From the Diary:
Since people lack a sense of context, their literary activities are out of context too.
The metaphysical urge is only the urge toward death.
Discoveries have forced themselves on people.
Uncertainty, aridity, peace – all things will resolve themselves into these and pass away.
What an effort to keep alive! Erecting a monument does not require the expenditure of so much strength.
The life of society moves in a circle. Only those burdened with a common affliction understand each other.
We are permitted to crack that whip, the will, over us with our own hand.
Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached.
There is a goal, but no way; but what we call a way is hesitation.
Knowledge of oneself is something only Evil has.
We were expelled from Paradise, but Paradise was not destroyed. In a sense our expulsion from Paradise was a stroke of luck, for had we not been expelled, Paradise would have had to be destroyed.
Religions get lost as people do.
Some deny the existence of misery by pointing to the sun; he denies the existence of the sun by pointing to misery.
He has found Archimedes’ fulcrum, but he has turned it to account against himself, clearly he was permitted to find it only on this condition.
God doesn’t want me to write, but I – I must.
– To Oskar Pollak
I usually solve problems by letting them devour me.
– To Max Brod
I am away from home and must always write home, even if any home of mine has long since floated away into eternity.
– To Max Brod
Silence, I believe, avoids me, as water on the beach avoids stranded fish.
– To Felice Bauer
I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.
– To Ottla (sister)
Man is an immense swamp. If he is seized with enthusiasm, the effect in the general picture is as though somewhere in a corner of this swamp a little frog had flopped into the green water.
Quotes from friends:
The look in Kafka’s eyes was always a little puzzled, full of the wisdom of children and of melancholy slightly counterpointed by an enigmatic smile. He always seemed to be somewhat embarrassed.
– John Urzidil, The Kafka Problem
The fact is we all seem capable of living, because at some time or other we have taken refuge in a lie, in blindness, in enthusiasm, in optimism, in some conviction, in pessimism or something of the sort. He has never taken refuge in anything. He is absolutely incapable of lying, just as he is incapable of getting drunk.
– Milena Jesenská
He marvels at everything, including typewriters and women. He will never understand.