Saturday, November 4, 2017

Kierkegaard on silence (from this AM's quiet reading, before anyone else woke up!)

​It is true that a mirror has the quality of enabling a person to see his image in it, but for this he must stand still. 

It is a frightful satire and an epigram on the modern age that the only use it knows for solitude is to make it a punishment, a jail sentence. 

In observing the present state of affairs and of life in general, from a Christian point of view one would have to say: It is a disease. And if I were a physician and someone asked me “What do you think should be done?” I would answer, “Create silence, bring about silence.” God’s Word cannot be heard, and if in order to be heard in the hullabaloo it must be shouted deafeningly with noisy means, then it is not God’s Word; create silence! 

Silence – it is not a specific something, nor does it consist simply in the absence of speaking. No, silence is like the subdued lighting in a pleasant room, like the friendliness in a modest living room. 

What is talkativeness? It is the result of doing away with the vital distinction between talking and keeping silent. Only someone who knows how to remain essentially silent can really talk – and truly act. Silence is the essence of inwardness, of the inner life...Where mere scope is concerned, talkativeness wins the day, it jabbers on incessantly about everything and nothing. But someone who can really talk, because he knows how to remain silent, will not talk about a variety of things but about one thing only, and he will know when to talk and when to remain silent...In a passionate age great events give people something to talk about. Talkativeness, on the contrary, also has plenty to talk about, but in quite another sense. In a passionate age, when the event is over, and silence follows, there is still something to remember and to think about while one remains silent. But talkativeness is afraid of silence, for silence always reveals its emptiness.

The beginning is found in the art of becoming silent. (an allusion to Genesis 1?)

Pausing is not a sluggish repose. Pausing is also movement. It is the inward movement of the heart. To pause is to deepen oneself in inwardness. But to go on and on is to go straight into the abyss of superficiality. 

Every person understands very well that to act is something far greater than to talk about it. If, therefore, a person is sure that he can do the thing in question, and if he is resolved that he will do it, he does not talk about it. What a person talks about in connection with a proposed action is precisely what he is most unsure of and unwilling to do


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