Kierkegaard on Setting Aside Childish Things: Opinions and Judgment
By Art Carden
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13:11. In the KJV, it reads “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” I was reminded of this passage when Daniel Klein sent me this quote from Kierkegaard’s Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, which he quotes as part of the new issue of Econ Journal Watch:
Do you judge like the crowd, in its capacity as a crowd? You are not obliged to have an opinion about what you do not understand. No, on the contrary, you are eternally excused from that. But you are eternally responsible as an individual to render an account for your opinion, and for your judgment. And in eternity, you will not be asked inquisitively and professionally, as though by a newspaper reporter, whether there were many that had the same — wrong opinion. You will be asked only whether you have held it, whether you have spoiled your soul by joining in this frivolous and thoughtless judging, because the others, because the many judged thoughtlessly. You will be asked only whether you may not have ruined the best within you by joining the crowd in its defiance, thinking that you were many and therefore you had the prerogative, because you were many, that is, because you were many who were wrong. In eternity it will be asked whether you may not have damaged a good thing, in order that you also might judge with them that did not know how to judge, but who possessed the crowd’s strength, which in the temporal sense is significant but to which eternity is wholly indifferent.