The Crowd is Untruth

And to honour every man, absolutely every man, is the truth, and this is what it is to fear God and love one’s “neighbour.” But from an ethico-religious point of view, to recognize the “crowd” as the court of last resort is to deny God, and it cannot exactly mean to love the “neighbour.” And the “neighbour” is the absolutely true expression for human equality. In case every one were in truth to love his neighbour as himself, complete human equality would be attained. Every one who loves his neighbour in truth, expresses unconditionally human equality. Every one who, like me, admits that his effort is weak and imperfect, yet is aware that the task is to love one’s neighbour, is also aware of what human equality is. But never have I read in Holy Scripture the commandment, Thou shalt love the crowd – and still less, Thou shalt recognize, ethico-religiously, in the crowd the supreme authority in matters of “truth.” But the thing is simple enough: this thing of loving one’s neighbour is self-denial; that of loving the crowd, or of pretending to love it, of making it the authority in matters of truth, is the way to material power, the way to temporal and earthly advantages of all sorts – at the same time it is the untruth, for a crowd is the untruth.

Therefore was Christ crucified, because, although He addressed himself to all, He would have no dealings with the crowd, because He would not permit the crowd to aid him in any way, because in this regard He repelled people absolutely, would not found a party, did not permit balloting, but would be what He is, the Truth, which relates itself to the individual. – And hence every one who truly would serve the truth is eo ipso, in one way or another, a martyr.

For it is not so great a trick to win the crowd. All that is needed is some talent, a certain dose of falsehood, and a little acquaintance with human passions. But no witness for the truth (Aa! and that is what every man should be, including you and me) – no witness for the truth dare become engaged with the crowd.

~ Kierkegaard

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