Thursday, October 16, 2008
Gregor Samsa: Trade you a claw for a piece of tail
There is power in a vacuum.
Scientists know it.
Hey, even the Hoover folk!
Lovers know it. Makes the heart grow fonder (Trouble is, usually for somebody else)
There is power in a vacuum.
Sartre wrote an essay on it.
And some earlier European writers were only too aware of the Baumm! that wafts up from the void. Contact with Buddhism. Yes, this Buddh's for you.
But not for some Europeans.
Europeans are usually white, tending to shiver, and quite crazy. Not the for them the l20 F heat and flies every day that brings the Oh Gawd resignation of the Buddhist, the passive philosophy, the helplessness in the face of the IT.
They wanna fight. Fight anything, fight each other, even try to fight the IT, the IT being the reality, micro and macro.
Do not go gently into that cold night.
Death does not hurt. We can fight till the end And continue our inquiry into the ultimate reality.
It is said Socrates was one mean MoFo in a battle. Cut your heart out, you bastard.
Life was harder then.
Philosophers took part in wars, suffered, starved. Not for them the way of the Buddha, Siddhartha being his latest incarnation at about their time.
White men are crazy. They start world wars. Their science brings the H-bomb. And this gets them closer to the sense of the Void. Nihilism. Resignation. Dark nightmares.
And in literature, the nightmare is fully rendered, and some sensitive readers, aware that a terrible time was coming, suicided straigh off. Certainly if a genius like Kafka can predict the rise of the Nazis and the horrors that would come with it.
So it was no accident that Kafka, never published, instruced his agent, Max Brod, to never print his Metamorphosis, not even after his death.
But Max Brod did publish the work, one of the masterpieces of 20th century literature.
There are things in life writers rarely touch. The world is an insecure and dangerous place, and it seems that only through a series of lucky passages that we get through at all.
Like one day, you might wake up as a bug.
This is a powerful metaphor.
How many times have you been hurt, possibly in an accident, the fear the helplessness as all normalcy sudenly seems abstract. Lying there on floor, unable to get up. Checking out your limbs, which have become like claws, and suddenly you're down all the days and everybody wants to sweep you out of the way. And with force.
Small wonder that Kafka wouldn't want readers to dwell with this existential reality. That any day, all you have could be taken away from you, home, hearth, family, and maybe just your sister pitching in to feed and conmfort you every day.
In word from Forrest Gump, shit happens.
Dostoevsky knew it, Kafka knew it. Forrest Gump knew it.
But perhaps for Siddharha, well, it was Nirvana. It blows. Blows like Kurt Cobain.
Dark thoughts. Dark musings.
As I lie here on my back on the floor. I have, I think, slipped a disk.
I am no longer eighteen. I can not clean and jerk 120 lbs over my head.
Shoudn't even have tried.
I can now not get up.
The familiarity of the mat, the furniture, the heretofore comforting sounds of the house...what are they now?
Staring up, looking at the tiles on the ceiling. I see Gregor Samsa doing his thing, hanging from the wall.
Jesus, Franz. No wonder you didn't want the thing published.
But I'm glad you did.
It was certainly a warning.
And the strange sense of a power in the vacuum.
And the intimation that intellectuality itself is something you only arrive at while helpless.
The dead hand of intellectuality.
Yet always, there is the gallows humour that comes with revelation.
...Trade you a claw for a piece of tail.
Laughing gods come.