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The decisive moment from Kierkegaard to Kundera

Ward, Koral (2001) The decisive moment from Kierkegaard to Kundera. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The Moment, or Augenblick, initially appears to be a mere fleeting temporal instant. In this project I endeavour to elevate it to a more abstract concept with significance for a person's life. I outline some 'Intense Moments' which can be characteristic of such a Moment although my task is not to dwell on these but to establish what makes such Moments 'decisive' for one's project of Being. The Conversion of St.Paul provides an example of a Moment both intense and decisive.

I begin by following Kierkegaard's opening up of the moment from a temporal instant to that which contains eternity, and the infinite presence of God. Developed from Plato's concept of the 'Sudden' it becomes a deeply Christian Moment pervaded by Kierkegaard's concept of ' Anxiety over Nothing'. I look at the concept of anxiety and other 'attunements' outlined by Heidegger as being crucial to discovering 'moments of vision'. Such rare moments he warns, are in danger of being missed as they pass by within the 'The Darkness of the (just) lived Moment'. The Sartrian 'instant' is the site of rupture in one's individual project of becoming who we are. The choices we make, make us. Yet it may be that, like the figure of the flaneur, we are unable or unwilling to seize such Moments.

Friedrich Nietzsche's Augenblick is the name above the gateway in the doctrine of 'eternal return'; here, I find temporality escapes the linear, becoming circular and repeating. The Moment again represents eternity, yet in a very different form to Kierkegaard's. Finally, one's own death appears on the horizon, in some cases as a graspable Moment in which one may make a decisive end to one's project of Being. The section on death provides I hope, a decisive closure to this project.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): MacDonald, Paul
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