At 50 I am finally ready for Kafka. When I was a philosophy student, full of youthful exuberance and then exaagerated rationality, I could not make sense of Kafka, Joyce, Schulz, or Borges. I loved reading and thinking, mainly philosophical and religious treatises, history, and literary criticism. I can now see that I read criticism because I was not yet ready for Kafka.
Age has not tempered my rationality. But it has formed an expressionist line around it, like a tired barbed wire fence (thank you Peggy). I am not, or not yet, in the place of Heidegger where ‘only a God can save us now’. Yet my living has drawn me to the edge of the abyss: instead of the mantra ‘I CAN SEE FURTHER FROM THE EDGE’, after relative milennia I had no where to go, so I overcame some of my fears and finally disciplined myself to write. I stepped tentatively, or mistakenly I thought I could step tentatively, over the edge.
From the edge all that can be seen is the infinite universe. (Sorry Brian, my old friend, you were so right on so many things but not even you are omniscient.) The edge may resemble Nirvana, but it is nothing. Above is God, without form and full of ambiguity, this is enough for some. Below is not hell, only uncertainty (this is different than ambiguity), but it is infinite, not formless like God, but every form, endlessly: instead of nothing I am finding everything.
So I start with Borges; circuitously this includes Nobokov, Melville, Schulz, the waning of philosophy and politics; the ascendence of art as labrythine mirror.
Borges: After all, when one confesses to an act, one ceases to be an actor in it and becomes its witness, becomes a man that observes and narrates it and no longer the man that performed it.
‘Words, words, words. Shakespeare, the unparalleled master of words, held them in contempt. …they always count for less than people do.
I set (the story) down here for what (it) is worth and with no further assurances as to (its) veracity, since both forgetfulness and recollection are creative.
Perhaps their only possession in their coarsae primitive lives was their hatred, and therefor they saved it and stored it up. Without suspecting, each of the two men became the other’s slave. There was no way of knowing whether the events I am about to narrate are effects or causes.
Forgiving is to alleviate the guilt of the wronged, it does nothing for the soul of the offender.