Franz Kafka Quotes

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. I am a cage, in search of a bird. Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness. The meaning of life is that it stops. A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life. By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired. It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves. There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe... but not for us. I am in chains. Don't touch my chains. Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself. I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy. Paths are made by walking. I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. Books are a narcotic. You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. All language is but a poor translation. I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself. I am free and that is why I am lost. Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self. I usually solve problems by letting them devour me. He is terribly afraid of dying because he hasn’t yet lived. I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over other people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable; more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person. I miss you deeply, unfathomably, senselessly, terribly. You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart. May I kiss you then? On this miserable paper? I might as well open the window and kiss the night air. Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached. You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid. Love is a drama of contradictions. I’m tired, can’t think of anything and want only to lay my face in your lap, feel your hand on my head and remain like that through all eternity. In man's struggle against the world, bet on the world. They say ignorance is bliss... they're wrong Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have. I have spent all my life resisting the desire to end it. Love is, that you are the knife which I plunge into myself. I do not speak as I think, I do not think as I should, and so it all goes on in helpless darkness. Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more. We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds. My stories are a way of shutting my eyes. Most men are not wicked... They are sleep-walkers, not evil evildoers. Written kisses don't reach their destination, rather they are drunk on the way by the ghosts. Kill me, or you are a murderer. All I am is literature, and I am not able or willing to be anything else. You are free and that is why you are lost. Just think how many thoughts a blanket smothers while one lies alone in bed, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm. It would have been so pointless to kill himself that, even if he had wanted to, the pointlessness would have made him unable. First impressions are always unreliable.

Franz Kafka

1883 - 1924