The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives


Ein Umschwung. Lauernd, ängstlich, hoffend umschleicht die Antwort die Frage, sucht verzweifelt in ihrem unzugänglichen Gesicht, folgt ihr auf den sinnlosesten, d. h. von der Antwort möglichst webstrebenden Wegen.

A swerve. Lurking, skittish, hopeful, the answer prowls around the question, peers desperately into its unapproachable face, follows it on the most senseless paths, that is, those that veer as far away as possible from the answer.

—Kafka (Aphorisms, no. 76, trans. Shelley Frisch)

The problem with Kafka’s ‘aphorisms’ is that they are not really aphorisms. It would be one thing if one could say that they were gnomic utterances or oracular dicta, but even that would be pointing in the wrong direction. They remind me most of affirmations, such as one might scribble on a sticky note and apply to the interior of one’s closet door or above one’s desk. Of course, because they are Kafka’s, they are not of the ‘I am strong’, ‘I am worthwhile’, ‘Live, laugh, love’ school; ‘negations’ might be a better term, but even that clings too close to the sunlit world.


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