Perspicacity

“The more consciousness there is in such a sufferer who wants in despair to be himself, the more the despair intensifies and becomes demonic. It usually begins like this: a self which in despair wants to be himself, suffers some kind of pain which cannot be removed or separated from his concrete self. He then heaps upon this torment all his passion, which then becomes a demonic rage. If it should now happen that God in heaven and all the angels were to offer to help him to be rid of this torment – no, he does not want that, now it is too late. Once he would have gladly have given everything to be rid of this agony, but he was kept waiting, and now all that’s past; he prefers to rage against everything and be the one whom the whole world, all existence, has wronged, the one for whom it is especially important to ensure that he has his agony on hand, so that no one will take it from him – for then he would not be able to convince others and himself that he is right. This finally fixes itself so firmly in his head that he becomes frightened of eternity for a rather strange reason: he is afraid in case it should take away from him what, from the demonic viewpoint, gives him infinite superiority over other people, what, from the demonic viewpoint, is his right to be who he is. […] As the weak despairer will hear nothing about what comfort eternity has in store for him, so too with this despairer, but for a different reason: the comfort would be his undoing – as an objection to the whole of existence. It is, to describe it figuratively, as if a writer were to make a slip of the pen, and the error become conscious of itself as such – perhaps it wasn’t a mistake but from a much higher point of view an essential ingredient in the whole presentation – and as if this error wanted now to rebel against the author, out of hatred for him forbid him to correct it, and in manic defiance say to him: ‘No, I will not be erased, I will stand as a witness against you, a witness to the fact that you are a second-rate author.'”

– Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death

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