Our age, which can be surmised as a combination of apocalyptic sensibilities, jarring misuses of technology and intellectual prowess, and a strain of political nihilism so devoid of faith that it will describe Christian belief itself as nihilistic, can use a little bit of the temperament found in Kierkegaard's brief essay, "The Present Age".
The man who accepts majority opinion is often at odds with individualism, just as one who glorifies the self finds their own sense of importance at odds with collectivism. Both would surely do well with a good dose of the anti-establishment philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, who rails not only against the ideology of the technocrats of his time, but against an entire society which condemns the individual self as merely components of a mechanistic system of parts and parcels.
Of course, many of the post modern strain of anti-philosophical 'philosophy' as classical definitions bequeath unto us tirelessly and ad infinitum have decried religion as an absurdity of the 'in itself', reacting to Christianity with the bile so reserved for members of the intellectual establishment in our age. But what most of them fail to adequately realize is that the entirety of the End of Philosophy as defined by Po-Mo ideology is born from the seminal work "Zein und Zeit" by Martin Heidegger - who, as anyone savvy with the modern day disciples of the above powerhouse of western thought knows, is fully dedicated (in terms of his Ontology) to the kind of Kierkegaardian individualist philosophical strain of the Western Tradition as properly defined and forgotten consistently by the majority of today's academic cabal.
Many have bemoaned and dismissed Christian faith and theology with a kind of off-hand reference to various authors or thinkers of the atheist/pagan variety without giving much of a second thought to the great minds which built our very intellectual identity itself, I suppose preferring a kind of impotent analysis of the dissemination of information.
What these same mongrels fail to remember, and forget to a near painfull degree of certitude, is that Kierkegaard was not just a counter-cultural hipster cafe hero, but (to put it mildly) devoutly Christian. 'Christian' in that very special individualistic sense, which often carries with it the fervor which settled many of the problematics brought about by early conflations of Greek philosophy with Christianity by such thinkers as Augustine and Aquinas, and set philosophy on a course towards 'liberty' for generations upon generations to come.
Of course, the hypocrisy of our own age is no glory, and Kierkegaard in many ways inspired what we today define as 'Passionate' philosophy. The strength of simultaneous sin was criticized by Kierkegaard as the definition of collectivism, and unlike many of his contemporaries, he led the kind of life which give such bold proclamations ground in action.
Kierkegaard very often makes reference to thinkers within his society at the time in "The Present Age", thus limiting to a degree the timelessness of of this particular work. Very often, as many individualist philosophes tend to do, he seems to be finding himself in analysis of what Douglass Rushkoff termed 'the other'. However, more often than not he is 'on' the mark as opposed to 'off' the mark in terms of asserting objective truths about the obligatory failings and musings of an age which see's itself as something more than simply another generation.
Clearly, the time in which Kierkegaard lived was, much like the time of the early Christians, an age of "prophecies, apocalypses, glances at and studies of the future." What is found in "The Present Age" is a philosophy of the lonesome and goading, and the author is very often kindly making the absurdity of the collectivist tendencies of the Hoarde of his age and every age to come politely leave the discussion so that 'real gentlemen' can adequately discuss the 'Real World'.
In terms of actual critique of the 'philosophy' as such of Kierkegaard in "The Present Age", it is classically difficult - but for the 'new age', such analysis of Kierkegaard has always been easy, and this impass is a slight not forgiven. The ease of thinking regarding Kierkegaard's 'passionate' philosophy has always been skickered at a bit by Christian Theologians and Thinkers throughout history - however, the way in which there is a sense of true love for philosophy in "The Present Age" makes this work in particular far more of an appropriate read for one not well versed in, say, the differences between lower immediacy and higher immediacy, or in the rivalry between Kierkegaard and G.W.F. Hegel, etc.
The purely fictitious design of possessing the manifold ideologies of the current political sensibilities is nothing more than a conflagration of the self in which one's own narcissism becomes a basis for critique. Many in our own present age have not admitted their own sin of Pride and how it relates to the values they place on eros and the conflation there-of - an absolute contradiction.
Prophetically, Kierkegaard said in "The Present Age", quote - "Even in the most enthusiastic ages people have always liked the favor of ideology."
What most of the disciples of Kierkegaard and Post-Modernism seem to be incapable of either discovering or admitting is the way in which the End of Philosophy as such was brought about by Faith itself.
Thanks for reading - I, founder of Domestic Democracy United, recommend that anyone who has waded through my review pick up a copy of Soren Kierkegaard's notably light read, "The Present Age", which more than likely is prescient for the young people of our time in this year of our Lord, 2012 - but will, in all probability, be ignored by the young minds of America in favor of short excerpts from less salient works coupled with contrite PHI 101 style analysis, which is very much a shame.
_REVIEW BY Brendan O'Connell - FOUNDER OF DDU