Kierkegaard: aesthetic and seduction

Soeren Kierkegaard seduceur

After the first article on Kierkegaard (Kierkegaard’s Philosophy), we will publish three sections to his philosophy of life stages, starting of course with the aesthetic stage.

The aesthetic stage is the stage of immediate life. This life is based on the lyricism and imagination, as embodied his character (Johannes) in the Journal of the Seducer. The aesthetic seeks to escape from everyday life, the prosaic, in transcendent reality. Its existence does not refer to good or to evil, he lives outside the accepted moral and social conventions.

1 / Kierkegaard and Desire

The regulative principle of aesthetics is the desire, sign of the continuing search for the youth. Desire is not necessarily associated Kierkegaard to physical love, but rather to the flesh. Love is indeed the foundation of the aesthetic stage (eg recurring in the work of Don Juan, he said, spiritualized flesh). But this love is thinking, spirit, idealism.

The aesthetic has the demonic, that is to say, the lyrical explosion that can tear himself away from reality. Don Juan provided does not appeal (as it is without calculation, carried by the chance), he wants all the time, it is a machine to be desired.

The aesthetic lives in the moment, in secret, in the register of the sensual. He is a professional desire, fully aware of its purpose and its means (Johannes said Cordelia: “It’s this girl I like, that alone to be myself, who will“) . Should identify potentialities of women, freeing the demonic.


2 / Kierkegaard and Criticism of the Erotic

For Kierkegaard, eroticism does not meet the aesthetic life because:

– Passion puts man in a ridiculous position with the woman, who is a being devoid of interest

– Passion suppresses the activity of thought (which is the essence of the aesthetic life)

Thus, man is the absolute, the woman on a relationship between them can be a joke. Their relationship can be envisaged only in the mode of lightness. In love, man is reflection, while the woman continues to live under the aesthetic categories, leading to a fundamental misunderstanding, a misunderstanding irreducible, both comic and tragic.

What is love, according to Kierkegaard’s quote: “Wanting to be like the loved one, or get out of me to enter one of the beloved

The erotic is one who can love many women without being misled by them: “The woman inspires man as he does not have”

3 / Kierkegaard’s Aesthetic: Boredom and distraction

The trouble is the starting point of the aesthetic life. For only the man who is bored wants to overtake reality. The classic remedy, romantic love is. For Kierkegaard, other remedies are possible:

– The illusion it is to deceive oneself

– Mystification: it is to deceive others

Kierkegaard advocates the denial of marriage because it reduces the desire for the biological aspect. The life of the aesthetic should remain a game to relieve boredom and melancholy.

4 / The seduction as supreme art

According to Kierkegaard’s works, seduce will release the weight of destiny, call a soft melody of an alliance born of our hearts and that of others.

But win, also recognizes Kierkegaard, is always at the expense of a woman who suffers, erected as a victim. And Elvira, the conquest of Don Juan, lives an aesthetic of suffering, when Don Juan completed his own aesthetic of desire.

However, criticism of the aesthetic life is obvious: Eros can not fulfill a life alone. The aesthetic existence is a dissolute life, guided by anxiety and doubt. The aesthetic, based on the enjoyment, impossible to maintain sustained, leads to despair.

The walk to the ethical stage is initiated.

Cite this article as: Tim, "Kierkegaard: aesthetic and seduction, May 2, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, May 2, 2012,

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