Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

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Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby gavesako » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:17 pm

Franz Kafka was born 130 years ago today in 1883 near the Old Town Square in Prague, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


"Life's splendor forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness, but veiled from view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come." (18 October 1921)
-- from The Diaries of Franz Kafka 1910-1923

“You can hold back from the suffering of the world. You have free permission to do so, and it is in accordance with your nature. But perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could have avoided.”
-- Franz Kafka



I think there are definitely some things in his writings which are close to Buddha's understanding of human existence and the nature of dukkha.

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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby binocular » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:24 pm

gavesako wrote:Franz Kafka was born 130 years ago today in 1883 near the Old Town Square in Prague, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

I think there are definitely some things in his writings which are close to Buddha's understanding of human existence and the nature of dukkha.

Could you say a bit more about that?

Kafka's characters always struck me as conceiving of themselves as victims - victims of some invisible force, victims of the universe. This doesn't strike me as Buddhist at all.
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby gavesako » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:34 pm

If you carefully read, say, the Trial or the Castle you will find that the external forces are merely metaphors, in fact K. is under a kind of 'inner arrest' just as the Buddha describes it: Hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby binocular » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:41 pm

gavesako wrote:If you carefully read, say, the Trial or the Castle you will find that the external forces are merely metaphors, in fact K. is under a kind of 'inner arrest' just as the Buddha describes it: Hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.

Interesting point. I never had that impression. I suppose the texts could be read that way, although in all my time at school and then later, I have never heard Kafka being interpreted that way, but always in terms of the tortured, victimized, innocent individual.


Have you read the texts in the original, in German?
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby gavesako » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:50 pm

Yes, I did. He lived only about 100 meters from my old university where I walked every day. So I kind of sensed why he chose the symbol of the castle towering above.

Ven. Nyanavira wrote about this in detail, you can look it up in his letters (part of Clearing the Path):

[L. 59] 23 July 1963

Kafka is an ethical, not an aesthetic, writer. There is no conclusion to his books. The Castle was actually unfinished, but what ending could there be to it? And there is some doubt about the proper order of the chapters in The Trial -- it does not really seem to matter very much in which order you read them, since the book as a whole does not get you anywhere. (An uncharitable reader might disagree, and say that it throws fresh light on the Judiciary.) In this it is faithful to life as we actually experience it. There is no 'happy ending' or 'tragic ending' or 'comic ending' to life, only a 'dead ending' -- and then we start again.

We suffer, because we refuse to be reconciled with this lamentable fact; and even though we may say that life is meaningless we continue to think and act as if it had a meaning. Kafka's heroes (or hero, 'K.' -- himself and not himself) obstinately persist in making efforts that they understand perfectly well are quite pointless -- and this with the most natural air in the world. And, after all, what else can one do? Notice, in The Trial, how the notion of guilt is taken for granted. K. does not question the fact that he is guilty, even though he does not know of what he is guilty -- he makes no attempt to discover the charge against him, but only to arrange for his defence. For both Kierkegaard and Heidegger, guilt is fundamental in human existence. (And it is only the Buddha who tells us the charge against us -- avijjá.) I should be glad to re-read The Castle when you have finished it (that is, if 'finished' is a word that can be used in connexion with Kafka).


[L. 68] 3 November 1963

About Kafka's Trial, as I remarked on an earlier occasion, it seems to me that the crime with which K. is charged is that of existing, and that this is why the charge is never made explicit. Everybody exists, and it would be ridiculous to charge one man with this crime and not the next man as well. But not everybody feels guilty of existing; and even those who do are not always clear about what it is precisely that they feel guilty of, since they see that the rest of mankind, who also exist, go through life in a state of blissful innocence. The criminal charge of existing cannot be brought home to those who are satisfied of their innocence (since judicial censure is worse than futile unless the accused recognizes his guilt), and also it cannot be brought home to those who recognize their guilt but who are not satisfied that it is of existing that they are guilty (since judicial censure fails of its intended effect if the accused, though aware of guilt, believes that the charge against him has been wrongly framed). To secure a conviction, then, the charge must be one simply of guilt; and so, in fact, it is in The Trial.

'"Yes", said the Law-Court Attendant, "these are the accused men, all of them are accused of guilt." "Indeed!" said K. "Then they're colleagues of mine."' (pp. 73-4) And this charge of guilt, clearly enough, can only be brought against those who are guilty of guilt, and not against those who do not feel the guilt of existing. But who is it that feels the guilt of existing? Only he who, in an act of reflexion, begins to be aware of his existence and to see that it is inherently unjustifiable. He understands (obscurely, no doubt, at first) that, when he is challenged to give an account of himself, he is unable to do so. But who is it that challenges him to give an account of himself? In The Trial it is the mysterious and partly corrupt hierarchical Court; in reality it is he himself in his act of reflexion (which also is hierarchically ordered). The Trial, then, represents the criminal case that a man brings against himself when he asks himself 'Why do I exist?' But the common run of people do not ask themselves this question; they are quite content in their simple way to take things for granted and not to distress themselves with unanswerable questions -- questions, indeed, that they are scarcely capable of asking. K.'s landlady, a simple woman, discussing K.'s arrest with him, says

'You are under arrest, certainly, but not as a thief is under arrest. If one's arrested as a thief, that's a bad business, but as for this arrest -- It gives me the feeling of something very learned, forgive me if what I say is stupid, it gives me the feeling of something abstract which I don't understand, but which I don't need to understand either.' (p. 27)

So, then, K. is under arrest, but he has arrested himself. He has done this simply by adopting a reflexive attitude towards himself. He is perfectly free, if he so wishes, to set himself at liberty, merely by ceasing to reflect. 'The Court makes no claims upon you. It receives you when you come and it relinquishes you when you go.' (The priest on p. 244.) But is K. free to wish to set himself at liberty? Once a man has begun to reflect, to realize his guilt, is he still free to choose to return to his former state of grace? Once he has eaten the fruit of the tree of reflexive knowledge he has lost his innocence,[a] and he is expelled from the terrestrial paradise with its simple joys. Having tasted the guilty pleasures of knowledge can he ever want to return to innocence? Can he, in terms of The Trial, secure a 'definite acquittal' from guilt, or does his case have a fatal fascination for him?

'In definite acquittal the documents relating to the case are completely annulled, they simply vanish from sight, not only the charge but also the records of the case and even the acquittal are destroyed, everything is destroyed.' (pp. 175-6)

'Definite acquittal', in other words, is a total forgetting not merely of one's actual past reflexions but of the very fact that one ever reflected at all -- it is a complete forgetting of one's guilt. So long as one remembers having reflected, one goes on reflecting, as with an addiction; and so long as one continues to reflect, one holds one's guilt in view; for the Court -- one's reflexive inquisitor --, 'once it has brought a charge against someone, is firmly convinced of the guilt of the accused', and 'never in any case can the Court be dislodged from that conviction.' (p. 166) To reflect at all is to discover one's guilt. So, then, is it possible to get a 'definite acquittal', to choose to unlearn to reflect? 'I have listened to countless cases in their most crucial stages, and followed them as far as they could be followed, and yet -- I must admit it -- I have never encountered one case of definite acquittal.' (Titorelli, on p. 171.) No, whatever theory may say, in practice having once tasted guilt one cannot unlearn reflexion and return to the innocence of immediacy, the innocence of a child.

The best one can do to ward off the inexorable verdict -- 'Guilty, with no extenuating circumstances' -- is to seek either 'ostensible acquittal' (p. 176), wherein awareness of one's essential guilt is temporarily subdued by makeshift arguments but flares up from time to time in crises of acute despair, or else 'indefinite postponement' (pp. 177-8), wherein one adopts an attitude of bad faith towards oneself, that is to say one regards one's guilt (of which one is perpetually aware) as being 'without significance', thereby refusing to accept responsibility for it.

K., however, is not disposed to try either of these devices, and seems, rather, to want to bring matters to a head. He dismisses his advocate as useless -- perhaps the advocate in The Trial represents the world's professional philosophers --, and sets about organizing his own defence. For this purpose he recruits, in particular, women helpers, perhaps regarding them as the gateway to the Divine (if I remember rightly, this is one of Denis's earlier views -- in Crome Yellow -- that makes life so complicated for him). This view is clearly mystical, and is denounced in The Trial. '"You cast about too much for outside help," said the priest disapprovingly, "especially from women. Don't you see that it isn't the right kind of help?"' (p. 233)

In The Castle, on the other hand, K. uses women to get him entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and perhaps with some effect; but in The Castle guilt is evidence of the existence of God, and the guiltier one is the better chance one has of getting the favour of the Castle (thus Amalia indignantly rejects the immoral proposals of one of the gentlemen from the Castle and is promptly cut off from the Divine Grace, whereupon her sister Olga prostitutes herself with the meanest Castle servants in the hope of winning it back).

In The Trial the task is to come to terms with oneself without relying on other people; and although we may sympathize with K. and the other accused in their efforts to acquit themselves before the Court, actually the Court is in the right and K. and the others in the wrong. There are three kinds of people in The Trial: (i) the innocent (i.e. ignorant) mass of humanity, unable to reflect and thus become aware of their guilt, (ii) the (self-)accused, who are guilty and obscurely aware of the fact but who refuse to admit it to themselves and who will go to any lengths to delay the inevitable verdict (the grovelling Herr Block of Chapter VIII, for example, has no less than six advocates, and has succeeded in protracting his case for five years), and (iii) the (self-)condemned man, who, like K. in the final chapter, faces up to the desolating truth and accepts the consequences.

'The only thing for me to go on doing is to keep my intelligence calm and discriminating to the end. I always wanted to snatch at the world with twenty hands, and not for a very laudable motive either. That was wrong, and am I to show now that not even a whole year's struggling with my case has taught me anything? Am I to leave this world as a man who shies away from all conclusions?' (p. 247)

For the reflexive man who retains his lucidity, there is only one verdict -- 'Guilty' -- and only one sentence -- death. K.'s death in The Trial is the death of worldly hope; it is the immediate consequence of the frank recognition that one's existence is guilty (that is to say, that it is unjustifiable); and this execution of the capital sentence upon hope is actually the inevitable conclusion to The Trial. I think you told me that you had found that K.'s death was an arbitrary and artificial ending to the book, which ought to have finished inconclusively. This would certainly have been true of Block, who clearly did not have the moral courage to face facts: Block would never have condemned himself to death (i.e. to a life without hope), and to have him executed by divine fiat would have been senseless. But with K. it was different: just as he had arrested himself by becoming reflexive, so he had to execute himself by admitting his guilt; and this is the furthest that anyone can go -- in the direction of understanding, that is -- without the Buddha's Teaching.


[L. 69] 6 November 1963

What I said in my last letter about K.'s reason for recruiting, in particular, women to help his case -- namely, that he perhaps regarded them as the 'Gateway to the Divine' -- is excessive. It is true enough of The Castle, where K. is seeking God's grace; but in The Trial K. is simply attempting to justify his own existence, and his relations with women do not go beyond this. Here is an illuminating passage from Sartre:

Whereas before being loved we were uneasy about that unjustified, unjustifiable protuberance which was our existence, whereas we felt ourselves "de trop," we now feel that our existence is taken up and willed even in its tiniest details by an absolute freedom [i.e. that of the one who loves us][a] which at the same time our existence conditions [since it is our existence that fascinates our lover][a] and which we ourselves will with our freedom. This is the basis for the joy of love when there is joy: we feel that our existence is justified. (B&N, p. 371)

In The Trial, then, K. is seeking to use women to influence the susceptible Court ('Let the Examining Magistrate see a woman in the distance and he almost knocks down his desk and the defendant in his eagerness to get at her.' -- p. 233). In other words, K. is trying to silence his self-accusations of guilt by helping himself to women (which does indeed have the effect -- temporarily -- of suppressing his guilt-feelings by making his existence seem justified). But K. is told -- or rather, he tells himself -- that this sort of defence is radically unsound (in Dr. Axel Munthe's opinion, a man's love comes to an end when he marries the girl). And, in fact, Sartre's detailed analysis of the love-relationship shows only too clearly its precarious and self-contradictory structure.

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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:02 pm

Kafka's works remains some of my favourites of literature.
Happy birthday Franz!
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:02 am

gavesako wrote:If you carefully read, say, the Trial or the Castle you will find that the external forces are merely metaphors, in fact K. is under a kind of 'inner arrest' just as the Buddha describes it: Hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.


Ven. Nyanavira makes a big point of illustrating the strong connection between Kafka's writing and connection with the Buddha's teachings, and he makes several quotations of Kafka's writing throughout the letters portion of Clearing the Path. So after reading CtP I naturally rented out the Trial.

Kafka is a very good read for driving home the tragi-comedy of the ridiculousness of life, although I would say Joseph Heller's Catch 22 does the same job and is infinitely more readable. Nevertheless Kafka is a great writer and one that should be on everyone's reading list :)

I'll try and hunt out the letters in question as they would give Binocular a good sense of the connection between Kafka's writings and the Buddha's teachings.

Edit: I see you're one step ahead of me, very good stuff :D
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby binocular » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:03 pm

gavesako wrote:Ven. Nyanavira wrote about this in detail, you can look it up in his letters (part of Clearing the Path):

Interesting analysis, thank you.
Although I don't think Ven. Nyanavira would pass a literature exam here with such an interpretation. ;)


We suffer, because we refuse to be reconciled with this lamentable fact; and even though we may say that life is meaningless we continue to think and act as if it had a meaning. Kafka's heroes (or hero, 'K.' -- himself and not himself) obstinately persist in making efforts that they understand perfectly well are quite pointless -- and this with the most natural air in the world.

Why does he call them "heroes"?
Is this simply the old literary slang for "protagonist" or "main character", or does he really mean that Kafka's protagonists are heroes?


And, after all, what else can one do? Notice, in The Trial, how the notion of guilt is taken for granted. K. does not question the fact that he is guilty, even though he does not know of what he is guilty -- he makes no attempt to discover the charge against him, but only to arrange for his defence. For both Kierkegaard and Heidegger, guilt is fundamental in human existence.
/.../
But who is it that feels the guilt of existing? Only he who, in an act of reflexion, begins to be aware of his existence and to see that it is inherently unjustifiable. He understands (obscurely, no doubt, at first) that, when he is challenged to give an account of himself, he is unable to do so. But who is it that challenges him to give an account of himself?

On a somewhat related note - As I read Ven. Nyanavira analysis, I remembered the film Papillon, in which the main character played by Steve McQueen has a dream in which a court sentences him to death, on the charge of being guilty of a wasted life (youtube clip).


Anyway, obviously, I am still under much influence of how Kafka's texts were taught to us at school. The whole experience struck me as bizarre, kafkaesque in the exact meaning of the word: We were reading Kafka, and then, in effect, had to pretend, for purposes of passing the exam, that we, basically, hadn't read them.


About Kafka's Trial, as I remarked on an earlier occasion, it seems to me that the crime with which K. is charged is that of existing, and that this is why the charge is never made explicit. Everybody exists, and it would be ridiculous to charge one man with this crime and not the next man as well. But not everybody feels guilty of existing; and even those who do are not always clear about what it is precisely that they feel guilty of, since they see that the rest of mankind, who also exist, go through life in a state of blissful innocence. The criminal charge of existing cannot be brought home to those who are satisfied of their innocence (since judicial censure is worse than futile unless the accused recognizes his guilt), and also it cannot be brought home to those who recognize their guilt but who are not satisfied that it is of existing that they are guilty (since judicial censure fails of its intended effect if the accused, though aware of guilt, believes that the charge against him has been wrongly framed). To secure a conviction, then, the charge must be one simply of guilt; and so, in fact, it is in The Trial.

Maybe my literature teachers didn't feel guilty of existing!


But with K. it was different: just as he had arrested himself by becoming reflexive, so he had to execute himself by admitting his guilt; and this is the furthest that anyone can go -- in the direction of understanding, that is -- without the Buddha's Teaching.

Maybe that's a clue for why my literature teachers interpreted Kafka the way they did. To the best of my knowledge, none of them was a Buddhist or even much familiar with Buddhism. No wonder they ended up in hopelessness and a sense that Kafka's characters were victims.


Thank you again for your posts! I think I'll read at least The Trial again.
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby BlackBird » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:12 pm

Naturally it pays to bear in mind that Ven. Nyanavira has read this book through the prism of his experience with the Buddha Dhamma, and he has made his interpretations using such a 'dialect' if you will.

As you quite rightly state binocular, none of your literary teachers were Buddhists, and therefore they wouldn't share Ven. Nyanavira's interpretation, but would have their own (or rather someone elses) that they had gained through their own formation of things.

When it comes to books and film and the whole English dissection of these things I think there is almost never a black and white answer. They don't call 'interpretations' interpretations for nothing after all and I think that's the beauty in film and literature - You can read what you like into it, and different people will see different things in art, based upon their own predilictions.

As it happens I have found Ven. Nyanavira's interpretation of Kafka, along with other existential fiction writers to be quite useful, but others may not :)

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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby gavesako » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:14 pm

There are, of course, other possible ways to interpret Kafka's texts. For example this one (ironically, on Independence Day):

Franz Kafka's "The Trial" - Film, Literature & The New World Order

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb_0h2IxOqc
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:28 pm

Presumably Ven Nanavira's take on Kafka (and on Buddhism) was informed by his study of mathematics and modern languages at Cambridge just before World War II, and his work as an interrogator during the war: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanavira_Thera It's completely outside my area of expertise, but my impression is that literary interpretation and philosophical norms of 1930s Cambridge would be quite different from what one would find in the late 20th century, or the present. However, being closer to Kafka in time and experience, he may well have had some insights than a modern reader would lack.

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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby BlackBird » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:12 am

mikenz66 wrote:Presumably Ven Nanavira's take on Kafka (and on Buddhism) was informed by his study of mathematics and modern languages at Cambridge just before World War II, and his work as an interrogator during the war


I don't think his work as an interregator had much to do with anything, it's not something he mentioned very much and I get the feeling from my multiple readings of CtP that his activities in world war 2 were (like with most returned servicemen) something he would've rather forgotten.

The mathematics on the other hand did certainly play a role, especially in formulating his piece on Fundamental Structure - Which although very difficult to understand for those of us who do not possess a mathematical mind, is geared towards allowing one an insight into how experience is structured, in terms of why attention is focussed upon one thing to the exclusion of others, and there is that general background - The subject and the canvas so to speak.

I would say his greatest influence was the Buddha, and after that - The existential philosophers: Sartre, Heidegger, Kierkegaard etc.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:52 am

Hi Jack,

My point relevant to the topic of this thread is that Ven Nanavira's educational influences were different from those of someone educated in the late 20th or earth 21st century, hence I wouldn't be surprised if he had a different take on it from Binocular. Whether literary criticism and philosophy have improved or not is a different question...

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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby BlackBird » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:16 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Jack,

My point relevant to the topic of this thread is that Ven Nanavira's educational influences were different from those of someone educated in the late 20th or earth 21st century, hence I wouldn't be surprised if he had a different take on it from Binocular. Whether literary criticism and philosophy have improved or not is a different question...

:anjali:
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Yes I am quite aware of the point you were making, and it's not a bad point by any stretch.
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:23 pm

gavesako wrote:Yes, I did. He lived only about 100 meters from my old university where I walked every day. So I kind of sensed why he chose the symbol of the castle towering above.


Are you from Prague? I studied Czech language and literature, it's such an inspiring place. It feels like my second home.

About Kafka: I agree it's more than just stories about the tortured individual, the victim. I have read his Der Prozess and a collection of shorter stories, Sämtliche Erzählungen, his shorter stories especially are endlessly engrossing. There is definitely room for a Buddhist perspective on his work.
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby gavesako » Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:35 pm

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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby gavesako » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:13 pm

Existentialist writer Franz Kafka was known for the absurdity and hopelessness in his work; a particular Kafka-inspired videogame plans to channel these themes.

The Franz Kafka Videogame is a classic adventure game based on the novels of Franz Kafka, including The Castle, The Trial, and The Metamorphosis. Playing with absurdism and hopelessness, Kafka examined the individual in a meaningless, absurd world. Evident in the game's trailer, The Franz Kafka Videogame will be surreal.

Developer Denis "mif2000" Galanin described his game to Polygon in an email: "The hero named K. gets a sudden offer of employment. And this event changes his life, forcing him to make a distant voyage. To his surprise, the world beyond his homeland appears to be not as normal as he would think. Together with the hero you will experience an atmosphere of absurdity, surrealism, and total uncertainty."

The Franz Kafka Videogame contains logic puzzles and an interesting art style in high-definition. Kafka fans should be able to spot some references to particular novels in the game's trailer. Be prepared for the surreal because any Kafka-inspired work is play around with the meaningless and unfair parts of the world. Anything could happen to anyone.

Read more at http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/vi ... Rc3V4LQ.99


Developer blog:
http://kafkagame.blogspot.com/

:spy:
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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:37 pm

I read the centipede once by him


Freaked me right out

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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby gavesako » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:16 pm

What Kafka’s popular image obscures is that the real punch line of his works is not the fantastical, but the mundane. In The Trial, Josef K. gets arrested for no reason, but he doesn’t get thrown in a cell, waterboarded, and convicted. He goes back to work, and then spends the rest of his life wrestling with a bureaucracy that is vast, staggeringly incompetent—and boring. The primary story of The Metamorphosis is not actually that Gregor Samsa is a giant and disgusting bug-creature, it’s that his family is really, really bad at managing their finances. The centerpiece of In The Penal Colony, a massive and intricate torture machine, isn’t “remarkable” simply for its gory details—it’s remarkable because its inventor was a fool who wrote in gibberish, and it doesn’t actually work.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/201 ... _tips.html

:shock:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Fwd: Franz Kafka 130's birthday

Postby gavesako » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:47 pm

When reading Kafka's text In the Penal Colony in which the elaborate torture machine appears, one is struck by the similarity with the Sutta similies for the four nutriments (ahara) of continuing existence, in particular the fourth one -- consciousness:


"And how, O monks, should the nutriment volitional thought be considered? Suppose, O monks, there is a pit of glowing embers, filled to cover a man's height, with embers glowing without flames and smoke. Now a man comes that way, who loves life and does not wish to die, who wishes for happiness and detests suffering. Then two strong men would seize both his arms and drag him to the pit of glowing embers. Then, O monks, far away from it would recoil that man's will, far away from it his longing, far away his inclination. And why? Because the man knows: 'If I fall into that pit of glowing embers, I shall meet death or deadly pain.'

"In that manner, I say, O monks, should the nutriment volitional thought be considered. If the nutriment volitional thought is comprehended, the three kinds of craving[11] are thereby comprehended. And if the three kinds of craving are comprehended, there is, I say, no further work left to do for the noble disciple.

"And how, O monks, should the nutriment consciousness be considered? Suppose, O monks, people have seized a criminal, a robber, and brought him before the king saying: 'This is a criminal, a robber, O Majesty! Mete out to him the punishment you think fit!' Then the king would tell them: 'Go, and in the morning strike this man with a hundred spears!' And they strike him in the morning with a hundred spears. At noon the king would ask his men: 'How is that man?' — 'He is still alive, Your Majesty.' — 'Then go and strike him again at noontime with a hundred spears!' So they did, and in the evening the king asks them again: 'How is that man?' — 'He is still alive.' — 'Then go and in the evening strike him again with a hundred spears!' And so they did.

"What do you think, O monks? Will that man, struck with three hundred spears during a day, suffer pain and torment owing to that?"

"Even if he were to be struck only by a single spear, he would suffer pain and torment owing to that. How much more if he is being struck by three hundred spears!"

"In that manner, I say, O monks, should the nutriment consciousness be considered. If the nutriment consciousness is comprehended, mind-and-matter are thereby comprehended. And if mind and body are comprehended, there is, I say, no further work left to do for the noble disciple."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
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