Kafka as a saint of revolutionary pessimism


“There are two main human sins from which all the others derive: impatience and indolence. It was because of impatience that they were expelled from Paradise; it is because of indolence that they did not return. Yet perhaps there is only one major sin: impatience. Because of impatience they were expelled, because of impatience they do not return.”
–Kafka, The Blue Octavo Notebooks

Which is perhaps why for Kafka prayer, as patient persevering, was the only messianic imperative that could break with the worldly as a horizon of reconciliation between the apparent conflict of passive waiting for the miracle, something that is nurtured by indolence, and a celebratory sense of quick accomplishment bred by impatience. For this alone, Kafka should be crowned as one of the reigning saints of revolutionary pessimism.

This entry was posted in Kafka, literature, Politics, theology and tagged , , , , on by .

About Pothik Ghosh

I was educated in Allahabad and I have worked as a professional journalist with different mainline English newspapers and magazines (The Telegraph, The Pioneer, Outlook and The Economic Times) in Calcutta, Lucknow and Delhi. I live in Delhi and have been active with various Left groups, I am currently a member of the Radical Notes collective, and on the editorial board of its web-journal (www.radicalnotes.com). I write on politics, political economy and literature. My book, The Deed of Words: Two Considerations on the Politics of Literature, is forthcoming from Aakar Books. My earlier book, Insurgent Metaphors (2010), was also published by Aakar.

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