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The absolute paradox is attempting to seek something for which thought is incapable of thinking. Beneath all thinking that transcends him is a passion, but due to the limits in man’s capacities, it is unable to be obtained. Understanding is in constant efforts to seek what is not understood. Socrates asserts that understanding what is not already known is through “recollection, ” where the truth is already within the individual, and needs to be recollected. Climacus argues that the learner rejects the truth and the teacher will provide the truth for the learner to obtain it. In attempting to determine the conceivability of his explanation, he draws attention towards the apparent underlying paradox. While the understanding seeks to know the unknown, the thing in which is unknown to it is something that it is incapable of understanding. This is because “the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow”. Therefore, through understanding, it “will[s] its own downfall”, as it is inherently in conflict with the unknown. This unknown is what Kierkegaard says is God; he is the absolutely different. In seeking to answer whether truth can be learned, the preceding state, the teacher, and the follower considered.
As the follower approaches the untruth, the absolute becomes visible. The preceding state of the learner is in the form of their own ignorance. Upon being in state of ignorance, the follower requires the assistance of the teacher to aid him in seeking the truth. The teacher, who is God, drives the learner to be reminded of his untruth through his own fault, ultimately pushing him further away. This causes the state of the learner to be in a poorer condition than initial conditions. His ignorance exists having no knowledge of being ignorant. Consequently, he shifts further and further away from the truth, and towards the “untruth”. This state of untruth through ones own fault is what is deemed to be a sin. The absolute paradox then emerges as it emphasizes the absolute difference of sin. God is absolutely different from man because he did not sin, making him man and a divine being. It is not possible to be indifferent to the absolute paradox. The need for realizing sin and leap of faith is necessitated when one begins to believe in something that cannot be demonstrated through means of logic. Since “offense comes into existence with the paradox”, then there exists a moment around which everything revolves. If that moment is put forth, then the paradox, in its “most abbreviated form”, is called a moment, and “the learner becomes untruth; the person who knew himself becomes confused about himself and instead of self-knowledge he acquires the consciousness of sin”. God must then give the condition to the learner to avoid the possibility of the learner being void of understanding. Hence, being a Christian, a person of religious faith, requires being capable of placing faith in the absolute paradox.
An acoustic illusion is distinguishing between the understanding and the paradox, determining which one causes the paradox. Climacus states that if the paradox (God) and the reason (knowledge) agree in appreciation of the absolute difference between the polar differences in consciousness, then their encounter will be a mutually happy one. In other words, reason of subjective and objective truth can only occur when there is an understanding of the unlikeness. An “offense” occurs upon the circumstances of an unhappy encounter, and is consistently suffering. The offense sounds from places opposite from where it expresses itself, for which the paradox resounds in, creating an acoustical illusion. However, there arises the problem of an absurdity between the paradox and the understanding. While the understanding claims that the paradox is absurd, the paradox echoes this claim, stating that the understanding is absurd.
All that is said about “the paradox is learned from the paradox, even though, making use of an acoustical illusion, it insists that it itself has originated the paradox”. The echoes made are created by the paradox, since the offended speaks only in nature of the paradox.
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