I found his mission quite ambitious and was impressed by the many challenges he created for his fellow citizens (in a good way), e.g. 'Attack upon Christendom' etc.
Soren Kierkegaard 'The Danish Socrates'...
Out of curiousity, I asked a number of different people named 'Kierkegaard' on Facebook whether it was a problem living with that name. Denmark is a small place (5.5 million) and I thought the reputation of Kierkegaard the writer might interfere with the identies of modern individuals with the same name. This would be especially ironic, as Kierkegaard did his best to protect the individual from interference as much as possible.
From my query, I received a number of responses from men and women of different ages and backgrounds to the question:"Do you or other 'Kierkegaards' found it difficult to live with the name? Does Soren Kierkegaard's history cast a shadow over modern Kierkegaards?"
Two people demurred in answering the question.
One person gave a very thoughtful response:
Well I feel it does commit to have that name. Many have asked me about his thoughts and philosophy, but I do not have any special insight. My part of the family comes from SK's brothers side. I find SK very interesting, allthough very complex. One of my favourites from is;
Individual human beings constantly find themselves in a state of “paradox” (a crisis that needs to be resolved) and hope to find a ”truth”. (a resolution of the crisis, after making a commitment to a particular kind of action).
So it is not just a matter of finding out how things are, but more a question of commiting one self to certain specific action.
Some of the younger respondents thought it was pretty cool:
Hi Mark! actually it dosen't hurt me at all, I just think that it's cool sharing blood with such a famous person. And my dad is even pretty look alike to Soren. And it's not just that we share the same surname we really are relatives. Where your from btw?
Another young respondent was non-plussed:
I don't really care. How do you feel about your own name "winston"?
A middle age female also echoed the younger respondendents:
Hi - not at all! My family members are all very proud to be related to Soren Kierkegaard and we like finding similarities when comparing our male members and statues of Soren in Copenhagen.
Some respondents answered in a relgious way:
Hola Mark W..
No.. Søren Kierkegaard lived many years ago.. And I haven't seen any shadow from him. Soren is in heaven, and there is no shadow in heaven...
Other respondents simply answered in a kinship way:
No - not a problem at all.... actually it is my husband's family relationship. The family are descendants after Soren Kierkegaard's brother...
Another respondent did indicate it was a problem, but only because of the literal meaning of 'Kierkegaard':
No, Søren does not bother at all. The only problem with the name is the teasing when you are a small child, because in danish, kierkegaard means cemetary.
Another responded philosophically:
Well... Besides being passed up by strangers on facebook every now and then, there are few consequences with bearing the same surname. Søren didn't have any offspring, and variations on the surname are numerous and not uncommon names in danish: kirkegård, kierkegaard, kierkegård and so on. In danish, kierkegaard means graveyard/churchyard.
Having studied philosophy, existentialism in particular, I am his intellectual descendant. He lived as a worthy and decent human - you shouldnt believe everything the press wrote about him in his own time, -- and I respect him very much as an ideal. His writings, especially Either/Or, has impacted me greatly, and helped me cope with my own existence.
I hope this is a satisfactory answer. Please excuse my english. It's not my native language.
These and others I did not quote, generally found no interference in their individuality by the 'grandfather of existentialism.' I guess this is as it should be. Had I put money on this, I would have lost this bet. Cheers.