Saturday, December 9, 2006

Prometheus' Perspective

Franz Kafka, notorious for leaving his absurdist novels unfinished, said once that the parable tries to express the incomprehensible while the incomprehensible remains at the end of the story incomprehensible, which we knew already from the outset (see: Or as Ludwig Wittgenstein remarked: “It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists (see 6.44). There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical (see 6.522, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus).” That does not mean, though, that Kafka or Wittgenstein are proposing silence – a poem just with blank lines is no longer poetry – but they claim, on the other hand, that our narratives are just that: stories, and these stories, of course, can influence the way we perceive our world, the way we value the world we inhibit – but have no logical valid connection to it.

“Prometheus” by Franz Kafka

There are four legends concerning Prometheus:

According to the first he was clamped to a rock in the Caucasus for
betraying the secrets of the gods to men, and the gods sent eagles to
feed on his liver, which was perpetually renewed.

According to the second, Prometheus, goarded by the pain of the
tearing beaks, pressed himself deeper and deeper into the rock until
he became one with it.

According to the third his treachery was forgotten in the course of
thousands of years, forgotten by the gods, the eagles, forgotten by

According to the fourth everyone grew weary of the meaningless affair.
The gods grew weary, the wound closed wearily.

There remained the inexplicable mass of rock. The legend tried to
explain the inexplicable. As it came out of a substratum of truth it
had in turn to end in the inexplicable.


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