Aesthetically curious

by Kevin Aditya

There’s always times when you feel the urge to sit down and think about the world and life that happens around you, or in other words, philosophical thoughts. Those thoughts and questions bothered me so much at times that I would just sit down and think for minutes, can you feel how time-wasting that was? Lately those thoughts came more often, probably because I’ve finally finished reading Sophie’s World, and reading it was such a sheer delight! Go find one and read it, it’s a very good novel to introduce you into philosophy. One of the brilliant concept I’ve come to learn from reading it is Kierkegaard‘s three stages.

Søren Kierkegaard, 19th century Danish philosopher and theologist, had introduced the three levels of individual existence that determines one’s connection to the philosophical life: Aesthetic, Ethical, and Religious stage.

Aesthetic stage is where most people are, embracing life on mere earthly enjoyments and sensuous desire, particularly on arts. Varied degrees exist on the aesthetic stage, but most people stay on the least reflective sort of the stage where their lives are mostly guided only by daily tasks and concerns. At the top of the stage, people become more reflective and tend to move on to the next stage.

Ethical stage starts at the point where an individual realizes his true direction in life, becoming fully aware of good and evil and commits themself for the betterment of the world. In this stage people exhibit the consistency which they lacked on the previous stage. They feel the need to take responsibility of their lives and the world around them. The most commited ones will move to the next and highest stage.

Religious stage, as the name suggests, implies a fully-commited individual who has a strong connection to his religion, totally surrendering life to serve on the way of God. People on this stage embrace their works under the name of God, and seek truth in their religion. Note that this stage is important but not highly necessary, as ethically devoted people could be irreligious, but religious people always have the ethical side to serve and help others. Kierkegaard defined this as the most reflective stage on a human life.

Over time, people will come and go through stages because you know, it’s tiring to help others all the time isn’t it? People could be on the ethical stage but drop back to the aesthetic at times when they need to take a break. Now you’re asking me, which stage am I on? Well of course the aesthetic, oh my individualistic self! How about you? Did you ever feel the need to go out and help people? Which stage are you on?

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8 Comments to “Aesthetically curious”

  1. Aesthetic with ethical values. Hahaha. I miss you 😦

  2. Last stage.
    I don’t think there are such thing at going back to previous stages.
    Once you’re on the last and get the whole picture. You’ll feel safe and complete.

  3. Of course, sir, we’re humans rite? We get tired.
    But helping people will only get me tired physically,
    It’s like something I do for a living, man
    I don’t think twice to agree to help people. I think twice to refuse.

    I think
    You’re not on the last stage yet if you’re still thinking you’ll be bored with it.
    huh? 8P

    • From that point of view, it would take me forever to reach the last stage pew. We have different definitions of personal happiness, I see. And on this unjust and war-torn world, whatever makes you content and happy that’s enough of a reason to keep on living!

      • Yeah, maybe different.
        I’d like to call myself a bit altruistic. It runs in the family.
        But my reason to keep on living is not only about achieving personal happiness.
        Everyone does that, I know. Me too.
        But now I’m looking forward for something more, a higher cause in the unjust world. I’ll look for it while I’m still this naive. Maybe I can do something real after I finish my law degree 😉

        Oh yeah, I love teenage naivety.

  4. what’s that from you? hands off?
    haha
    ok dude i’ll try

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