The next section of the essay proposes a seemingly absurd experiment to permit the escape from boredom without the need for extraneous effort. Sadly, the absurdity of his quip is not a mere literary bubble, but a plan which world governments have put into action with wild abandon.
Every once in a while we hear of a man who is a genius , and therefore neglects to pay his debts-why should not a nation do the same, if we are all agreed? Let us then borrow fifteen millions, and let us use the proceeds, not to pay our debts, but for public entertainment. Let us celebrate the millennium in a riot of entertainment.
The essay proposes making the distribution by means of public boxes set out for public consumption. Modern governments have determined that it would be unfairly difficult to require people to pick up the money, so it is simply delivered (and yes, yes, I know that there are occasions where charitable help is good and necessary but there is also the flagrant use for “entertainment”.)
So let us consider this idea: use money which you do not have and which you cannot (or at least do not intend to) repay for the purpose of making one’s life more entertaining –without the necessity of work.
This desire is a bizarre attempt at reversing the Fall and obtaining Eden without God:
Ecclesiastes 2:1–11 (ESV)
2 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man.
9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Our essayist seems to have anticipated another aspect of the modern socialist state: those receiving the largesse would not permitted personal property (“No one should be permitted to own any property.”). But, also as accords with the modern socialist state, those in charge are permitted extravagant personal wealth:
Only in my own case could there be an exception. I reserve to myself securities in the Bank of London to the value of hone hundred dollars a day, partly because I cannot do less, partly because the idea is mine, and finally because I may not be able to hit upon a new idea with the fifteen millions are gone.
Reading Kierkegaard back onto our culture leads one to the conclusion that we live in a world where one’s ethics are aesthetic. Thus, one feels about a matter is the measure of whether it is good or bad (thus, if you make me feel unhappy, you are “evil”).