Archive for April, 2010



Many complain that the words of the wise are always merely parables and of no use in daily life, which is the only life we have. When the sage says: ‘Go over,’ he does not mean that we should cross to some actual place, which we could do anyhow if it was worth the hassle; he means the fabulous yonder, something unknown to us, something, too, that he cannot designate more precisely and therefore cannot help us here in the least. All these parables really set out to say simply that the incomprehensible is incomprehensible, and we know that already. But the cares we have to struggle with every day, that is a different matter.

Concerning this a man once said: Why such reluctance? If you only followed the parables, you yourselves would become parables and with that rid of all your daily cares.

Another said: I bet that is a parable.

The first said: You win.

The second said: But unfortunately only in parable.

The first said: No, in reality. In parable you lose.

Franz Kafka On Parables as read in Richard Pevear’s introduction to Bulgakov’s parable The Master and Margarita


Beginning (again)


What I achieve is not the product of an act of my will but of my will’s surrender. I begin because I don’t have the strength to think; I finish because I don’t know how to quit.

Fernando Pessoa (or perhaps one of his pseudonyms) Book of Disquiet