Search Menu

Sickness Unto Death

Soren Kierkegaard


Part I.B.

Part I.B.


All people are in despair unless they are "true Christians" (and true Christians are very rare). This is not a depressing thought. Rather, the universality of despair indicates that spirituality is a universal quality of human beings.

People may be in despair even if they are not aware that they are in despair. People may be ill but have symptoms only a physician would recognize; similarly, people may be in despair and not know it. Yet whereas a physician could presumably give a patient a clean bill of health, despair may always be lurking beneath appearances. Moreover, whereas physical illnesses can be cured once and for all, despair can always come back to plague a person despite past efforts to overcome it.

Most people go through life concerned only with petty physical and material cares. Yet whether or not one is in despair is the only question of "eternal" significance.


As its title suggests, the main point of Part I.B. ("The Universality of this Sickness") is that despair is a universal condition, whether or not people are aware of it. The only people who are not in despair are those who are aware of despair and combat it with all their energy.

Part I.B. also makes clear that there is a strong link between despair and Christianity. Kierkegaard stresses that despair is the only concern of importance to "eternity." This implies that rooting out despair is the qualification for the eternal life that Christ promised.

More Help

Previous Next
A human being is "a self which relates itself to itself" and which has been "established by another."

by anon_2223140179, January 10, 2015

A human being is "a self which relates itself to itself" and which has been "established by another."

This is so urgh... I get the feeling there is a hint of regressive logic here that is intentional. The inability to percieve oneself. I am having trouble framing these things coherently. SO FRUSTRATING


1 out of 3 people found this helpful

essay help

by josephbanks, August 10, 2017

My experience with essay services has generally been very positive. I requested a writer from

to write my English essay on Jane Eyre because I was really short on time (that week my family had to move houses unexpectedly and I had no time whatsoever to sit down at a computer and do work.) Needless to say the services were good and my essay was done really quickly. The writer that I picked followed directions well. Of course, if you can do it yourself, th... Read more