Interview With Søren Kierkegaard

OON: We see a lot of cross-genre work here at [out of nothing]—texts that occupy a kind of interstitial space between fiction, philosophy and even the sciences sometimes. What’s your feeling on that, given that your writing at the time seemed to blend a lot of these elements, well before we had any discourse on the ostensible uniqueness of such hybridization?

SK: Well, first I don’t even if this is true, all these labels and categories I mean. It’s quite possible that there’s more specialization and polarization today, and the true indication of this is that we insist on holding on to these labels in the first place. If there was truly such a blend occurring, I’m not sure we would need so many dichotomies to justify our worth. On the other hand, it’s difficult for any individual to recognize their own circumstances. There is a difference between an actor and a witness to the truth. Which are you?

OON: If you could be any color, what fellow color would you resent the most?

SK: Let’s just say that the star in the sky has betrayed something, an understanding of the utmost importance. And I learn of this through some dangerous circumstances. At this point, I would be the color of revenge and that color of my target could potentially suffer much. But too, I would realize the exaggeration of my reaction. I would realize instead that by giving into my anger I would have betrayed my own master, and so then the color I would resent the most would be my own.

OON: Did any of the pieces in our anthology pique your interest particularly? What writing in the current landscape excites you?

SK: I don’t want to play favorites in such a public arena, so let’s leave that first question a little mysterious. But in response to your second, really I want the words to move me profoundly. Writing that I want nothing more than to be left alone with but that I simultaneously fear being left in solitude with a text’s powerful embrace. Work that is earnest and warm and makes you feel as if you’ve understood something. Have you read anything like this recently?

OON: Given that you’re back from what many supposed to be a permanent death to perform this one last task of completing this interview, is there anything you would like to say, or any wisdom you can pass on with a vision of the deathless eternity?

SK: There are many things to say. And many I have said in my books. But maybe I leave you with this: “Look, there he stands—the god. Where? There. Can you not see him? He is the god, and yet he has no place where he can lay his head, and he does not dare to turn to any person less that person be offended at him. He is the god, and yet he walks more circumspectly than if angels were carrying him — not to keep him from stumbling, but so that he may not tread in the dust the people who are offended at him.”

OON: If you could stay here, alive and communicating longer than it takes you to answer these questions, do you think you would pursue your current ideas further? What would you write, or would you write, even? Would you make films? Would you dance?

SK: I think I might simply sleep awhile.

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Søren Kierkegaard is a Danish philosopher, theologian, and religious author interested in human psychology, faith, and Christian ethics. He studied theology at the University of Copenhagen and is the author of numerous books, including Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, The Concept of Anxiety, and The Sickness Unto Death.

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