Such things do not make a Socrates

From Soren Kierkegaard’s Journals and Papers (v.2, pg. 278) – borrowed from Jonathan Lear’s lecture, To Become Human Does Not Come That Easily (now printed in his A Case for Irony):

In what did Socrates’ irony really lie? In expressions and turns of speech, etc? No, such trivialities, even his virtuosity in talking ironically, such things do not make a Socrates. No, his whole existence is and was irony; whereas the entire contemporary population of farm hands and business men and so on, all those thousands, were perfectly sure of being human and knowing what it means to be a human being, Socrates was beneath them (ironically) and occupied himself with the problem – what does it mean to be a human being? He thereby expressed that actually the Trieben [drives] of those thousands was a hallucination, tom-foolery, a ruckus, a hubbub, busyness … Socrates doubted that one is a human being by birth; to become human or to learn what it means to be human does not come that easily.

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