A DIALECTICAL DEVELOPMENT OF KIERKEGAARD'S STAGES OF EXISTENCE AND BUBER'S DIALOGICAL WAY OF LIFE (ZEN BUDDHISM)
Existence, according to Kierkegaard, consists of a series of processes in which we accept or reject various teloi. His stages of existence pertain to the different ways in which we can accept or reject teloi: we can do so according to aesthetic, ethical, or religious criteria. An explanation of these stages is first presented, and then they are illustrated with examples from Kierkegaard's work (Don Juan, the unhappiest man, the married man of Stages on Life's Way, Socrates, an outing in the Deer Park, and Abraham). It is then argued that Buber knows of another way of existing, that of saying 'Thou'. Instead of appropriating something as a means to some future telos, one can turn toward that thing simply for the sake of being related to it in the present, without ulterior motive. This allows for two additional ways of accepting teloi on the basis of religious criteria, which, together with saying 'Thou', constitute the dialogical way of life. In this way the exposition of Kierkegaard's thought provides a structure through which to appreciate the significance of Buber's.