George Costanza Was Channeling Kierkegaard

by | Feb 22, 2019 | Off the Wall

Søren Kierkegaard believed that philosophy begins, not with thought, but with existence: an egalitarian life lived passionately within a world of absurdity. George Costanza, the Seinfeldian Everyman who extracted more than should be expected from a life lived absurdly on the edge of marginalization, embodied Kierkegaard’s ideal.

A close study comparing the utterences of Costanza with the writings of Kierkegaard reveals that Constanza was not merely a student of the philosopher, but was actively channeling Kierkegaard, translating the Dane’s thoughts into the context of twentieth century New York City. Let us consider a few of the more readily-grasped examples…

Kierkegaard: It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.
Costanza: Yes, I will do the opposite. I used to sit here and do nothing, and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposite, and I will do something!

Kierkegaard: Everything is a lie, and to such a degree that the only way people try to counteract it is by being mutually aware of the fact that it is a lie.
Costanza: I lie every second of the day. My whole life is a sham.

Kierkegaard: Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.
Costanza: My name is George. I’m unemployed and I live with my parents.

Kierkegaard: It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important.
Costanza: Food and sex, those are my two passions… If I could add TV to the equation, that would really be the ultimate.

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.
Costanza: Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.

Kierkegaard: The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you’ll never have.
Costanza: Why couldn’t you make me an architect? You know I always wanted to pretend that I was an architect.

Kierkegaard: Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work.
Costanza: When you look annoyed all the time, people think you’re busy.

Kierkegaard: Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved.
Costanza: I might tell her that I love her. I came this close last night, then I just chickened out… I’ve just got to say it once, everybody else gets to say it, why can’t I say it?

Kierkegaard: My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known — no wonder, then, that I return the love.
Costanza: I feel like my old self again – neurotic, paranoid, totally inadequate, completely insecure. It’s a pleasure.

Søren Kierkegaard died at the age of 42, from complications caused by falling from a tree when he was a child. His entire existence had been, not a prelude to Death, but a gradual enfolding into Death’s embrace. George Costanza died in prison after walking into the shower and saying, “I think it moved.”

Since 2013, Reverb Raccoon has featured the best music from unknown and independent musicians. His interests include eating leftovers from the neighbor’s garbage can and watching The Royal Tenenbaums.  Email: reverb.raccoon@gmail.com

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