Søren Kierkegaard (5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a “single individual”, giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment.
Kierkegaard invented philosophical journals. He wrote over 7,000 pages in his journals on events, musings, thoughts about his works and everyday remarks. Careful not to reveal too much, Kierkegaard wrote aphorisms in literary style which led to many interpretations of his writings. At that time, the philosopher figure was Hegel.
Hegel followed a big tradition of philosophical writing that can be summed as a long demonstration or thesis in an impersonal objective style. He was considered as the philosopher of the system and his writings are a fusion of abstract thinking and concepts. Being monumental himself, Hegel was the power image of the philosopher who inspired countless philosophy students and readers. So Kierkegaard stood as the anti-Hegel, anti-system philosopher which made him the father of existentialism.
Knowing that his journals would have a big influence on people, In December 1849, he wrote:
“Were I to die now the effect of my life would be exceptional; much of what I have simply jotted down carelessly in the Journals would become of great importance and have a great effect; for then people would have grown reconciled to me and would be able to grant me what was, and is, my right.”