X has proved nothing in all this time, he tells me, nothing but his own inability to know and speak. Others may well be able to know and speak, he doesn’t know. At least they seem convinced that they are. All that seems left for him at the moment, he says, is to erase himself in the distance between himself and conviction, to drift, go into mourning for what he loved, and greet any reemergence of what was renounced with the peace of the graveyard, the temptation being to think he’s special for doing so or that it shows any kind of wisdom. Or maybe he just needs to get laid, he says.

One response to “Conviction

  1. To lift yourself out of a miserable mood, even if you have to do it by strength of will, should be easy. I force myself out of my chair, stride around the table, exercise my head and neck, make my eyes sparkle, tighten the muscles around them. Defy my own feelings, welcome A. enthusiastically supposing he comes to see me, amiably tolerate B. in my room, swallow all that is said at C.’s, whatever pain and trouble it may cost me, in long draughts.

    Yet even if I manage that, one single slip, and a slip cannot be avoided, will stop the whole process, easy and painful alike, and I will have to shrink back into my own circle again.

    So perhaps the best resource is to meet everything passively, to make yourself an inert mass, and, if you feel that you are being carried away, not to let yourself be lured into taking a single unnecessary step, to stare at others with the eyes of an animal, to feel no compunction, in short, with your own hand to throttle down whatever ghostly life remains in you, that is, to enlarge the final peace of the graveyard and let nothing survive save that.

    A characteristic movement in such a condition is to run your little finger along your eyebrows.

    — Kafka, ‘Resolutions’ (trans. W. and E. Muir)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s