There are seven candidates for the post of vice-president of human resources.
The first upon first blush is quite the people person, and is so lively and excited by each person she meets that you might fear that she is giving herself to her job with too much emotionality. Upon deeper inspection though you realize that this is a mask she adopts from fear, if you look in her eyes in unguarded moments you realize her only wish from her fellow human-beings is to be let alone, and she is as profoundly uninterested in humanity as a rock or a pond.
The second claims to be motivated by a wish for social justice, but these are simply phrases she learned by rote.
The third will be happy to admit to being boring; but he hides the fact that this boredom comes from sadism; angry at having his fellows inflicted upon him he resolved at an early age to give no pleasure to anyone.
The fourth claims to be ashamed of his failings. You would think that beneath this shame is perhaps pride, but the situation is far worse — beneath the shame is simply inertia, a mindless parroting of the slogans of others.
The fifth has a nervous aesthetic temperament but is entranced by only the filthiest aspects of his own personality; no other meat is as sweet to his debauched tongue. Sadly even his worst imagined crimes and most sordid fantasies are entirely unoriginal.
The sixth has no idea the depth of his dishonesty: he knows his words are lies, but is unaware that his every feeling, every gesture, every breath, and even the motions of his internal organs all have a note that rings false.
The seventh is quite simply a JIVE-ASS TURKEY!
These are the seven candidates for the post of vice-president of human resources.
(after F. Kafka)
There are times when you will meet a man or woman be unable to form a clear idea of them in their mind. And sometimes the fault will be with you. Your powers of mental acuity will be too weak to resolve that person, be it man or woman, into a clear image. In such case you should labor to correct this human myopia and discern clearly the person with whom you deal. Perhaps the differences between their courage and their cowardice, their sincerity and their hypocrisy, their joy and sorrow are there, but take a precise and, to you, unexpected configuration. You may have to enter into them, as into a dimly lit cave, until your eyes adjust.
But there are other people who are themselves intrinsically unclear. Perhaps they are two people sharing a body, one sensitive and spiritual, the other coarse and addicted to the pleasures of table and social approbation, and these two people resolve into no distinct image but instead are super-imposed, as in a shmear of cream-cheese on a bagel. This is just one example. Perhaps their thoughts are not thoughts but simply shimmering tendencies. Perhaps they have no distinctness, but are simply an agglomeration of other men’s personalities, whom they have met or seen on television. Perhaps they are simply a fog. In that case do not labor to see them clearly. They themselves are unclear. If you squint to see them clearly, you squint in vain, and purchase, for your squinting, only Headache.
My son, endeavor to know the difference between these two sorts of men!
Today I looked at the moss growing on the old tree by the farm and wondered, is my true name not moss? For I am not as strong as the tree, or as utile as the farm, but I am more ancient than either, humble, and harder to destroy. And yet I feel I am in contact with twin immensities — the eternity of the already elapsed, and the eternity of what is till to be. But what am I? An infinitesimal membrane stretched tight between these two eternities. And yet, despite all this, lurking behind all my metaphors is the single beat, fragile, erring and unavoidable…my womanly heart.
Bomolfeo’s lips are named Glome and Glammer
Bomolfeo can speak the language of a hammer
When you forget a thought Bomolfeo snuck in and took it
He’ll never queen a pawn he’ll only rook it
When Bomolfeo was lad he hid in a ditch
And learned the secret named of Scree the witch
And if a good thing happens ever to you and me
He’ll turn it sour by calling on Scree.
–The Young Gentleman’s Guide to Truth an Falsehood and the Discerning of the Difference Betwixt, Sweet Phoenix Publishing, Shanghai 1901
-do you think King Kong would have been successful had it been called “Massive Monkey”
-yes. I do
-of course, but only cause that’s also a really good name!
-Can I tell you what I think of you in all candor?
-No. Please give it to me wrapped up so as to spare my feelings.
-Okay. You are a human worm, sexually unattractive, ethically compromised, and withal loathsome.
-okay. But what would you have said if you were speaking in all candor?
-You don’t get to know.