By that time, the Copenhagen eccentric had become one of the most important influences on twentieth-century theology and philosophy. Although the term “existentialism” wasn’t coined until the nineteen-forties, in retrospect Kierkegaard appears as the first existentialist, thanks to his insistence that life’s most important questions—How should I act? What must I believe?—can’t be resolved by abstract reasoning. They present themselves as urgent problems for each individual, demanding commitment and action. “To be entirely present to oneself is the highest thing and the highest task for the personal life,” he wrote.