It was because of impatience that they were expelled from Paradise; it is because of indolence that they do not return. Yet perhaps there is only one major sin: impatience. Because of impatience they were expelled, because of impatience they do not return. It can do this because it is the true language of prayer, at once adoration and the firmest of unions. The relationship to one's fellow man is the relationship of prayer, the relationship to oneself is the relationship of striving; it is from prayer that one draws the, strength for one's striving. If ever the deception is annihilated, you must not look in that direction or you will turn into a pillar of salt.
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It was because of impatience that they were expelled from Paradise; it is because of indolence that they do not return. Yet perhaps there is only one major sin: impatience. Because of impatience they were expelled, because of impatience they do not return.
It can do this because it is the true language of prayer, at once adoration and the firmest of unions. The relationship to one's fellow man is the relationship of prayer, the relationship to oneself is the relationship of striving; it is from prayer that one draws the, strength for one's striving.
If ever the deception is annihilated, you must not look in that direction or you will turn into a pillar of salt. Some progress must be made. My station up there is much too high. We are digging the pit of Babel. He has commanded the messenger to kneel down by the bed, and has whispered the message to him; so much store did he lay on it that he ordered the messenger to whisper it back into his ear again. Then by a nod of the head he has confirmed that it is right.
Yes, before the assembled spectators of his deathall the obstructing walls have been broken down, and on the spacious and lofty-mounting open staircases stand in a ring the great princes of the Empire--before all these he has delivered his message.
The messenger immediately sets out on his journey; a powerful, an indefatigable man; now pushing with his right arm, now with his left, he cleaves a way for himself through the throng; if he encounters resistance he points to his breast, where the symbol of the sun glitters; the way, too is made easier for him than it would be for any other man.
But the multitudes are so vast; their numbers have no end. If he could reach the open fields how fast he would fly, and soon doubtless you would hear the welcome hammering of his fists on your door. But instead how vainly does he wear out his strength; still he is only making his way through the chambers of the innermost palace; never will he get to the end of them; and if he succeeded in that nothing would be gained; he must fight his way next down the stair; and if he succeeded in that nothing would be gained; the courts would still have to be crossed; and after the courts the second outer palace; and once more stairs and courts; and once more another palace; and so on for thousands of years; and if at last he should burst through the outermost gate--but never, never can that happen--the imperial capital would lie before him, the center of the world, crammed to bursting with its own refuse.
Nobody could fight his way through here, least of all one with a message from a dead man. Why do we lament over the fall of man? We were not driven out of Paradise because of it, but because of the Tree of life, that we might not eat of it. We are sinful not merely because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, but also because we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Life.
The state in which we find ourselves is sinful, quite independent of guilt. We were fashioned to live in Paradise, and Paradise was destined to serve us. Our destiny has been altered; that this has also happened with the destiny of Paradise is not stated. We were expelled from Paradise, but Paradise was not destroyed. In a sense our expulsion from Paradise was a stroke of luck, for had we not been expelled, Paradise would have had to be destroyed.
God said that Adam would have to die on the day he ate of the Tree of Knowledge. According to God, the instantaneous result of eating of the Tree of Knowledge would be death; according to the serpent at least it can be understood so , it would be equality with God. Both were wrong in similar ways. Men did not die, but became mortal; they did not become like God, but received the indispensable capacity to become so. Both were right in similar ways. Man did not die, but the paradisiacal man did; men did not become God, but divine knowledge.
He is a free and secure citizen of the world, for he is fettered to a chain which is long enough to give him the freedom of all earthly space, and yet only so long that nothing can drag him past the frontiers of the world. But simultaneously he is a free and secure citizen of Heaven as well, for he is also fettered by a similarly designed heavenly chain.
So that if he heads, say, for the earth, his heavenly collar throttles him, and if he heads for Heaven, the earthly one does the same. And yet all the possibilities are his, and he feels it, more, he actually refuses to account for the deadlock by an error in the original fettering. Since the Fall we have been essentially equal in our capacity to recognize good and evil; nonetheless it is just here that we seek to show our individual superiority.
But the real differences begin beyond that knowledge. The opposite illusion may be explained thus: nobody can remain content with the mere knowledge of good and evil in itself, but must endeavor as well to act in accordance with it. The strength to do so, however, is not likewise given him, consequently he must destroy himself trying to do so, at the risk of not achieving the necessary strength even then; yet there remains nothing for him but this final attempt.
That is moreover the meaning of the threat of death attached to the Tree of Knowledge; perhaps too it was the original meaning of natural death. Now, faced with this attempt, man is filled with fear,; he prefers to annul his knowledge of good and evil the term, "the fall of man," may be traced back to that fear ; yet the accomplished cannot be annulled, but only confused.
It was for this purpose that our rationalizations were created. The whole world is full of them, indeed the whole visible world is perhaps nothing more than than the rationalization of a man who wants to find peace for a moment. An attempt to falsify the actuality of knowledge, to regard knowledge as a goal still to be reached. Before the Law stands a doorkeeper. To this doorkeeper there comes a man from the country and prays for admittance to the Law.
But take note: I am powerful. There he sits for days and years. I am now going to shut it. If you are interested in reading more Kafka's parables and paradoxes, you can visit Reverend Patty Morin's site: Kafka's Parables and Paradoxes.
Parables and Paradoxes
Glatzer Schocken Books , In this volume of collected pieces, Kafka re-examines and rewrites some basic mythical tales of Ancient Israel , Hellas , the Far East , and the West , as well as creations of his own imagination. The material in the book is drawn from Kafka's notebooks, diaries, letters, short fictional works and the novel The Trial. An earlier version of the collection appeared under the title Parables , and included a smaller selection of works. Parables and Paradoxes brings together short texts from the wide variety of Kafka's works. Since different texts were handled by different translators this volume allows readers to compare the various ways Kafka's works have been rendered into English.