Metamorphosis- A review

Metamorphosis is a short story written by Franz Kafka. It’s written over a century ago, yet many people  today can somewhat relate to the transformed Gregor Samsa.

Gregor Samsa wakes up to find himself transformed into an insect. His mind is filled with the worry about getting late to work. How is he supposed to explain his odd and strange situation to those around him?

Gregor works as a travelling salesman. He is the bread winner for his family and feels stuck in a monotonous routine that he has come to accept as everyday reality. He mindlessly follows the routine but after being transformed. His is a predicament! As an insect, he struggles to get up from the bed and get ready for work. Never being late, his manager shows up. After he finally manages to open the door, his dad pushes him back into the room with a stick seeing his horrible sight. Nobody seems to understand his speech. His insect sounds leave him feeling alone suddenly.

His family realises that their son has been transformed into an insect. However, they don’t know what to do to change him back or what help to get him.

Many of us at times feel like the insect stuck in a circle, routine or circumstances beyond which there is no life. Or if there is, there is no stepping outside. Here the insect from my point of view means Gregor has turned useless and is not a commodity useful to those around him anymore.

If in real life, it weren’t transforming into an insect, many people are suddenly left feeling alone and useless after tragic accidents or life circumstances.

Though it is an interesting concept, and indeed that many battle within their lives and minds. I think Franz Kafka also wrote this story because of his own personal life. He felt like an insect after he failed to live up to his father’s expectations.

Furthermore Gregor’s family suffers from deteriorating living standards as the bread winner goes out of work. His family is forced to work. He is left alone in his room. Inside the room, Gregor is looked after for some time by his sister but then upon, new tenants moving in the house and things moving forwards rapidly, everyone seems to forget about Gregor and instead speak about the nuisance that the insect is causing them. The tenants leave the house after they threaten to sue Mr. Samsa but he forces them out.

In the end Gregor dies a lonely death.

When I think about the insect that Gregor turns into, it sounds awfully depressing viewing life from such perspective. It makes me wonder a century ago, why Franz Kafka thought like an individual who didn’t seem to have a purpose in life. It seems that Franz Kafka was full of doubts, confusion. Even though he wrote many series of novels, he didn’t publish any of them. Despite having a Jewish heritage, Franz Kafka was disconnected from his community, beliefs and sense of higher being. Mind you, I am only contemplating about this story and Kafka’s way of thinking in particular. This story is filled with symbols and metaphors to me. The main metaphor being Gregor turning useless and a burden referred in the story as an insect. I found this other review quite good on Franz Kafka himself. One thing for sure, Metamorphosis caused me to look into and read on who Franz Kafka is. I have heard his name in many online lectures and videos. In understanding the author, I want to understand what he has written about. But I am pretty sure, all of this might swiftly change or transform into something else once I pick up another one of his books that dives into a different theme.

In summary, I cannot grasp Kafka’s thinking by just reading Metamorphosis, I would have to read more on Franz Kafka himself and read more of his books to figure out what other themes and ideas he delves into.

Unicorns- A novel review

What do I know about unicorns? This is meant to be a review of Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End of the World. In Japanese, Sekai no owari to hādo-boirudo wandārando.

Achtung ⚠️  Es gibt viele spoilern für den Novel.

What stood out to me in the novel?

No names. All characters were referred to either by description or job title. The chubby girl, the librarian, Calcutec. There are more but I am not planning on telling the whole story here. Du magst, du liest. Don’t know why I am including a bit of German hier und da.

I guess because of a recent funny video or maybe because I watched Monster again. Every time I watch it, it’s like watching it all over again, mainly because my memory with animes is poor to the point that I enjoy what I watch but don’t retain most of it. Maybe because I binge through most of the series.

Anyhow, in this novel, the protagonist is a calcutec. Calcutecs work for The System. The novel contains two stories, each narrated in an alternative chapter. The two stories merge near the end like two rivers meeting at the meeting point. The calcutec is being pursued by Samiatecs whose job is to steal the information from the calcutecs. Cyber warfare.

It’s a strange, bizarre and out of this world novel. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call it Kafkaesque. Many of Haruki Murakami’s work take inspiration from Franz Kafka.

What can I write that you wouldn’t find on Wikipedia or Google about this piece of art. While a lot of the story is still fresh in my head as I recently listened to it. I took my time listening to it. I want to review it so that it makes you want to pick up this book.

If you’re one for creativity, imagination. If you’re into surrealism, science fiction then this would definitely be a good read for you. What’s more, the novel explores the concept of death. The end of the world is a theme for the science fiction story that is taking place in the protagonists world. What he doesn’t know is that this world has been embedded into his subconscious with the help of the old scientist who worked for the system. Shuffling, sound editing and examining the subconscious is the theme here.

What caught my attention is the relationship of dream world and real life. How the subconscious influences it. While not apparently made clear. I came to my conclusion listening to the book that the characters between the two stories are somewhat related. The relationship isn’t hard to figure out, especially the librarian in the two worlds and the protagonist in both worlds.

The intricate relationship of how the protagonist finds a way to not lose his mind, memories and identity is hinted at, him getting into a relationship with the librarian who is as empty as him inside, after some traumatic life experiences and previous personal relationships.

Then what is further hinted at, are the attributes and qualities that the protagonist possesses that make him the only survivor of the System’s experiment. Here what I understood was the resilience and it’s connection with the subconscious which is near a breaking point that either helps him retain his mind and memories or come to an end like the rest of the subjects who went through the experiment.

Well as you see from my review of the novel that a lot of the story is left open for debate. Each reader can make their own conclusions. Perhaps, this is also a point of critique. When you read or listen to the story you will find many other nuances within the two stories that are open for interpretation. Nevertheless, the story is still complete. The ideas and nuances left open for interpretation and debate act as a hook to get the readers involved.

Another point of critique perhaps is that the start of the story is bizarre, also a little slow paced. However, if you continue reading you will be absorbed by the story after a couple of chapters.

Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World easily goes in my top list of Haruki Murakami’s novels. My other favourite novels by Murakami are The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, 1Q84 and Kafka On The Shore.

Image credit: Behance

Books worth visiting again

The physical heart, which houses the spiritual heart, beats about 100,000 times a day, pumping two gallons of blood per minute and over 100 gallons per hour. If one were to attempt to carry 100 gallons of water (whose density is lighter than blood) from one place to another, it would be an exhausting task. Yet the human heart does this every hour of every day for an entire lifetime without respite. The vascular system transporting life-giving blood is over 60,000 miles long – more than two times the circumference of the earth. So when we conceive of our blood being pumped throughout our bodies, know that this means that it travels through 60,000 miles of a closed vascular system that connects all the parts of the body – all the vital organs and living tissues – to this incredible heart.- Purification of the heart Translated by Hamza Yusuf.

Have you ever tried carrying 2 packs of water crates (6 × 2L) from the shop to your house? One pack in each hand? That’s not even close to 100 gallons of water and yet the human heart pumps ~ 2880 litres of blood 24/7 as long as there is life and soul in us. Isn’t this more than a miracle?

Anyhow I just found this fact about the heart amazing. The modern science has also gathered evidence that heart has its own neurons capable of feelings and perhaps thoughts. Ancient Chinese tradition and Judaism, Christianity and Islam all pay special attention to the state of one’s heart.

I have previously talked quite a lot about spiritual heart. I am reading this book again and this time I would like to share things I learn. This will help me perhaps better remember them.

Humans by nature are forgetful. We forget what we learn. Humans by nature are an ocean of emotions. Not all emotions we express are helpful in our pursuits. Reading this book before helped me tame my anger outbursts with the help of continuing practice of martial arts.

I am at that stage once more where I am falling back into my old self. Impulses and urges are over powering and over riding my rational self. For example losing my temper to someone who is screaming at me when I know they are just reflecting their own insecurities and low self-esteem. My retaliation brings me down to that same level.

In other pursuits not being able to exercise patience and just sitting on my hands has been proving difficult lately. I have disregarded my set of rules and principles. I have broken them only to slide down the ladder. It’s feels like I fell off the mountain that I was climbing. Funny how my subconscious and unconscious minds warned me of this beforehand.

Well at least, I am back to being my spontaneous self again. Blogging really helps put out all thoughts flowing through my mind. Although I may not always put them exactly how they are in my mind. That’s my introverted nature. Still when I read I am able to tell what exactly was on my mind. I was talking about dreams when referring to the unconscious and subconscious minds.

Anyway…. I can keep blabbering and I will forget why I started writing this blog.

I started writing it to explore the different diseases that plague the spiritual heart. This pursuit of cleansing one’s heart is an every day work. Complacency and laziness will put you back where you started. There is no finish line. It’s a constant work in progress. Or maybe I am saying that because my heart is not pure or maybe even if it was… it wouldn’t make sense if I were to say that about myself. No one knows what’s in the hearts except God.

I can only continue to work to polish it and if I fall off track, I have to pick myself back up. Get back on track…

Follow the light. Light guides and darkness leaves you wandering.

So here are the few common ailments of spiritual heart that I’d personally like to reflect on and in doing so hopefully remove these blemishes from my heart and self. Removing any of these blemishes is a difficult task. What I learnt from the book is that, protection from these blemishes is more powerful. Heavenly protection… I will still struggle enough so that perhaps, through Mercy some divine protection comes my way too.

Negative thoughts– the critic in my head. The little voice- doubt, fear and anxiety.

Anger– losing my composure and calmness for any reason

Heedlessness– not acting upon learnt knowledge. It can be applied to all fields. If you acquire some expertise or skills in any arts, it becomes imperative that you practise it diligently with focused attention. Otherwise you fall into heedlessness.

Boasting & Arrogance– I don’t think that I have these traits but you can never dismiss stuff like this because that’s exactly when it creeps back in. And even maybe if I didn’t write about it, that might have been boasting and arrogance in itself.

Obliviousness to Blessings– Being ungrateful. Gratitude is a must… there is always more to be grateful for in life. A lot of the times I forget to do it.

Envy, Rancour, Hatred- I am putting all these together because their roots are same. One amplifies the other and they feed off of each other. It’s easy to possess these traits. Just start comparing your life to others on Instagram and Facebook lol 😆 You will surely feel one of those at least. Or read the comment section on political posts 🤣

There are many other symptoms and ailments detailed in the book that plague the heart. I am going to work on these few and take time to reflect. Work on my habits and whether those habits help me with these goals.

Get back into deep meditation that should surely help. Help cleanse the heart and help live in the present moment.