The title of the Meeting, “The courage to say ‘I,’” presents us with words from the Diaries of Søren Kierkegaard written in 1849, which we would like to understand in their original context.
Kierkegaard spent time reflecting on how truth is communicated. He understood that the first condition for truth to be communicated is the presence of person who can pronounce it. Truth cannot be transmitted by ventriloquism. It requires a person involved in communicating the event of comprehending that truth. Right away, we see the first sense of the value of the “I.”
Kierkegaard holds up this need in the face of a spreading rationalist-idealist line of thought, which he deeply criticized, maintaining that it was–in the worst sense of the term–an abstraction: speculation detached from real life and people’s concrete experience.
This is why Kierkegaard insisted on the need to consider and reflect on what is true in the life of a person fully alive, of an “I.” A comparison is needed, therefore, with the truth in one’s own life, and not merely an affirmation of “theoretical” truths never put to the test of daily life. Life’s task is this continual act of taking what is true and “making it our own” or reclaiming it, which engages the whole person, bringing out one’s “I.” Without engaging oneself, it is impossible to fully communicate truth to another [...]
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The courage to say I