Who shall I be? How do I become? What highest value(s) ought I aspire toward? What is the end and aim of life? The Art of Living refers to the project and the problem of our lives as characterized by these fundamental questions.
This discussion will explore implications for our Art of Living gleaned from the short book "Fear and Trembling" by Søren Aabye Kierkegaard [masked]). What does Kierkegaard think the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac teaches us about the paradoxes of faith and of existence? What does Kierkegaard say about the role of faith in our lives? To what highest value(s) does Kierkegaard urge us to aspire? What does he think the end and aim of our lives ought to be? What can we learn from Kierkegaard about addressing the problem and the project of our lives? What can Kierkegaard teach us about who to be and how to become? For you personally, what is the role of the paradoxes of faith and existence in your life? How do these values fit into your art of living?
The plan for the discussion is to follow the Stanford lectures on Kierkegaard, so it is recommended that you watch these three 50 minute videos:
• Abraham is the Knight of Faith: Faith versus Love, Morals, and Reason Itself by R. Lanier Anderson
• Was it so Easy a Matter not to be Mistaken? by Joshua Landy
• Abraham is the Knight of Faith: On the Roles of Reason and Faith by Kenneth Taylor
I recommend getting an overview by watching the videos before reading this complex and difficult text. If you have time to go deeper, read the text which is short at around 100 pages, relevant biblical passages (Philippians 2:12, Psalms 55:5, & Genesis 22:1-19), read the Wikipedia entry on "Fear and Trembling", and watch the videos a second time. I got the 1986 Penguin Classics edition from my library. There is also a newer 2006 edition from Penguin. You could also read the on-line version of "Fear and Trembling" at Religion-Online or the extensive excerpts translated by L.M. Hollander. After reading the text, the ambitious participant will re-watch and study the three Stanford lectures a bit more carefully.
This is the third discussion in a series inspired by an accessible, exquisite, free on-line course The Art of Living (http://humanexperience.stanford.edu/artofliving), three Stanford professors discuss five great works to explore how philosophy and literature can help us practice the art of living. The lecturers are Kenneth Taylor, Joshua Landy, and R. Lanier Anderson and the works are Plato's "Symposium", Shakespeare's "Hamlet", Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling", Nietzsche's "The Gay Science", and Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon". The course video lectures will guide our exploration of "The Art of Living" in a multidimensional way. For an overview of our topic, please watch the 50 minute video Introduction to The Art of Living.
These are links to the other meetups in The Art of Living series:
1. The Art of Living: Love and Reason in Plato's Symposium
2. The Art of Living: What Can We Learn From Shakespeare's Hamlet?
3. The Art of Living: The Paradoxes of Faith and Existence
4. The Art of Living: The Roles of Art and Science
5. The Art of Living: The Roles of Self and Community
6. The Art of Living: Engaging the Project of our Lives