Man is a synthesis

Odilon Redon; Reflection

Everything turns upon dread coming into view. Man is a synthesis of the soulish and the bodily. But a synthesis is unthinkable if the two are not united in a third factor. This third factor is the spirit. In the state of innocence man is not merely an animal, for if at any time of his life he was merely an animal, he never would become a man. So then the spirit is present, but in a state of immediacy, a dreaming state. For as much as it is present, it is in one way a hostile power, for it constantly disturbs the relation between soul and body, a relation which endures, and vet does not endure, inasmuch as it has endurance only by means of the spirit. On the other hand it is a friendly power which has precisely the function,, of
constituting the relationship. What then is man’s relation to this ambiguous power? How is spirit related to itself and to its situation? It is related as dread. The spirit cannot do away with it-~* self; nor can it
grasp itself so long as it has itself outside of itself. Neither can man sink down into the vegetative life, for he is determined as spirit. He cannot flee from dread, for he loves it; really he does not love it, for he flees from it. Innocence has now reached its apex. It is ignorance, but not an animal brutality, but an ignorance which is qualified by spirit, but which precisely is dread, because its ignorance is about nothing. Here there is no knowledge of good and evil, etc., but the whole reality of knowledge is projected in dread as the immense nothing of ignorance.

Soren Kierkegaard, The Concept of the Dread



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