Top 10 Thought-Provoking Kierkegaard Quotes

These are my top 10 favorite famous quotes from the existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard is regarded as the precursor to Nietzsche and the father of existentialism. He wrote extensively about philosophy and religion and, in addition to his philosophy, he was a very interesting person.

Kierkegaard was extraordinarily prolific in his youth and then, as he hit his 30s, his struggles with major depression and other mental health disorders dramatically curtailed his output and then he died of a spinal disease in his early 40s.

The general vibe of Kierkegaard’s depression was that he felt like he was alone because his interests, intelligence and insights weren’t shared by his peers.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
“People understand me so poorly that they don’t even understand my complaint about them not understanding me.”
“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.”
“There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.”
“I have the courage, I believe, to doubt everything; I have the courage, I believe, to fight with everything; but I have not the courage to know anything.”
“To pace about, looking to obtain status, looking to attain ‘importance’ – I can think of nothing more ridiculous.”
“The crowd, in fact, is composed of individuals; it must therefore be in every man’s power to become what he is, an individual. From becoming an individual no one, no one at all, is excluded, except he who excludes himself by becoming a crowd.”
“The more one suffers, the more, I believe, has one a sense for the comic.”
“To be human, is not a fact, but a task.”

That about does it for the top 10 thought-provoking Kierkegaard Quotes. Be sure to check out the Philosophy Section for more content like this.


  • Ryan Night

    Ryan Night is an ex-game industry producer with over a decade of experience writing guides for RPGs. Previously an early contributor at, Ryan has been serving the RPG community with video game guides since 2001. As the owner of Bright Rock Media, Ryan has written over 600 guides for RPGs of all kinds, from Final Fantasy Tactics to Tales of Arise.

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