Aesthetics I by Ramona Cormier, Shannon Dubose, James K. Feibleman, John D.

By Ramona Cormier, Shannon Dubose, James K. Feibleman, John D. Glenn Jr., Harold N. Lee, Marian L. Pauson, Louise N. Roberts, John Sallis (auth.)

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Let nobody ask .... I am the most insignificant of all things .... I am 'pure being' and therefore almost less than nothing. " (Stages, P·93) KIERKEGAARD ON THE UNITY OF COMEDY AND TRAGEDY 43 the loss of self, of freedom, of transcendence, which it involves: There are well-known insects which die in the moment of fecundation. So it is with all joy; life's supreme and richest moment of pleasure is coupled with death. (Either/Or, I, p. 20) This fear of immediacy, the desire to retain freedom or transcendence with respect to it, finds expression in the young aesthete's preference of reflective enjoyment to immediate pleasure: The essence of pleasure does not lie in the thing enjoyed, but in the accompanying consciousness.

Because Aristophanes' comic interpretation of Socrates had been very important for Kierkegaard's consideration of Socratic irony in his dissertation, I suspect that the legend of Parmeniscus continued to carry Aristophanic associations for him. If so, then the paragraph can be interpreted as follows: A, having entered into the realm of thought or reflection (the "cave of Trophonius," the Phrontiserion), lost there the ability to laugh in any immediate or joyful sense - yet he did acquire the ability to laugh in an ironic fashion at finite actuality and its lack of ideality ("the shapeless block exhibited there as the image of the goddess Leta").

Johannes Climacus, the pseudonymous author of the Postscript, seems to delineate the comic aspect of such an existence: (l)f one proposed to make everything comical by means of nothing, it is clear at once that this comedy is nowhere at home, since it lacks a foothold in any sphere. The discoverer of this type of comedy would himself be open to comic apprehensions from the standpoint of the ethical sphere, because as an existing individual he must himself in one way or another have a foothold in existence.

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