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Repetition
Søren Kierkegaard

Repetition

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Repetition means getting our cognitive and moral bearings not through prompted remembering, but quite unexpectedly as a gift from the unknown, as a revelation from the future. Repetition is epiphany that sometimes grants the old again, as new, and sometimes grants something radically new.

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At times Repetition reads like a short novel, full of puzzles and twists of fate. At other times it reads like a technical disquisition on a quasi-metaphysical concept called ‘repetition’. In the first half of the book Kierkegaard’s narrator, Constantine Constantius, introduces the contrast between ‘repetition’ and the ancient Platonic concept of recollection. Plato’s idea is that we already possess the rudiments of all the knowledge we need. It is part of the inherited structure of our minds. Once we begin thinking, we have a glimmer of the ideas that 2 plus 2 equal 4, and that we should always do what is good, for instance. All we have to do is remember these truths, and a teacher like Socrates can prompt us. The royal road to knowledge, for Plato, is through prompted remembering or recollection. But Constantine says that the modern age needs a new concept, and that he will provide it. He calls the alternative royal road to insight ‘repetition’. Repetition means getting our cognitive and moral bearings not through prompted remembering, but quite unexpectedly as a gift from the unknown, as a revelation from the future. Repetition is epiphany that sometimes grants the old again, as new, and sometimes grants something radically new. 

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SO˜REN KIERKEGAARD WORK'S
20 Items
2014-08-10