Monday, February 4, 2013

Franz Kafka on the nature of sleep, dreams, and waking up in the morning...

“...the dreamer, while he is sleeping, takes his dreams as real...”
(diary entry, November 18, 1911)
“ someone said to me, I can’t remember now who it was – it is really remarkable that when you wake up in the morning you nearly always find everything in exactly the same place as the evening before. For when sleeping and dreaming you are, apparently at least, in an essentially different state from that of wakefulness; and therefore ... it requires enormous presence of mind or rather quickness of wit, when opening your eyes to seize hold as it were, of everything in the room at exactly the same place where you had let it go on the previous evening. That was why, he said, the moment of waking up was the riskiest moment of the day. Once that was well over without deflecting you from your orbit, you could take heart of grace for the rest of the day.”
(passage deleted from The Trial)
“...breakdown, impossible to sleep, impossible to stay awake, impossible to endure life, or, more exactly, the course of life. The clocks are not in unison; the inner one runs crazily on at a devilish or demoniac or in any case inhuman pace, the outer one limps along at it usual speed. What else can happen but that the two worlds split apart, and they do split apart, or least clash in a fearful manner.”
(diary entry, January 16, 1922)
“...perhaps my insomnia only conceals a great fear of death. Perhaps I am afraid that the soul – which in sleep leaves me – will not be able to return.”
(diary entry, March 15, 1922)
Frank Kafka, diaries 1910-1913 ; 1914-1923. Edited by Max Brod. Schocken Books, New York, 1971.

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