Category Archives: Kafka

‘Writing did not bring him peace, because it did not obliterate life.’ Bob Blaisdell on Kafka’s reflections on writing.

He is a free and secure citizen of the world because he is on a chain that is long enough to allow him access to all parts of the earth, and yet not so long that he could be swept over the edge of it. At the same time he is also a free and secure citizen of heaven because he is also attached to a similar heavenly chain. If he wants to go to earth, the heavenly manacles will throttle him, if he wants to go to heaven, the earthly manacles will. But after all that, all possibilities are open to him, as he is well aware, yes, he even refuses to believe the whole thing is predicated on a mistake going back to the time of the first enchainment.

— Kafka, Zurau Aphorisms (tr. Kaiser and Wilkins)

Only here is suffering suffering. Not in such a way as if those who suffer here were because of this suffering to be elevated elsewhere, but in such a way that what in this world is called suffering in another world, unchanged and only liberated from its opposite, is bliss.

— Kafka

The only essential thing for life is forgoing smugness, moving into the house instead of admiring it and hanging garlands around it.

Kafka

Sometimes God, sometimes nothing.

Kafka

The only essential thing for life is forgoing smugness, moving into the house instead of admiring it and hanging garlands around it.

Kafka

Nur so kann geschrieben werden, nur in einem solchen Zusammenhang, mit solcher vollständigen Öffnung des Leibes und der Seele.

Kafka

Then open yourself. Let the human person come forth. Breathe in the air and the silence.

Kafka

Writing means revealing oneself to excess.

Kafka

One’s own basic Yes

Every human being here is asked two questions of creed: first as to the credibility of this life, second as to the credibility of his goal. Both questions are answered by everyone, through the very fact of his life, with such a firm and direct ‘yes’ that it might become uncertain whether the questions have been understood rightly. In any case, it is now that one must begin to work one’s way through to this, one’s own basic Yes, for even far below their surface the answers are confused and elusive under the assault of the questions.

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