Immediate Living

Consider the difference between the person who has been toiling in the hot sun and is desperately thirsty and the wine connoisseur who wants to sample a new pinot noir from California. Both have a desire to drink something liquid, but the resemblance ends there. There desire of the first person is rooted in the raw structure of the body, which needs and craves water. No reflection or education is needed to have such a desire. In order to appreciate the difference between a pinot noir and a cabernet sauvignon, However, it may be necessary to have a cultivated taste, with an imaginative grasp of the vocabulary used to describe the subtle “notes” of the wines. The person who simply wants to get drunk every night as well as the person who prides himself on his refined and elegant taste in wine… are focused solely on the satisfaction of the desires the person happens to have and are thus in one sense “immediate.”

A person may know a great deal about ethical theory without having much in the way of ethical character. It is possible, then, for a person to be well-developed intellectually but existentially not developed at all, and therefore still immediate.

C. Steven Evans, Kierkegaard: An Introduction