The decisively characteristic thing about this world is its transience. In this sense centuries have no advantage over the present moment. Thus the continuity of transience cannot give any consolation; the fact that new life blossoms among the ruins proves not so much the tenacity of life as that of death. If I wish to fight against this world, I must fight against its decisively characteristic element, that is, against its transience. Can I do that in this life, and, what is more, really and not only by means of hope and faith?

And so you want to fight against the world and, what is more, with weapons that are more real than hope and faith. There probably are such weapons, but they can be recognized and used only by those who have certain definite qualifications; I want to see first whether you have these qualifications.

Look into it. But if I have not got them, perhaps I can get them.

Certainly, but that is a matter in which I could not help you.

And so you can only help me if I already have the qualifications.

Yes. To put it more precisely, I cannot help you at all, for if you had
these qualifications, you would have everything.

– Kafka, The Blue Octavo Notebooks (tr. Kaiser and Wilkins)


Comments are closed.