Yesterday, Steve reminded me, was Franz Kafka's 124th birthday. Steve quotes from "the final paragraph of Ernst Pawel's biography from 1984 with the winning title: The Nightmare of Reason." Reason, and what reason means, is very much on my mind at the moment, of course, with my ongoing Dan Hind interview.
Admitting that the quote (below) is a "little excessive perhaps," Steve says, "I'd say his "innermost self" was his innermost non-self too and that giving shape to anguish is the opposite of anguish. Anyway, for Kafka, reason was as problematic as faith" --
The world that Kafka was 'condemned to see with such blinding clarity that he found it unbearable' [a quotation from Milena's obituary] is our own post-Auschwitz universe, on the brink of extinction. His work is subversive, not because he found the truth, but because, being human and therefore having failed to find it, he refused to settle for half-truths and compromise solutions. In visions wrested from his innermost self, and in language of crystalline purity, he gave shape to the anguish of being human.