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Invisibleorechron
LIVEWRONG
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Registered: 05/21/05
Posts: 299
Loc: Fallout Zone
One of my favorite pieces of writing...
    #4265801 - 06/07/05 12:02 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Or at least part of it...

Before the Law stands a doorkeeper. To this doorkeeper there comes a man from the country and prays for admittance to the Law. But the doorkeeper says that he cannot grant admittance at the moment. The man thinks it over and then asks if he will be allowed in later. "It is possible," says the doorkeeper, "but not at the moment." Since the gate stands open, as usual, and the doorkeeper steps to one side, the man stoops to peer through the gateway into the interior. Observing that, the doorkeeper laughs and says: "If you are so drawn to it, just try to go in despite my veto. But take note: I am powerful. And I am only the least of the doorkeepers. From hall to hall there is one doorkeeper after another, each more powerful than the last. The third doorkeeper is already so terrible that even I cannot bear to look at him." These are difficulties the man from the country has not expected; the Law, he thinks, should surely be accessible at all times and to everyone, but as he now takes a closer look at the doorkeeper in his fur coat, with his big sharp nose and long, thin, black Tartar beard, he decides that it is better to wait until he gets permission to enter. The doorkeeper gives him a stool and lets him sit down at one side of the door. There he sits for days and years. He makes many attempts to be admitted, and wearies the doorkeeper by his importunity. The doorkeeper frequently has little interviews with him, asking him questions about his home and many other things, but the questions are put indifferently, as great lords put them, and always finish with the statement that he cannot be let in yet. The man, who has furnished himself with many things for his journey, sacrifices all he has, however valuable, to bribe the doorkeeper. The doorkeeper accepts everything, but always with the remark: "I am only taking it to keep you from thinking you have omitted anything." During these many years the man fixes his attention almost continuously on the doorkeeper. He forgets the other doorkeepers, and this first one seems to him the sole obstacle preventing access to the Law. He curses his bad luck, in his early years boldly and loudly; later, as he grows old, he only grumbles to himself. He becomes childish, and since in his yearlong contemplation of the doorkeeper he has come to know even the fleas in his fur collar, he begs the fleas as well to help him and to change the doorkeeper's mind. At length his eyesight begins to fail, and he does not know whether the world is really darker or whether his eyes are only deceiving him. Yet in his darkness he is now aware of a radiance that streams inextinguishably from the gateway of the Law. Now he has not very long to live. Before he dies, all his experiences in these long years gather themselves in his head to one point, a question he has not yet asked the doorkeeper. He waves him nearer, since he can no longer raise his stiffening body. The doorkeeper has to bend low toward him, for the difference in height between them has altered much to the man's disadvantage. "What do you want to know now?" asks the doorkeeper; "you are insatiable." "Everyone strives to reach the Law," says the man, "so how does it happen that for all these many years no one but myself has ever begged for admittance?" The doorkeeper recognizes that the man has reached his end, and, to let his failing senses catch the words, roars in his ear: "No one else could ever be admitted here, since this gate was made only for you. I am now going to shut it."



I remember when I first read this in The Trial my junior year of high school and having it send my mind into a tailspin for weeks. So many possible interpretations from such a simple story. This story acted as the catalyst for many of the beliefs and perceptions I have.


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Live by the foma that make you brave, and kind, and healthy, and happy.


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InvisibleJellric
altered statesman

Registered: 11/08/98
Posts: 2,261
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Re: One of my favorite pieces of writing... [Re: orechron]
    #4265832 - 06/07/05 12:08 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

I've seen this movie..

'Revenge of the Blob'!!!  :fork:


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I AM what Willis was talkin' bout.


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Offlinecrunchytoast
oppositional

Registered: 04/07/05
Posts: 1,133
Loc: aporia
Last seen: 9 years, 8 months
Re: One of my favorite pieces of writing... [Re: Jellric]
    #4266322 - 06/07/05 02:18 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

that was a great quote  :thumbup:
i've always wanted to read it
very dark
you've had years to think about this
what's your understanding of it?  give us a taste  :grin:


--------------------
"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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Invisibleorechron
LIVEWRONG
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Registered: 05/21/05
Posts: 299
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Re: One of my favorite pieces of writing... [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4266487 - 06/07/05 03:01 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Complacency leads to death is my general take on it. The man from the country has 3 options as I see it: wait, try to force entry, or leave. While the guard doesn't actually take any action to prevent the man's entry his saying that he is the lowest and weakest of doorkeepers is enough to prevent the man (K.) from attempting to force his way in. This rules out the possibility of entering the law that way in the mind of K., an understandable assessment. The other two options, leaving or waiting for admittance to be granted, are both dependent on how important the man feels his gaining admittance to the law is. Because he feels it is quite important he waits patiently for years until he dies. The man spent his life wasting away making absolutely no progress towards his goal or even learning anything more about what his goal was.

Forcing entry or simply leaving would have been better options because in both instances something is being done whether it be enjoying life or learning more with the potential for death. This is where I always throw myself into a tailspin because the actual nature of "the law" isn't known. If you read The Trial (book this proverb is contained in) you can potentially come away with the feeling that this "law" is something that one subjects themselves to. Thinking about it in that way has led me to believe it's some sort of absolute morality. If everyone has their own door (of course we don't know if other individuals have their own doors but its a reasonable assumption) then that suggests that though the destination is the same, paths will vary. As to the nature of the door...I believe it can be seen as a shortcut to an enlightenment whose nature is not known. K. greatly desires the use of the shortcut as he can see it plainly (or at least imagine that it is in fact a shortcut) and in seeing this path which he feels is perfect, he stops looking for other options. All his energies focus on what may be beyond the door, how he can bribe his way through the door, etc.

In knowing that there is a way to reach the law that is already before him he grows complacent and waits for the law to come to him.



I could easily ramble for hours on this without saying anything but I think I'll go read some more (Down These Mean Streets...quite good) and go to bed. I've been searching for the priest's interpretations that are in the original text but to no avail so far, I'll try again tomorrow.


--------------------
Live by the foma that make you brave, and kind, and healthy, and happy.


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Offlinecrunchytoast
oppositional

Registered: 04/07/05
Posts: 1,133
Loc: aporia
Last seen: 9 years, 8 months
Re: One of my favorite pieces of writing... [Re: orechron]
    #4266507 - 06/07/05 03:10 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

it's interesting how the gate is only there to be unopened
unexplored possibility. in a sense it is about the unexplored possibilities we all die with. stark.

it's also called law: i agree the man sounds repressed. law as a concept closes off possibilities. i have not read the trial but wonder if kafka is thinking about the state and it's law.

dya' ever read any kafka:toward a minor literature? (i read that without reading the kafka) good stuff

the infinite series of doors... maybe my favorite part. you point out all the methods he tries to break through and how they're all fruitless. even going through the door would be fruitless.


--------------------
"consensus on the nature of equilibrium is usually established by periodic conflict." -henry kissinger


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Invisibleorechron
LIVEWRONG
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Registered: 05/21/05
Posts: 299
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Re: One of my favorite pieces of writing... [Re: crunchytoast]
    #4266532 - 06/07/05 03:22 AM (11 years, 5 months ago)

Well in The Trial the law is a kind of obscure body that is deeply ingrained in society and is in fact subservient to it. They scrutinize and re-scrutinize cases that focus on a matter that is unknown to the defendant and possibly to the judges themselves. Most of the defense described by K.'s lawyer in the novel is actually probing to try to figure out what exactly K. is on trial for.

Throughout the book K. is a self-absorbed asshole. He and his are the most important and he can act with impunity doing whatever he pleases so long as he's capable of justifying or hiding his actions. His impatience from not understanding the nature of the law or his trial essentially speeds up scenes of his life and causes him to not notice some important or otherwise interesting occurrences.

Priest who tells the parable: "The Court wants nothing from you. It receives you when you come and it dismisses you when you go"


--------------------
Live by the foma that make you brave, and kind, and healthy, and happy.


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