“Proceedings usually are hopeless for those accused. ..It may be this hopelessness that brings out the beauty in them – the only creatures in Kafka thus favored.” – Illuminations, p.112, WALTER BENJAMIN http://ift.tt/1M3FiJo


“Those extremely strange figures in Kafka ..who have escaped from the family circle and for whom there may be hope. ..The “assistants” ..are outside this circle. These assistants belong to a group of figures which recurs through Kafka’s entire work.” – These are not the animals; not even those hybrids or imaginary creatures like the Cat Lamb or Odradek; they all still live under the spell of the family. It is no accident that Gregor Samsa wakes up as a bug in his parental home and not somewhere else, and that the peculiar animal which is half kitten, half lamb, is inherited from the father; Odradek likewise is the concern of the father of the family. – WALTER BENJAMIN http://ift.tt/1MZMDH8

“The father’s uniform is stained all over; his underwear is dirty. Filth is the element of the officials.” – “Uncleanness is so much the attribute of officials that one could almost regard them as enormous parasites. This, of course, does not refer to the economic context, but to the forces of reason and humanity from which this clan makes a living. In the same way the fathers in Kafka’s strange families batten on their sons, lying on top of them like giant parasites. They not only prey upon their strength, but gnaw away at the sons’ right to exist. The fathers punish, but they are at the same time the accusers. The sin of which they accuse their sons seems to be a kind of original sin. The definition of it which Kafka has given applies to the sons more than to anyone else: “Original sin, the old injustice committed by man, consists in the complaint unceasingly made by man that he has been the victim of an injustice, the victim of original sin.” But who is accused of this inherited sin – the sin of having produced an heir-if not the father by the son? Accordingly the son would be the sinner. But one must not conclude from Kafka’s definition that the accusation is sinful because it is false. Nowhere does Kafka say that it is made wrongfully. A never-ending process is at work here, and no cause can appear in a worse light than the one for which the father enlists the aid of these officials and court offices. ..The courts, to be sure, have lawbooks at their disposal, but people are not allowed to see them, “It is characteristic of this legal system,” conjectures K., “that one is sentenced not only in innocence but also in ignorance.” ..No matter how hard it may hit the unsuspecting, the transgression in the sense of the law is not accidental but fated, a destiny which appears here in all its ambiguity.
Walter Benjamin. Illuminations – on the law becoming a huge superego which never tells us that it is just as in conflict with itself as anyone else is in conflict with the law http://ift.tt/1OTtDeE

“In the village at the foot of Castle Hill people use an illuminating saying. “‘We have a saying here that you may be familiar with: Official decisions are as shy as young girls.” – “‘That’s a sound observation,’ said K., ‘a sound observation. Decisions may have even other characteristics in common with girls.’ “ The most remarkable of these qualities is the willingness to lend oneself to anything, like the shy girls whom K. meets in The Castle and The Trial, girls who indulge in unchastity in the bosom of their family as they would in a bed. He encounters them at every turn; the rest give him as little trouble as the conquest of the barmaid. “They embraced each other; her little body burned in K.’s hands; in a state of unconsciousness which K. tried to master constantly but fruitlessly, they rolled a little way, hit Klamm’s door with a thud, and then lay in the little puddles of beer and the other refuse that littered the floor. Hours passed … in which K. constantly had the feeling that he was losing his way or that he had wandered farther than anyone had ever wandered before, to a place where even the air had nothing in common with his native air, where all this strangeness might choke one, yet a place so insanely enchanting that one could not help but go on and lose oneself even further.” We shall have more to say about this strange place. The remarkable thing is that these whorelike women never seem to be beautiful. Rather, beauty appears in Kafka’s world only in the most obscure places-among the accused persons, for example.” – Walter Benjamin. Illuminations http://ift.tt/1KuhISK

“In love ..‘the gaze of the Other remains even if the Other ..ceased to exist.’ ..This feeling of an Other’s gaze which ‘sees in me more than myself’ is ..what ..pushes me towards ethical activity ..to render me adequate to the expectation written into the ..gaze.” – [In religion] ‘God’ is ..this Other’s gaze returned by objects, an imagined gaze.. ..This gaze exists only for a desiring subject. – SLAVOJ ZIZEK http://ift.tt/1JuSZ07