"What Kierkegaard teaches us is that we cannot deny passion. This can take the form of an impassioned move towards the Eternal, or a perverse turn towards tribal fanaticism. Stripped of its religious content, Kierkegaard’s existentialism terminates with Martin Heidegger or Jean-Paul Sartre, who leave angst-ridden humanity to invent its own identity. Heidegger defended Nazism as the authentic expression of German identity in his time. He "solved" the problem of Non-Being by equating it with boredom, perversion and destruction, an idea he cribbed from Goethe’s Mephistopheles (who in turn cribbed it from Ecclesiastes). Sartre opened a Pandora’s Box of self-invention that inspired the cultural meltdown of the 1960s. It is easy to see why reasonable people would prefer supposed eternal verities of the Greeks to Kierkegaard’s powder-keg of passion.
The trouble is that the Greeks, like today’s Europeans, died out for lack of interest in their own lives. The Europeans for the most part are phlegmatic, rational, dispassionate and moderate, immune to the blandishments of the tribalism that landed them into two world wars during the past century, and estranged from the religion of their forbears. The Europeans, one might say, are Stoics, adherents of the philosophy that prevailed in the Hellenic world during the three centuries following the Alexandrine conquest. And like the Greeks, they are dying out from their own infertility. By the time the Romans came along, the Greeks couldn’t field a dozen regiments of phalanx-men.”
dispassion kills (oh dear)