Soren Kierkegaard remains a mentor to many people for a good reason. He touched the soul like a maestro picking up a violin and that master’s touch comes not so much from his intelligence as from his sensitivity. And that sensitivity was carefully cultivated.
Kierkegaard had always been a lonely person, but, as a young man, he made a deliberate, strong decision to remain wedded to that loneliness. He fell in love with a woman and they planned to marry, but eventually, in a decision that would cause him pain and anguish for a long time, Kierkegaard called off the marriage, though he deeply loved the woman. What was his reason? He was afraid that if he let another person into his life in this way it would interfere with his loneliness in a way that would impact on the depth of his understanding and with what he had to share with the world. He chose celibacy for what he felt was a noble reason, a deeper solidarity with the loneliness of the world. He cultivated loneliness as a means of deeper entry into the soul.