Monday, January 24, 2011

Discursive Raisonnements and Inconceivable Bulls-Eyes concerning The Category of the Higher Madness.

by Soren Kierkegaard


I believe I would be doing philosophy a great service were it to adopt a category discovered by myself and utilized with great profit and success to exhaust and dry up a multitude of relations and determinations which have so far been unwilling to resolve themselves:—it is the category of the higher madness. I only ask that it not be named after me, but that goes without saying, since in cases analogous to this we are not in the habit of naming something after the active party but after the passive one. Take, for example, our Shrovetide custom of awakening a person with a birch rod; we call 'The Shrove' not after the flogger but after the first person flogged.

It is, moreover, the most concrete of all categories and the fullest, since it is nearest to real life—not having its truth in a Beyond, a superterrestrial, but in a Below, a subterranian sphere. And if it were an hypothesis, the most grandoise confirmations from experience could be made as to its veracity.

It is this category by which a transition is formed from Abstract Fury to Concrete Madness. The formula for this category is already expressed on a page of Baggesen (cf. 'The Abracadabra of the Present Struggle', vol. VII, p. 195) as follows:

'The unity of Madness in the Duplicity of All.'

But expressed speculatively, of course, it becomes:

The All Mad in the Unity of Duplicity.

Now 'All' implies many, i.e. Quodlibet or the crazier the better. The 'Duplicity of Madness': unfortunately, we cannot be content with merely discrete and partial lunacies, but even here the concepts of genus and species must have their validity.

(Papirer, II A 809; cited in The Concept of Irony, p. 412 (notes))