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Existentialism And Me

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Lately I have been attracted to Existentialist literature (novels). Works such as Kafka's "The Trial", when a man is arrested for no reason and sentenced seem to appeal to me. I think it has to do with the alienation and isolation these characters are feeling. I feel as if I am alone against a world hostile and vicious to my ideas, even though I know I am right! Any thoughts?

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You are simply enjoying another work of literature without actually loosing sight of your own personal understanding of reality.

If Kafka really a proper Existentialist? I always thought he was just a struggling author, as opposed to someone who was a philisophical existentialist like Sartre.

My own opinion is that you are obviously well versed in Objectivism (since you part of the Moderator's group) and as long as you enjoy Kafka as literature, and not start living your life as his was lived, there should be no problem.

Edited by Strangelove
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You are simply enjoying another work of literature without actually loosing sight of your own personal understanding of reality.

If Kafka really a proper Existentialist? I always thought he was just a struggling author, as opposed to someone who was a philisophical existentialist like Sartre

Good question. I always though of him as one. Could you cite evidence to the contrary?

My own opinion is that you are obviously well versed in Objectivism (since you part of the Moderator's group) and as long as you enjoy Kafka as literature, and not start living your life as his was lived, there should be no problem.

Good point.

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Good question. I always though of him as one. Could you cite evidence to the contrary?

As far as I knew of his personal history, his childhood was spent in perpetual fear of his father (hence why the father figure in Metamorphosis is so hate-filled), and after graduating wollege began working at an insurance agency (not a very exciting job). He contracted tuberculosis and died rather young in 1924. All well before Sartre published "Existentialism is a Humanism" (1946). I do have not read or heard of anything that suggests that Kafka was part of any sort of Existentialist literary or philisophical scene.

Whether his works can be posthumusly be interprested as being existentialist is another matter. (Though as I understand it, Objectivists do not like trying to re-intepret the work of an author to fit "any" view, and rally against that sort of relativism, to paraphrase an example which was used on the C-Span writers series on Ayn Rand, as if someone said The Fountainhead had an environmental message because they claimed to be able to prove it/wanted to prove it.)

If anyone has any evidence that Kafka was more well versed in Existentialism, I would be interested in learning about it.

Edited by Strangelove
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I do have not read or heard of anything that suggests that Kafka was part of any sort of Existentialist literary or philisophical scene.
Noone really described themselves as being an 'existentialist' apart from Sartre, and some people often classed as core existentialists explicitly denied that label (Heidegger). Anyway, posthumous interpretation is the basis on which Nietzsche, Kierkagaard and Doestoevsky are often associated with that philosophy. It's just a label anyway - if you find existentialist themes in Kafka (or anyone else), then fair enough.

I loved The Trial. I thought it was one of the best pictures of "the sanction of the victim" that I'd encountered.

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Works such as Kafka's "The Trial", when a man is arrested for no reason and sentenced seem to appeal to me.
I haven't read Kafka. Is "The Trial" a novel or a short story? Can you elaborate on why you like it: the story, the style, the humor, the strangeness...? Edited by softwareNerd
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