My supervisor makes me write a lot. Here is an excerpt from a pile of notes on Kierkegaard I threw together for this week’s supervision:
In opposition to the present age, Kierkegaard provides the revolutionary age, which is “an age of action”, in opposition to the present age of “advertisement and publicity.” This critique of the present age’s obsession with the press leads to one of Kierkegaard’s only direct critiques of the expanding grasp of capital in his age:
“In the end, therefore, money will be the one thing people will desire, which is moreover only representative, an abstraction. Nowadays a young man hardly envies anyone his gifts, his art, the love of a beautiful girl, or his fame; he only envies him his money. Give me money, he will say, and I am saved.” (The Present Age)
By noting that the young man of the present age seeks salvation in money, Kierkegaard is one of the first authors to overtly critique the inherently religious nature of capital. This reliance on money is a sign of the overarching problem of the present age, a lack of passion and action. Because of this lack of ability to act passionately, “everything is transformed into representational ideas.” Thus, the present age is one obsessed with nothing but reflection and representation, and this lack of anything real, or actual, is the cause of a lack of a passionate prior self-relation in the individual. Here it is clear that Kierkegaard’s conception of subjectivity in no way leads to stark a-social and a-political individualism, but is instead the necessary pre-condition for the individual to passionately exist in (and affect) reality.