Tuesday, January 17, 2006

KSRK: Guilty?/Not Guilty? (March 5 through March 15)

Quidam begins the March diary entries by curiously mentioning that there is "no new symptom." I don't believe he's mentioned anything about symptoms before, and it's hard to see how it can refer to the previous entry about their meeting at Hauser Square. That meeting at the end of February provokes no small amount of activity on the part of Quidam, both mental and physical, and his efforts towards the middle of the month to determine whether that meeting was arranged by chance or by his beloved lead to what can only be described as high comedy.

First are some frantic reflections on human friendship in the March 7th midnight entry:
What is all this for? Why do I do it? Because I cannot do otherwise. I do it fo rthe sake of the idea, for the sake of meaning for I cannot live without an idea; I cannot bear that my life should have no meaning at all. The nothing I am doing still does provide a little meaning. Any attempt to forget, to begin all over again, to clink glasses with a friend and drink dus with a congenial person is impossible for me, although I well realize taht my life would then be regarded as having deep meaning...

Only a relationship with God is the true idealizing friendship, for the thought of God penetrates to the point of seperating mind and thoughts and does not arrive at an understanding through chatter.
So much for human fellowship.

There follows another entry (March 9. Morning) in which he proclaims yet again, "No new symptom."

Then the mania truly begins. His beloved fails to show up at that meeting in Hauser Square, and Quidam has to wonder if that first one wasn't accidental after all. But of course he has "declared perpetual warfare on the power we call chance," and he isn't about to take this lying down. He overhears somewhere that her father is driving out to the country and suspects that it is to visit her. Why would she be forty miles out in the country? "Suppose she insists on being offended, wants it to be in the open, wants to despair and to have a distinctive form of desperation." How can this be done any better, exept by travelling out into the middle of nowhere? Quidam makes a decision:"But I must go out there; I must see what he want out there. Alas, I do not dare to ask anyone about anything, not for anything."

The result of Quidam's torturous reflections and bold decision-making begs to be quoted in full. March 17, midnight:
False alarm. Right now I have driven a hundred miles in sixteen hours, I have been nearly dead wiwth anxiety and impatience - and for nothing. My life has been endangered in a ludicrous way - and for nothing. A clumsy lout of a mail coach driver falls asleep and the horses along with him. In a fury, I jump from the carriage and hit the fellow without taking into consideration that he was a giant compared with me. But what one will not do in such a mood! And then they praise the mail-coach service, and the special coach service! It is misearble. If Richard III would give his kingdom for a horse, I believe I would have given half my fortune for a team of runners. The coach driver threw me to the ground. It was no use to walk, I had to apologize, give him a bg tip - and we drove on. The whole thing is a private matter. Ther is a farm to rent, and a man in Jylland has a son who wants to rent it. The father is an old friend of her father, and he is out there now to obtain some information about the terms. How can a brain stand all this! This is a higher and tougher sea than is known in the Atlantic Ocean, for the swell swings between nothing and the most dreadful of all.
Higher-larious. The idea that the religious and the comical metaphysically coalesce in events plotted and carried out by all-too-willing buffoons has no better illustration than this. With this entry it seems to me impossible that their could be any confusion of Kierkegaard with Quidam, except of course in the bare outline of the story. I also wonder how much he came to resent Regine in the years following their break, as descriptions such as these, in their indictment of Q's obsessions, would seem to me to go a long ways towards exculpating her of everthing except the bad luck of meeting him. I'd also note that the business with the coach driver is strongly reminiscent of his story of the policeman and the passerby on the February 20 midnight entry. Quidam is painfully suffering under his own sense of the comic. He is becoming the butt of his own joke.

No wonder that on the 20th he writes, "whether in the spiritual sense this is growing weather and the beautiful flower is sprouting in secret or whether stormy weather is brewing, I do not know; I do not even dare to investigate lest I do it prematurely and thereby disturm."

All this is curiously interrupted by another reflection on the 5th of the month, this time in an accounting of Solomon's Dream. In Quidam's version,
He dreams-he dreams that David is an ungodly man, rejected by God, that the royal majesty is God's anger with him, that he must wear the purple as a punishment, taht he is condemned to rule, condemned to listen to the people's approval, while the righteousness of the Lord secretly and hiddenly passes judgement upon the guilty one. And the dream intimates that God is not the God of the godly but of the ungodly, and aht to be singled out by God one has to be an ungodly person, and the horor of the dream is this contradiction.
Solomon then awakens from the dream and then rises to see his father, David, lying on the ground, crushed in spirit.
Horror seized him when he thought of what it means to be God's chosen one. He suspected that the saint's intimacy with God, the uprightness of the pure and faultless man before God, was not the explanation, but that secret guilt was teh secret that explained everything.
He goes on to describe Solomon's condition later in life, and I think it's fair to say that this is largely intended as an example of the aesthetic mode, and for all the wisdom he is able to dole out to others he is "like the invalid who cannot carry his own body," and he is unable to save himself.

How well this explicates the passage from 1 Kings is debatable, but of course it certainly does resonate with the other 5th-of-the-month entries, particularly the unspoken dialogue between father and son in "Quiet Despair". How well it resonates with the action described in the other entries for the month of March ... well, I just don't see the connection.


Blogger Jonathan Potter said...

And it's interesting that following these passages of high comedy, Quidam brings up the notion of comedy serving religiosity by shining a light on false religiosity.

4:22 PM  

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