50 Soren Kierkegaard Quotes on Philosophy and Life

Søren Kierkegaard quotes to get to know a trailblazer in philosophy.

Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher and religious author who was believed to be the first existentialist philosopher. Born in 1813 to an affluent family in Copenhagen, Søren Kierkegaard, like all of us, was shaped a lot by his early childhood. His mother was a simple woman with little education, but she protected her children as best she could.

His father, on the other hand, was a stern man who was a well-off wool merchant. Although he seemed so stern, his father has an active imagination and in fact, their home was the site of many philosophical discussions, which surely shaped young Søren Kierkegaard.

Enjoy these Søren Kierkegaard quotes! And don’t forget to also check out these Francis Bacon quotes from the iconic English philosopher.

Best Søren Kierkegaard Quotes

1. “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” – Søren Kierkegaard

2. “Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.” – Søren Kierkegaard

3. “The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly one you’ll never have.” – Søren Kierkegaard

4. “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” – Søren Kierkegaard

5. “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.” – Søren Kierkegaard

6. “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.” – Søren Kierkegaard

7. “Once can advise comfortably from a safe port.” – Søren Kierkegaard

8. “Trouble is the common denominator of the living. It is the great equalizer.” – Søren Kierkegaard

9. “There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.” – Søren Kierkegaard

10. “If anyone on the verge of actions should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin.” – Søren Kierkegaard

Inspirational Søren Kierkegaard Quotes

11. “Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

12. “It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.” – Søren Kierkegaard

13. “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” – Søren Kierkegaard

14. “Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.” – Søren Kierkegaard

15. “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” – Søren Kierkegaard

16. “Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.” – Søren Kierkegaard

17. “It is essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important.” – Søren Kierkegaard

18. “Once you label me you negate me.” – Søren Kierkegaard

19. “Boredom is the root of all evil – the despairing refusal to be oneself.” – Søren Kierkegaard

20. “It is one thing to introduce a new doctrine into the world, it is something else to live it.” – Søren Kierkegaard

Motivational Søren Kierkegaard Quotes

21. “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” – Søren Kierkegaard

22. “During the first period of a man’s life, the greatest danger is not to take the risk.” – Søren Kierkegaard

23. “Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.” – Søren Kierkegaard

24. “Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own.” – Søren Kierkegaard

25. “I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved.” – Søren Kierkegaard

26. “Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good.” – Søren Kierkegaard

Søren Kierkegaard Quotes About Love

27. “Love is all, it gives all, and it takes all.” – Søren Kierkegaard

28. “Don’t forget to love yourself.” – Søren Kierkegaard

29. “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.” – Søren Kierkegaard

30. “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.” – Søren Kierkegaard

31. “When one has once fully entered the realm of love, the world — no matter how imperfect — becomes rich and beautiful, it consists solely of opportunities for love.” – Søren Kierkegaard

32. “Men think that it is impossible for a human being to love his enemies, for enemies are hardly able to endure the sight of one another. Well, then, shut your eyes–and your enemy looks just like your neighbor.” – Søren Kierkegaard

33. “All distinctions between the many different kinds of love are essentially abolished by Christianity.” – Søren Kierkegaard

34. “Unhappiness is not to love without being loved, but to be loved when one does not love.” – Søren Kierkegaard

35. “To love another in spite of his weaknesses and errors and imperfections is not perfect love. No, to love is to find him lovable in spite of and together with his weakness and errors and imperfections.” – Søren Kierkegaard

36. “The hidden life of love, in its most inward depths, is unfathomable, and still has a boundless relationship with the whole of existence. As the quiet lake is fed by the flow of hidden springs, which no eye sees, so a human being’s love is grounded in God’s love. If there were no spring at the bottom, if God were not love, there would be neither a lake nor human love.” – Søren Kierkegaard

37. “Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself.” – Søren Kierkegaard

38. “In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant… My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known — no wonder, then, that I return the love.” – Søren Kierkegaard

39. “To love another person is to help them love God.” – Søren Kierkegaard

40. “Ulysses was not comely, but he was eloquent, Yet he fired two goddesses of the sea with love.” – Søren Kierkegaard

Other Søren Kierkegaard Quotes

41. “Take away paradox from the thinker and you have a professor.” – Søren Kierkegaard

42. “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.” – Søren Kierkegaard

43. “It is wretched to have an abundance of intentions and a poverty of action, to be rich in truths and poor in virtues.” – Søren Kierkegaard

44. “If a person does not become what he understands, then he does not understand it either.” – Søren Kierkegaard

45. “If I could only have the experience of meeting a passionate thinker, that is, someone who honestly and honorably expressed in his life what he has understood!” – Søren Kierkegaard

46. “All existence-issues are passionate. To think about them so as to leave out passion is not to think about them at all. It is to forget the point that one indeed is oneself an existing person. To exist is an art. The subjective thinker is aesthetic enough for his life to have aesthetic content, ethical enough to regulate it, passionate enough in thinking to master it.” – Søren Kierkegaard

47. “The subjective thinker is continually striving, is always in the process of becoming. How far the subjective thinker might be along that road, whether a long way or a short, makes no essential difference (it is, after all, just a finitely relative comparison); as long as he is existing, he is in the process of becoming.” – Søren Kierkegaard

48. “The essential sermon is one’s own existence. A person preaches with this every hour of the day and with power quite different from that of the most eloquent speaker in his most eloquent moment. To let your mouth run with eloquent babbling when such talk is the opposite of your life is in the deepest sense nonsense. You become liable to eternal judgment.” – Søren Kierkegaard

49. “There are many people who arrive at conclusions in life much the way schoolboys do; they cheat their teachers by copying the answer book without having worked the problem themselves.” – Søren Kierkegaard

50. “To venture the truth is what gives human life and the human situation pith and meaning. To venture is the fountainhead of inspiration. Calculating is the sworn enemy of enthusiasm, the mirage whereby the earthly person drags out time and keeps the eternal away, whereby one cheats God, himself, and his generation.” – Søren Kierkegaard

What did you learn from these Søren Kierkegaard quotes and sayings?

Søren Kierkegaard was a man who believed in being friendly to everyone and valued a good discussion with anyone, rich or poor. He wanted everyone to know that there was at least one man in Copenhagen with who anyone could approach and freely discuss any subject. This most likely stemmed from seeing that his mother had been a maid, before marrying his more wealthy father.

Søren Kierkegaard was a very accomplished writer who wrote many things under a pseudonym so that people would approach the writing without preconceived ideas. Much of his work concentrated on living life as a “single individual” and how our life choices and experiences shape us.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Søren Kierkegaard quotes and sayings? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

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