Then and Now

When I was a senior at Muskingum College a half century ago, I took a class in which I spent a great deal of time researching the philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard. The class loved to refer to him as the Dismal Dane. Where we picked up that pseudonym, I don’t recall, but he was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, which explains the Dane. Kierkegaard used loads of pseudonyms for himself.

Kierkegaard was arguable the first philosophical existentialist writer. Interestingly to me, he published Either/Or exactly a century before I entered the world. Unless you were also born in1943, that factoid has no significance to you. However, in Either/Or, Kierkegaard used the pseudonym, Victor Eremita, which is Latin for victorious hermit.

Victor Eremita

Either/Or was his first major work and also considered his greatest work. It discusses the viewpoint of two different people. The debate encompasses issues like the meaning of life, noble virtues, aestheticism, truth, and ethics.

Back then during my college days, I had a partial grasp of what Kierkegaard was trying to accomplish. However, today, I more fully understand the issue of Either/Or. Therefore, in tribute to Søren Kierkegaard, I will discuss the meaning of life, noble virtues, aestheticism, truth, and ethics as I think he would if he were alive today. This is, for my readers, the debate between either/or.

Either this is true, or it is not. Our fake president gave a speech of sorts about the two mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. The white supremacist shooter in El Paso wanted to kill Mexicans, and the white supremacist shooter in Dayton wanted to kill blacks. This is part of our fake president’s attempt of explaining those two shootings. Were video games what led the shooters to kill non-whites?

One other item, about what was our fake president so happy in the photo below? That small infant’s parents were shot by a white supremacist who didn’t like Mexicans. Of course, our fake president doesn’t like Mexicans either. Trump said, “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” That isn’t an accurate statement. Additionally, reread his first sentence; it isn’t even grammatically correct. What’s with his prepositions with us mean? Trump is either happy about the death of that child’s parents or he loves photo opts.

Happy Donald

Now, following Kierkegaard’s teaching methodology, this is the or position. Four years ago, President Obama gave his eulogy for nine blacks shot to death by another white supremacist. The victims were attending a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, SC. Listen to the last part of President Obama’s eulogy.

Therefore, you have before you a clear question of either/or. Choose wisely. Which of the two would you use as one of your mentors?


In closing, Søren Kierkegaard also wrote this one-liner, “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” Perhaps, we all need to spend more time thinking before we speak or act.

This video is from CBS.