One of the major figures of 20th century literature, Franz Kafka, in his famous books as ‘Die Verwandlung’ (The Metamorphosis), ‘Der Process’ (The Trial), ‘Das Urteil’ (The Judgement), ‘Das Schloss’ (The Castle) and ‘Betrachtung’ (Contemplation), explores concepts like alienation, guilt, existential anxiety and absurdity. One may attribute his stories and characters as bizarre. At the same time the German-language writer speaks of wisdom, motivation, inner-power, confidence and most importantly, of reality that every modern man may relate to and thus contemplate. Given below are aTop 15 best Franz Kafka quotes of wisdom.
Top 15 Best Franz Kafka Quotes
1.”A book should serve as the axe for the frozen sea within us. Kafka asserts it is solely knowledge that can remove all the darkness and rigidness from our hearts. It enlightens us and broadens our perspectives. It gives us power to think and reason. Thus, a book has the power to break the frozen ice within us and enlighten our thoughts.
2.”Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.” A pinch of wisdom. Doing what is ‘acceptable’, makes a person dependant on others. It enables one to act according to what others (read society) approves of as acceptable. But Kafka says it is better to hear our inner voice and do what we feel as right.
3.”So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.” We keep questioning the fulfillment of all our aspirations and desires and become impatient. We fret over our lives and on our fates. But Kafka says, as long as we have food for ourselves, it is enough to keep all the questions at halt for the time being. So be happy and cherish what you have, instead of fretting over what you don’t.
4.”Anyone who keeps the ability to see the beauty never grows old.” And remains happy too as Kafka adds- ” Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty.”
5.”The thornbush is the old obstacle in the road. It must catch fire if you want to go further.” Kafka asserts the importance of determination in reaching your goal. Old principles and traditions only pull us backwards and stagnates our pace. If we want to reach our destinations, it is better to break down those traditions and pre- established norms, thus preventing them from restricting our paths.
6.”From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.” As life keeps on moving forward, so should we. Reach a point where there would be no turning back. Then moving forward is the only remaining option and this alone will lead us to our destination.
7.”How pathetically scanty my self- knowledge is compared with, say, my knowledge of my room. Thee is no such thing as observation of the inner world, as there is of outer world. For Kafka, self-knowledge has more prominence over the knowledge of the outer world. Kafka says that knowledge of one’s inner world would be more enlightening. Introspection and contemplation can enrich one’s thoughts even more as compared to mere observation of the outer world.
8.”My peers, lately, have found companionship through means of intoxication- it makes them sociable. I, however, cannot force myself to use drugs to cheat on my loneliness – it is all that I have – and when the drugs and alcohol dissipate, it will be all that my peers have as well.” Majorly relevant to current scenario, people, especially youngsters these days believe that intoxication makes them a part of their friends’ group and more sociable. They assume that in this way they can overcome their loneliness. But, in reality, as Kafka puts it, we can never cheat on our loneliness. It is an undeniable part of our being. When the drugs and alcohol dissipate, loneliness remains within us as prominently as it was before intoxication.
9.”By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.” Passion and determination is enough to make a non-existent thing, existent. Then nothing remains impossible. Believe in yourself and your ability of attaining what you want.
10.”In the struggle between yourself and the world, back the world.” No doubt, every person in this world is fighting a battle. When choosing between you and the world, Kafka suggests to choose yourself first and second the world. In other words, do what you feel right to do and not what the world instructs you to do.
11.”There are two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness.” Discard these two habits for the better as according to Kafka, “Idleness is the beginning of all vice.”
12.”I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.” These lines from ‘The Metamorphosis ‘ points out existential anxiety of a modern man. Gamut of emotions springing in our hearts but unable to express it in words. It points towards this dilemma, the helplessness that each one of us may have faced at some point in our lives.
13.”Paths are made by walking.” A motivational quote by Kafka pushes us to take initiative, keep moving forward, focus on our destination and make our own paths.
Don’t water it down;
Don’t try to make it logical;
Don’t edit your own soul.”
=>Take a stand. Never succumb to situations, rather use your understanding and reason to pave your way through all odds and obstructions. Be true to yourself and always feel confident.
15.”This tremendous world I have inside me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to a thousand pieces. And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world.” These lines again suggest the anxiety of man in modern world. If knowing one’s inner self means to tear oneself into thousand pieces, Kafka would rather tear himself up than being buried with this world, the world about which he says -” The Bible is sanctum; the world sputum.”
With his ability to surface the anxiety of Man of being alienated, trying to find peace within himself, Kafka stresses that contemplation alone can bring peace to the human mind and keep us motivated and confident.