A. At Fortvivlelse er Sygdommen til Døden
A) Fortvivlelse er en Sygdom i Aanden, i Selvet, og kan saaledes være et Tredobbelt: fortvivlet ikke at være sig bevidst at have et Selv (uegentlig Fortvivlelse); fortvivlet ikke at ville være sig selv; fortvivlet at ville være sig selv.
Mennesket er Aand. Men hvad er Aand? Aand er Selvet. Men hvad er Selvet? Selvet er et Forhold, der forholder sig til sig selv, eller er det i Forholdet, at Forholdet forholder sig til sig selv; Selvet er ikke Forholdet, men at Forholdet forholder sig til sig selv. Mennesket er en Synthese af Uendelighed og Endelighed, af det Timelige og det Evige, af Frihed og Nødvendighed, kort en Synthese. En Synthese er et Forhold mellem To. Saaledes betragtet er Mennesket endnu intet Selv.
I Forholdet mellem To er Forholdet det Tredie som negativ Eenhed, og de To forholde sig til Forholdet, og i Forholdet til Forholdet; saaledes er under Bestemmelsen Sjel Forholdet mellem Sjel og Legeme et Forhold. Forholder derimod Forholdet sig til sig selv, saa er dette Forhold det positive Tredie, og dette er Selvet.
A. That despair is the sickness unto death.
A) Despair is a sickness in the spirit, in the self, and it may be three-fold: despair at not being aware of having a self (improper despair); despair at not willing to be oneself; despair at willing to be oneself.
The human being is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation, that relates itself to itself - or it is, in the relation, that the relation relates itself to itself; the self is not the relation, but that the relation relates itself to itself.
The human being is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity - in short, a synthesis. A synthesis is a relation between two. Regarded this way, the human being is not yet a self.
In the relation between two, the relation is the third as a negative unity, and the two relate themselves to the relation, and in the relation to the relation; thus, regarded as «soul», the relation is between soul and body; on the contrary, if the relation relates itself to its own self, so this relation is the positive third, and this is the self.
Man is «spirit» (Aand), Kierkegaard says. Spirit is the «self» (Selv), and the self is a «relation» (Forhold) between two elements, «that relates itself» (der forholder sig) «to itself» (til sig selv) - that is, the self is a relation which is in relation to itself. The self is not the relation [between two elements], but it is the relation that relates itself to itself.
What are the parts that establish the relation? Kierkegaard says that this relation is «a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity» (en Synthese af Uendelighed og Endelighed, af det Timelige og det Evige, af Frihed og Nødvendighed). A synthesis is a relation between two parts - for instance, between «soul» (Sjel), which is freedom, and «body» (Legeme), which is necessity. But the synthesis is not the «self». The synthesis is «the third negative unity» (det Tredie som negativ Eenhed): it is negative, because it negates the terms that form the synthesis. It negates them because it is not them, but a third reality, different from them. The third term is thus a negation of both terms - which, in turn, «relate themselves to the relation» (de To forholdet sig til Forholdet) (since the relation is different from them). That the terms of the relation relate themlselves to the relation means that their difference is not annihilated by the synthesis - they are not assimilated to the synthesis - but remain in their essence beyond the relation - that is, their difference gets confirmed, so that they still remain closed in their essence, independent of each other, despite the relation between them. This negative unity is not the self, but a mere justaposition of counterposed elements, which lie side by side like a simple fact. But that the relation is negative allows the free reception of such negative relation, and of the elements that form it. The self, thus, is different from such a static and negative relation. The self is such negative relation that freely relates itself to itself - that is, that freely accepts such negative unity. This means that the self is the negative relation which relates itself to itself - in other words, the self is a relation between two negative parts. This new unity is a «positive third» (det positive Tredie). This positive unity is the self. It is positive because it is a relation between two identical elements which, for this reason, form a true unity. That is, the synthesis is now a relation that harmonises completely the elements of the relation. This pacific relation, however, does not eliminate the opposition between the elements which form the first negative unity. Indeed, here is the problem of man; for relating oneself to the negative relation means that one has to accept the negative relation, but such reception can address to a single part of the negative relation – since it is a juxtaposition of opposite elements - which can be easely taken for the whole.
So, the first relation between soul and body - between the temporal and the eternal, the freedom and the necessity - is a self when it becomes aware of itself - or «relates itself to itself» (forholder sig selv till sig selv), and so it runs the risk of the partial reception of the negative relation.