The Zurau Aphorisms

by Franz Kafka
3 Jul 1883 // 3 Jun 1924


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Goodness is in a certain sense comfortless.

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Once we have taken Evil into ourselves, it no longer insists that we believe in it.

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We are instructed to do the negative; the positive is already within us.

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There are innumerable hiding places and only one salvation, but the possibilities of salvation are as numerous as the hiding places. There is a destination but no way there; what we refer to as way is hesitation.

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How can one be glad about the world except if one takes one's refuge in it?

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Grasping the good fortune that the ground on which you are standing cannot be larger than the two feet covering it.

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From the true opponant, a limitless courage flows into you.

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As firmly as a hand holding a stone. Held, however, so firmly, merely so that it can be flung a greater distance. But there is a path even to that distance.

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Leopards break into the temple and drink all the sacrificial vessels dry; it keeps happening; in the end, it can be calculated in advance and is incorporated into the ritual.

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Do not let Evil make you believe you can keep any secrets from it.

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The Zurau Aphorisms

Franz Kafka


On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."