As Søren Kierkegaard once famously said, life is lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards.
I was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1946, right after the Second World War. Throughout my 50 years of academic life I’ve been busy, busy, busy. I have continuously explored new intellectual and scholarly vistas; like a fox I have jumped from one project to the other. I have rarely had time to, or interest in, looking back on my earlier life.
Now, 69 years later and with a professional career as an historian of science behind me, I still want to live forwards. Not least because I want to enjoy and foster my new brood of kids (here’s the youngest, he will be five years old next February).
But hopefully he and his two older sisters will benefit also from their father’s newly acquired interest in looking back on his career, his joys and sorrows, his few successes and way too many mistakes and lost opportunities. Although I think they should of course focus on living forwards for decades, they may nevertheless in some future time acknowledge the value of the old Greek notion of γνῶθι σεαυτόν (know thyself).
The idea for this website dawned upon me one day last summer. I had decided to leave my job as Director of the Medical Museion in Copenhagen after 15 years, and suddenly I felt an urge to take stock before going on to the next — yet somewhat underdefined — phase in life
The title ‘Life Recollected’ reflects the various intellectual and scholarly aims of and interests behind the site. I will get back to these aims and interests in later postings, and will also treat them more systematically in the static pages listed in the menu at top of this page.
An earlier and shorter version on Facebook (30 June 2015), generated the following comments:
Carsten Timmerman: Are you drafting a memoir?
Jørgen Stabenfelt: Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” ~Albert Einstein.
Thomas Söderqvist: Memoir sounds so boring. Autobiography is way too pretentious. I would rather call it a ‘spiritual exercise’ in the Augustinian confessional sense, based on my archive, my memories, and my library.
Thomas Söderqvist: Jørgen: I live for my family and kids today. And I’m very eager to learn from the past, so that I can understand what hope I can have for their future (if I’m lucky I’ve got another 15-20 years to go).
Jørgen Stabenfelt: Me too, Thomas, me too.