By J. Kellenberger (auth.)
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Extra info for God-Relationships With and Without God
Just here we come to an important feature of the ethics of relationships: in order to appreciate one's relationship-generated obligation to the other, in its particularized form, one must know the other. A son need know only that he is his father's offspring to know that he ought to honor his father, but to know how he ought to honor his father he must know his father. In one relationship a son may honor his father by taking time to converse with him daily about, say, his and their remembrances; in another relationship a son may honor his father by leaving alone painful memories and by allowing his father to initiate any lengthy conversations.
But the greater problem lies deeper. Neither really knows the other. Each projects a dream version of the other and reads the actions of the other in terms of that projection: for Torvald, Nora is his 'lark', his 'squirrel', his 'little Nora'; for Nora, Torvald is a hero who will do what is 'wonderful' when he discovers her forgery and take the blame himself. Neither projection is realistic (as they both come to realize, but not until the play's last scene). Both Nora and Torvald, in their separate ways, try to respect the obligations of the marriage relationship, and both think that they are doing so.
We need not assess how well Kierkegaard succeeded in doing this to note his single-minded dedication to his endeavor. The vehicle of his pursuit was his authorship. Immured in his rooms in Copenhagen, or - briefly - in Berlin, or in his house on Nytorv (New Market Square) in Copenhagen, working in a cloistered isolation remindful of the monasticism that he ironically disparaged as a religiosity of resignation or rejection, Kierkegaard wrote book after book between 1841 and 1850. In 1843 alone he published six books, including Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, and Repetition (written in a fortnight).