Hanover: Beyond the question of knowledge are poetry, madness, love— but if these are not and cannot be knowledge they may yet be best of all.
Then Wittgenstein, from 1940: People nowadays think scientists are there to instruct them, poets, musicians, etc., to entertain them. That the latter have something to teach them — that never occurs to them.
and W. from Culture and Value: Faith is a passion; wisdom, cool grey ash.
And from Kafka: One tries to imprison life in a system, like a songbird in a cage — but it’s no good.
These weave in and out of my talk on Johannes de silentio’s dialectical lyric — mysteriously.
Today is Kierkegaard’s birthday, and Google commemorates him with a nice quill and squiggle on its home page.