Franz Kafka, 1917

13 giugno 2008

Many years ago, I sat one day, in a sad enough mood, on the slopes of the Laurenziberg (Petrin)… I went over the wishes that I wanted to realise in life. I found that the most important or the most delightful was the wish to attain a view of life (and – this was necessarily bound up with it – to convince others of it in writing), in which life, while still retaining its natural full-bodied rise and fall, would simultaneously be recognised no less clearly as a nothing, a dream, a dim hovering. A beautiful wish, perhaps, if I had wished it rightly. Considered as a wish, somewhat as if one were to hammer together a table with painful and methodical technical efficiency, and simultaneously do nothing at all, and not in such a way that people could say: “Hammering a table together is nothing to him,” but rather “Hammering a table together is really hammering a table together to him, but at the same time it is nothing,” whereby certainly the hammering would have become still bolder, still surer, still more real, and if you will, still more senseless. But he could not wish in this fashion, for his wish was not a wish, but only a vindication of nothingness, a justification of non-entity, a touch of animation which he wanted to lend to non-entity, in which at that time he had scarcely taken his first few conscious steps, but which he already felt as his element. It was a sort
of farewell that he took from the elusive world of youth; although youth
had never directly deceived them, but only caused him to be deceived by the utterances of all the authorities he had around him. So is explained the necessity of his “wish”.

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