Would you seek yourself through recognition garnered on the strength of toil inspired by terror, or through iterating a singularly personal commitment at the cost of the objective, or would you rather argue for a position that submits neither to Hegel nor to Kierkegaard?

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This decision is one you will have to make for yourself, but to help you get started, let’s explore the options provided and see what they entail for a person who must choose between Hegel’s and Kierkegaard’s positions (or another position entirely).

Let’s think first about the idea of “strength...

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This decision is one you will have to make for yourself, but to help you get started, let’s explore the options provided and see what they entail for a person who must choose between Hegel’s and Kierkegaard’s positions (or another position entirely).

Let’s think first about the idea of “strength of toil inspired by terror.” This refers to working hard and gaining strength out of the motivation of fear. Behind one’s work is a horror of not having something one needs to survive, or perhaps not having the recognition one thinks one deserves. This motivation pushes a person to work and struggle, gaining in strength all along. A person can be successful this way but probably not fulfilled, because giving in to fear only leads to increased and prolonged fear and harder and harder work to overcome it.

Now let's reflect on the second possibility: “iterating a singularly personal commitment at the cost of the objective.” Here a person has a goal yet chooses to put a personal commitment ahead of that goal, to repeat and reinforce that commitment, even if it means missing the goal, which the person decides is less important. Let’s look at an example of this one. A student has made a personal commitment to bringing up his grades. He sees this as extremely important to his future, and he decides that it must take priority over other goals. This student also plays sports, and his coach has set a training goal for the team that month. The student must make a decision here. If he chooses the extra study time that he needs to raise his grades over the extra training time his coach wants him to put in, he just might miss the training goal. Yet he has decided that his grades, and his personal commitment to them, are more important.

If you wish to choose a different position, you will need to articulate why you reject Hegel’s and Kierkegaard’s views, and you may wish to discuss other philosophers’ ideas on the same subjects.

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