No conclusions

It is not improbable that the lives of many men go on in such a way that they have indeed premises for living but reach no conclusions. Such a man’s life goes on till death comes and puts an end to life, but without bringing with it an end in the sense of a conclusion. For it is one thing that life is over, and a different thing that a life is finished by reaching a conclusion. In the degree that such a man has talents he can go ahead and become an author, as he understands it. But such an understanding is an illusion. For that matter […] he may have extraordinary talents and remarkable learning, but an author he is not, in spite of the fact that he produces books. […] No, in spite of the fact that the man writes, he is not essentially an author; he will be capable of writing the first and also the second part, but he cannot write the third part — the last part he cannot write. If he goes ahead naively (led astray by the reflection that every book must have a last part) and so writes the last part, he will make it thoroughly clear by writing the last part that he makes a written renunciation to all claim to be an author. For though it is indeed by writing that one justifies the claim to be an author, it is also, strangely enough, by writing that one virtually renounces this claim […] To find the conclusion it is necessary first of all to observe that it is lacking, and then in turn to feel quite vividly the lack of it.

— Kierkegaard, On Authority and Revelation (quoted here)


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