Soren Kierkegaard: “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology, and the philosophy of religion, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and parables (Wikipedia).

One of Soren Kierkegaard’s most important writings, Works of Love is a profound examination of the human heart, in which the great philosopher conducts the reader into the inmost secrets of Love. “Deep within every man,” Kierkegaard writes, “there lies the dread of being alone in the world, forgotten by God, overlooked among the household of millions upon millions.” Love, for Kierkegaard, is one of the central aspects of existence; it saves us from isolation and unites us with one another and with God.

Works of Love was published (September 29, 1847) about six months after the publication of Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (March 13, 1847), a volume Kierkegaard dedicated to “that single individual,” “whom I with joy and gratitude call my reader.”

The Hong Translation was published in 1962. The Hongs translate the text of a popular quote on truth this way:

“Indeed, one can be deceived in many ways; one can be deceived in believing what is untrue, but on the other hand, one is also deceived in not believing what is true.” – 1962 edition (Harper Torchbooks), page 23.

Thanks to the Kierkegaard Library in Minnesota for their help with sourcing this original quote.

A popular translation used today is:

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true;  the other is to refuse to believe what is true.


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