I thought it would be fun to put up a few thoughts and concerns I have driving my research here at St. Olaf. I have two broad goals: 1) have a more comfortable grasp of the concept of “repetition” and 2) discern more deeply how Kierkegaard relates to some of the marginal figures I’ve been discovering.
As to the first goal, here are some specific questions:
- What exactly is the content of the act of repetition? That is, in a concept bearing that name what exactly is being repeated?
- This may be a repetition of a disposition toward reality or an action in reality. It becomes, for me, a question of the general and the particular.
- What is the activity and role of the subject in the experience of repetition? The same question might be put with regard to God and the world–what are their roles? How much in this concept is willed by the subject and how much is received?
- The Young Man in Repetition seems to be constantly waiting for repetition to occur, while Constantin attempts to purely will repetition to occur. Perhaps these are two extremes that obscure the dialectical reality of repetition, which is constantly oscillating between the two.
- How does repetition function in an explicitly religious framework?
- Kierkegaard famously writes that repetition will “come to mean Atonement.” Sin, in Kierkegaard’s philosophy, functions as a stopping point, a mud pit that halts individuals and requires forgiveness to offer a way out. While I understand that repetition gives the subject an ability to re-enter the world, or, as Ed Mooney puts it, is a moment of “world-bestowal,” I wish to further pin down the religious nature of this idea.
As for the second goal, I have already found plenty of texts in the collection by Keiji, Berdyaev, and Rosenzweig. This will be a temptation for me away from my goal regarding repetition, but I think it will be a rewarding indulgence now and then.
If anyone has some good leads on these topics, let me know. I’ve got a list of resources and books I intend to read, but I hesitate to share it in hopes that recommendations might confirm my initial research intuitions.