“Anxiety for the next day is commonly associated with anxiety for subsistence. This is a very superficial view. The next day – it is the grappling-hook by which the prodigious hulk of anxiety gets a hold of the individual’s light craft. If it succeeds, he is under the domination of that power. The next day is the first link of the chain that fetters a person to that superfluous anxiety that is of the evil one. The next day – it is strange indeed, for ordinarily when one is sentenced for life the sentence reads, “for life,” but he who sentences himself to anxiety “for the next day,” sentences himself for life.

One who rows a boat turns his back to the goal towards which he labors. So it is with the next day. When by the help of eternity one lives absorbed in today, he turns his back to the next day. The more he is absorbed in today, the more decisively he turns his back upon the next day, so that he does not see it at all. If he turns around, eternity is confused before his eyes, it becomes the next day. But if for the sake of laboring more effectually towards the goal (eternity) he turns his back, he does not see the next day at all. By the help of eternity he sees quite clearly today and its task.

If you are to labor fruitfully today, you must be in this position. It always involves delay and distraction to want to look impatiently every instant towards the goal, to see if you are coming a little nearer, and now a little nearer. No, be eternally and seriously resolved, turn completely to the labor and turn the back to the goal. Such is one’s position in rowing a boat, but such is also the position when you believe.”

– Søren Kierkegaard


Winslow Homer, The Fog Warning, 1885

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