Happy Birthday

One of the most important and unexpected encounters in my recent life is assuredly the one I had with Kierkegaard. Though I heard of him in passing in high school and then got some very surface-level knowledge about him in my philosophy classes in college, I chose to engage him in an ethics paper only briefly and then as a primary source in an exegesis on the Akedah, and I daresay I fell in love intellectually. Though “Fear and Trembling” will always be one of the most challenging books I have ever engaged, it will also certainly be one of the texts I favor most (in part for having lived through the battle, no doubt).
As today is the anniversary of his birth, it feels appropriate to at least “wish him” a Happy Birthday, or to mention this fact. To say “Happy Birthday” is either an automatic utterance and a rote social obligation OR if one means it, it is a way to try to express to another that you are sincerely thankful that they were born. In the case of Kierkegaard, it is the latter, though that is only half the story. I am of course glad he lived and wrote, but also so very thankful that I have a life that allows me to pursue my intellectual interests and that all of my life I have had encouragement and prodding from endless teachers, mentors, friends and professors who eventually led me to the paradoxical challenge and kindred spirit I find in the writings of this author which are meaningful to me in a way that no other works of literature are. For that gift I thank you, Kierkegaard, and again, Happy Birthday.

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