I wonder what if Nietzsche and Kafka were around. And what if they had their own Facebook profiles? Interestingly, what if they were friends with each other on Facebook? I guess their friends would have a great lesson on philosophy every day!
Imagine a day which starts with Kafka’s status update: “It is not necessary to accept everything as true, one must only accept it as necessary.” You wonder what this chap is trying to say. Then suddenly Nietzsche replies, “There are no facts, only interpretations”, and you reach the level of infinite amazement. The conversation does not stop there! Kafka has more to add. He replies back with, “People are sewn into their skins for life and cannot alter any of the seams, at least not with their own hands.” You, the mutual friend of Kafka and Nietzsche, gets a notification because by this time you have liked the update, not because you understood a word of it, but because you did not! You read this and feel more excited about this chap, whom you have never met in real life. You added him because you saw 43 mutual friends and a very interesting profile picture of “infinite circles”! You find no relevance in Kafka’s reply, but you feel he must have some reason to write this. You stalk his profile and see more updates and conversations with his FB friend Nietzsche.
“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired” writes Kafka two days ago, to which Nietzsche replies, “Hey dude, you know what, he who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” Kafka likes the comment accompanied by a smiley! You are amazed to see how they are finding reasons to converse. You then rush to Nietzsche profile only to see his profile flooded with one liner, all with Kafka’s likes! He writes, “When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.” Kafka gives a reply to this, “Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.” You start doubting your marriage!
In one conversation between the two you come across an update by Nietzsche where he is talking about God. “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” Like always, you are clueless! And you search for Kafka’s reply. He writes, “What is gayer than believing in a household god?” What does that even mean? Nothing! And you go back to your wall. You look at it, with finite eyes and think “A first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die. But he who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
This article was first published in British Council blog on July 8, 2013