Saturday, March 17, 2012

Number Seventy-Five

Prüfe dich an der Menschheit. Den Zweifelnden macht sie zweifeln, den Glaubenden glauben.

Test yourself on mankind. It is something that makes the doubter doubt, the believer believe. [Kaiser/Wilkins]

Test yourself against mankind. It teaches the doubter to doubt and the believer to believe. [Hofmann]


This is marked cancelled in both versions.

Perhaps the one who eats his own table scraps is not testing. Testing or checking is a constant puzzle in Kafka's writing; his characters are often brought up against another character with a completely different perspective on the same events he is dealing with. And yet this checking is never conclusive of anything.

Artistic editing and selection are tests, as is evident in this case since it is marked for deletion; and yet these inconclusive tests are at the same time decisive and critical, because a decision is going to happen somehow. In some ways, Kafka's fiction consists of tests.

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