Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of quotes and thoughts by Soren Kierkegaard on life, problem, truth, religion, experience, regret, advise, opinion, freedom, love, struggle and anxiety.

114 Insightful Quotes By Soren Kierkegaard On Fear, Regret, Existentialism And More

Quick Facts

Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian & Religious Author

Born On: May 5, 1813

Died On: November 11, 1855

Born In: Copenhagen

Died At Age: 42

Soren Kierkegaard was a celebrated Danish poet, philosopher, social critic, theologian and religious author. He is also regarded as the foremost existentialist philosopher. His writings included critical texts on philosophy of religions, organized religion, morality, psychology, ethics and Christendom. Kierkegaard’s thoughts, views, opinions and writings exhibited his endearment for parables, metaphor and irony. ‘Socrates’ and ‘Socratic Methods’ served as a source of inspiration to him. The psychological works by him probed the feelings and emotions of individuals when faced with life’s choices. His key concepts included objective and subjective truths, faith as a passion, three stages of life’s way, the knight of faith and the infinite qualitative distinction amongst others. Following is a compilation of some famous sayings and quotes by Soren Kierkegaard whose writings till date has a wide readership and are quoted extensively.

God creates everything out of nothing. And everything which God is to use, he first reduces to nothing

Soren Kierkegaard

The deepest form of despair is to choose to be another than himself.

Soren Kierkegaard

Happiness is the greatest hiding place for despair.

Soren Kierkegaard

A genius may perhaps be a century ahead of his age and hence stands there as a paradox, but in the end, the race will assimilate what was once a paradox, so it is no longer paradoxical.

Soren Kierkegaard

The truth is lived before it is understood. It must be fought for, tested, and appropriated. Truth is the way... Anyone will easily understand it if he just gives himself to it.

Soren Kierkegaard

Once you are born in this world you’re old enough to die.

Soren Kierkegaard

To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity.

Soren Kierkegaard

Confidence is the present tense of hope.

Soren Kierkegaard

Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?

Soren Kierkegaard

What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears?

Soren Kierkegaard

O Luther, you had 95 theses . . . The matter is far more terrible-there is only one thesis. The Christianity of the New Testament does not exist at all. Here there is nothing to reform.

Soren Kierkegaard

Wherever there is a crowd there is untruth.

Soren Kierkegaard

Are you not aware that there comes a midnight hour when everyone must unmask...

Soren Kierkegaard

The object of (Christian) faith is not the teaching but the Teacher.

Soren Kierkegaard

The minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion.

Soren Kierkegaard

Christ has not only spoken to us by his life but has also spoken for us by his death.

Soren Kierkegaard

The unhappy person is never present to themself because they always live in the past or the future.

Soren Kierkegaard

It is not where we breathe, but where we Love, that we live.

Soren Kierkegaard

Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved. Those who think they can love only the people they prefer do not love at all. Love discovers truths about individuals that others cannot see

Soren Kierkegaard

Most people are subjective toward themselves and objective toward all others, frightfully objective sometimes--but the task is precisely to be objective toward oneself and subjective toward all others.

Soren Kierkegaard

To be a woman is something so strange, so confusing and so complicated that only a woman could put up with it.

Soren Kierkegaard

For without risk there is no faith, and the greater the risk, the greater the faith.

Soren Kierkegaard

It is better to try something and fail than to try nothing and succeed. The result may be the same, but you won't be. We always grow more through defeats than victories.

Soren Kierkegaard

A man prayed, and at first he thought that prayer was talking. But he became more and more quiet until in the end he realized prayer is listening.

Soren Kierkegaard

It is not the path which is the difficulty; rather, it is the difficulty which is the path.

Soren Kierkegaard

I found I had less and less to say, until finally, I became silent, and began to listen. I discovered in the silence, the voice of God

Soren Kierkegaard

People settle for a level of despair they can tolerate and call it happiness.

Soren Kierkegaard

The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have.

Soren Kierkegaard

The most common form of despair is not being who you are.

Soren Kierkegaard

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

Soren Kierkegaard

It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important.

Soren Kierkegaard

Old age realizes the dreams of youth: look at Dean Swift; in his youth he built an asylum for the insane, in his old age he was himself an inmate.

Soren Kierkegaard

There are, as is known, insects that die in the moment of fertilization. So it is with all joy: life's highest, most splendid moment of enjoyment is accompanied by death.

Soren Kierkegaard

One can advise comfortably from a safe port.

Soren Kierkegaard

Since my earliest childhood a barb of sorrow has lodged in my heart. As long as it stays I am ironic if it is pulled out I shall die.

Soren Kierkegaard

Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further.

Soren Kierkegaard

I begin with the principle that all men are bores. Surely no one will prove himself so great a bore as to contradict me in this.

Soren Kierkegaard

Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own.

Soren Kierkegaard

The truth is a snare: you cannot have it, without being caught. You cannot have the truth in such a way that you catch it, but only in such a way that it catches you.

Soren Kierkegaard

It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.

Soren Kierkegaard

Because of its tremendous solemnity death is the light in which great passions, both good and bad, become transparent, no longer limited by outward appearences.

Soren Kierkegaard

Marriage brings one into fatal connection with custom and tradition, and traditions and customs are like the wind and weather, altogether incalculable.

Soren Kierkegaard

Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good.

Soren Kierkegaard

It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey.

Soren Kierkegaard

At the bottom of enmity between strangers lies indifference.

Soren Kierkegaard

During the first period of a man's life the greatest danger is not to take the risk.

Soren Kierkegaard

It was completely fruitless to quarrel with the world, whereas the quarrel with oneself was occasionally fruitful and always, she had to admit, interesting.

Soren Kierkegaard

Love is all, it gives all, and it takes all.

Soren Kierkegaard

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.

Soren Kierkegaard

Once you label me you negate me.

Soren Kierkegaard

I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved.

Soren Kierkegaard

The more a man can forget, the greater the number of metamorphoses which his life can undergo; the more he can remember, the more divine his life becomes.

Soren Kierkegaard

The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.

Soren Kierkegaard

How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.

Soren Kierkegaard

Not just in commerce but in the world of ideas too our age is putting on a veritable clearance sale. Everything can be had so dirt cheap that one begins to wonder whether in the end anyone will want to make a bid.

Soren Kierkegaard

What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.

Soren Kierkegaard

A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.

Soren Kierkegaard

Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself.

Soren Kierkegaard

Trouble is the common denominator of living. It is the great equalizer.

Soren Kierkegaard

People understand me so poorly that they don't even understand my complaint about them not understanding me.

Soren Kierkegaard

Purity of heart is to will one thing.

Soren Kierkegaard

Take away paradox from the thinker and you have a professor.

Soren Kierkegaard

There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.

Soren Kierkegaard

If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe.

Soren Kierkegaard

Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.

Soren Kierkegaard

God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.

Soren Kierkegaard

The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived.

Soren Kierkegaard

Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.

Soren Kierkegaard

Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.

Soren Kierkegaard

Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.

Soren Kierkegaard

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

Soren Kierkegaard

Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.

Soren Kierkegaard

I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations - one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it - you will regret both.

Soren Kierkegaard

The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.

Soren Kierkegaard

Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth - look at the dying man's struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for enjoyment.

Soren Kierkegaard

To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.

Soren Kierkegaard

Don't forget to love yourself.

Soren Kierkegaard

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Soren Kierkegaard

Be that self which one truly is.

Soren Kierkegaard

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.

Soren Kierkegaard

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Soren Kierkegaard

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

Soren Kierkegaard

The paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life and just as only great souls are exposed to passions it is only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call paradoxes, which are nothing else than grandiose thoughts in embryo.

Soren Kierkegaard

Since boredom advances and boredom is the root of all evil, no wonder, then, that the world goes backwards, that evil spreads. This can be traced back to the very beginning of the world. The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings.

Soren Kierkegaard

Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.

Soren Kierkegaard

People commonly travel the world over to see rivers and mountains, new stars, garish birds, freak fish, grotesque breeds of human; they fall into an animal stupor that gapes at existence and they think they have seen something.

Soren Kierkegaard

Concepts, like individuals, have their histories and are just as incapable of withstanding the ravages of time as are individuals. But in and through all this they retain a kind of homesickness for the scenes of their childhood.

Soren Kierkegaard

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.

Soren Kierkegaard

Christ was crucified because he would have nothing to do with the crowd (even though he addressed himself to all). He did not want to form a party, an interest group, a mass movement, but wanted to be what he was, the truth, which is related to the single individual. Therefore everyone who will genuinely serve the truth is by that very fact a martyr. To win a crowd is no art; for that only untruth is needed, nonsense, and a little knowledge of human passions. But no witness to the truth dares to get involved with the crowd.

Soren Kierkegaard

And this is the simple truth - that to live is to feel oneself lost. He who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground. Instinctively, as do the shipwrecked, he will look around for something to which to cling, and that tragic, ruthless glance, absolutely sincere, because it is a question of his salvation, will cause him to bring order into the chaos of his life. These are the only genuine ideas; the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric, posturing, farce.

Soren Kierkegaard

It is easy to see, though it scarcely needs to be pointed out, since it is involved in the fact that Reason is set aside, that faith is not a form of knowledge; for all knowledge is either a knowledge of the eternal, excluding the temporal and historical as indifferent, or it is pure historical knowledge. No knowledge can have for its object the absurdity that the eternal is the historical.

Soren Kierkegaard

In order to help another effectively, I must understand what he understands. If I do not know that, my greater understanding will be of no help to him... instruction begins when you put yourself in his place so that you may understand what he understands and in the way he understands it.

Soren Kierkegaard

Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion — and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion… while truth again reverts to a new minority.

Soren Kierkegaard

The daily press is the evil principle of the modern world, and time will only serve to disclose this fact with greater and greater clearness. The capacity of the newspaper for degeneration is sophistically without limit, since it can always sink lower and lower in its choice of readers. At last it will stir up all those dregs of humanity which no state or government can control.

Soren Kierkegaard

The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.

Soren Kierkegaard

Do not interrupt the flight of your soul; do not distress what is best in you; do not enfeeble your spirit with half wishes and half thoughts. Ask yourself and keep on asking until you find the answer, for one may have known something many times, acknowledged it; one may have willed something many times, attempted it - and yet, only the deep inner motion, only the heart's indescribable emotion, only that will convince you that what you have acknowledged belongs to you, that no power can take it from you - for only the truth that builds up is truth for you.

Soren Kierkegaard

In a theatre it happened that a fire started off stage. The clown came out to tell the audience. They thought it was a joke and applauded. He told them again, and they became still more hilarious. This is the way, I suppose, that the world will be destroyed-amid the universal hilarity of wits and wags who think it is all a joke.

Soren Kierkegaard

The greatest danger to Christianity is, I contend, not heresies, not heterodoxies, not atheists, not profane secularism - no, but the kind of orthodoxy which is cordial drivel, mediocrity served up sweet. There is nothing that so insidiously displaces the majestic as cordiality.

Soren Kierkegaard

How did I get into the world? Why was I not asked about it and why was I not informed of the rules and regulations but just thrust into the ranks as if I had been bought by a peddling shanghaier of human beings? How did I get involved in this big enterprise called actuality? Why should I be involved? Isn't it a matter of choice? And if I am compelled to be involved, where is the manager—I have something to say about this. Is there no manager? To whom shall I make my complaint?

Soren Kierkegaard

The ever increasing intensity of despair depends upon the degree of consciousness or is proportionate to this increase: the greater the degree of consciousness, the more intensive the despair. This is everywhere apparent, most clearly in despair at its maximum and minimum. The devil's despair is the most intensive despair, for the devil is sheer spirit and hence unqualified consciousness and transparency; there is no obscurity in the devil that could serve as a mitigating excuse. Therefore, his despair is the most absolute defiance. . . .

Soren Kierkegaard

People have an idea that the preacher is an actor on a stage and they are the critics, blaming or praising him. What they don't know is that they are the actors on the stage; he (the preacher) is merely the prompter standing in the wings, reminding them of their lost lines.

Soren Kierkegaard

How could it occur to anyone to demonstrate that God exists unless one has already allowed Himself to ignore Him? A king's existence is demonstrated by way of subjection and submissiveness. Do you want to try and demonstrate that the king exists? Will you do so by offering a string of proofs, a series of arguments? No. If you are serious, you will demonstrate the king's existence by your submission, by the way you live. And so it is with demonstrating God's existence. It is accomplished not by proofs but by worship. Any other way is but a thinker's pious bungling.

Soren Kierkegaard

There is nothing everyone is so afraid of as being told how vastly much he is capable of. You are capable of - do you want to know? - you are capable of living in poverty; you are capable of standing almost any kind of maltreatment, abuse, etc. But you do not wish to know about it, isn't that so? You would be furious with him who told you so, and only call that person your friend who bolsters you in saying: 'No, this I cannot bear, this is beyond my strength, etc.

Soren Kierkegaard

If I were a physician, and if I were allowed to prescribe just one remedy for all the ills of the modern world, I would prescribe silence. For even if the Word of God were proclaimed in the modern world, how could one hear it with so much noise? Therefore, create silence.

Soren Kierkegaard