What does Kafkaesque mean?

The term kafkaesque is literary description of a work that has a similar feel to that of a work by the writer Franz Kafka. His works give the reader a surreal feeling of subtle terror. He does this by throwing his characters into situations where they are confronted with unacceptable or unreasonable circumstances. The reader is forced to accept the unacceptable because of the nonchalant way the characters including even the protagonist accept the situation. For instance being transformed overnight with no explanation into a giant bug. Or being placed under arrest but refused the right to know under what charge or who is bringing the charge against you. 

I’ll give an example of a situation that actually happened to me that I could only describe as kafkaesque. A friend and I were walking down the street talking when suddenly a conversation from some elderly people in his tribal dialect caught his attention. He stopped and said something doesn’t smell right. All at once police officers dressed in black with the words, “NATIONAL SECURITY” displayed on their backs appeared on every corner. They immediately began arresting people. My friend had his umbrella up to protect us from the sun so he instinctively covered my face with it and told me to act calm. I should probably take a moment and explain my situation. As an American my documents are in order. Americans are welcome in the country and viewed highly by the authorities. But you see I am an African American which is rare in this country. When the police look at me they see an African foreigner from a neighboring country. This means I have no rights. They can rough me up all they like and ask questions later. At the end of the day when they realize I’m an American they’ll have to let me go. But what I’ll have to endure before they come to that realization is unpleasant. It’s easier just to run and hide along with the other undocumented foreigners. I never imagined I would be facing this kind of reverse racism when I decided to come to Africa. Anyways…Back to the story. While the police arrested a man right in front of us my friend calmly pulled me into a store to by a can of soda. He conversed nonchalantly with the store owner even laughing. I of course tried to be very calm on the outside though I was bugging out on the inside. In fact I noticed everyone was very calm except for the people being arrested. Once they had on the handcuffs they too were resigned to the situation and became calm. At this point I felt like a character in a Franz Kafka book. Though police were everywhere we ducked out of the store and into an alley. My friend spoke loudly to me in his tribal dialect to throw off the officers. We entered a small section of woods, crossed a river and discovered suddenly that their were officers searching through the woods. We quickly exited and ascended towards a main road. But as we got there an armored truck full of military personnel was driving by. They passed us but then suddenly stopped and began to reverse the vehicle. Again my friend instinctively blocked my face with his umbrella but this time he simultaneously hailed a taxi. As we sped off I could see the soldiers peering into the taxi to see if it carried any foreigners. However they didn’t bother to stop us because there was plenty of low hanging fruit surrounding them. The taxi dropped us off in an isolated neighborhood where we could visit another friend until the invasion was ended. I was agitated for the rest of the night but my friends were indifferent. They soon seemed to have forgotten that we were just running from the police. By the time we returned home it was dark out. The foreigners were back on the streets laughing and talking as if nothing had even happened. To me, describing the events of this day is the best way I can think of to answer the question: “What does kafkaesque mean?

Are you a fan of Don Quijote? You may enjoy this new book.  When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at http://smashwords.com/books/view/540303#amreading #amwriting


Inspirational Quotes

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who swing the car door open without looking and those who look to make sure they don’t strike another vehicle or person. Which kind are you?

– William Chasterson 

Are you a fan of Don Quijote? You may enjoy this new book. When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at http://smashwords.com/books/view/540303#amreading #amwriting


Notes from underground

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear…
You shout and no one seems to hear!
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes…
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

– Pink Floyd

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No honor amongst thieves

In his book ‘the Brothers Karomozov’ Fyodor Dostoyevski invents three brothers that serve as archetypes for different facets of the human condition. In this article we’re going to focus on Dmitri Karomozov who is a caricature of man’s romantic passion.

My neighbor lady has a strange way of viewing theft. When we first moved in she told us that we needed to give her the equivalent of thirty dollars US in order to get our power turned on. When the workers came she took them aside and told us she would handle everything which didn’t seem totally unreasonable as merchants raise the prices considerably for Americans. I was actually appreciative for her intervening. They turned on the power with no problem but then she approached us saying she needed the thirty dollars or else they would shut it back off. I went for the money but my wife became suspicious after the workers left without taking the money. Our neighbor said they would be back and we should leave the money with her. Needless to say we decided to wait until we could verify what she was saying. The next day it rained buckets. Here, when it rains like this no one works which is why we were surprised when we got home and the neighbor lady said the power company came by twice to collect the money and were upset because they hadn’t been paid. My wife asked the neighboring shopkeeper who sits in front of his shop every day waiting for customers if the power company came by our house.

“In this rain?” he asked sarcastically.

Our suspicions were confirmed. The neighbor lady was lying. She was trying to take us for thirty dollars. “So you’re a thief,” I thought.

A few days later thieves broke into her bar and stole boxes of beer along with money. She paced to and fro in front of our house lamenting about the thieves in the neighborhood and the deteriorating conditions in the world. At that moment I realized that even though she was planning on taking money from us she didn’t consider herself a thief. We would be giving her the money willingly so in her head she was not stealing even if our act was motivated by a lie. 

Her loose interpretation of what qualifies as theft reminds me of an explanation given by Dmitri Karomozov on his view of theft. The following is an excerpt from this explanation.

“I’ll put it more plainly for you perhaps it’s really difficult to understand you see. Listen carefully. 

        I appropriate three thousand entrusted to my honor and spend it on a wild party and having spent it I come to her the next morning and say Katia I’m sorry I squandered your three thousand. Well is that nice? No it isn’t. It’s dishonest and cowardly. The man who does such a thing is a beast. He has no more self restraint than a beast. Isn’t that so? But he’s still not a thief is he? Not a downright thief. Not a downright one. You must admit he squandered the money but he didn’t steal it. 

       Now a second a still more favorable alternative. Please listen carefully while I may get confused again I’m afraid my head’s still swimming. 

       So Here’s a second alternative I spend here only 1500 out of the three thousand that is half of it. The next day I bring to her that half. Katia take the fifteen hundred from me blaggard and thoughtless scoundrel that I am I’ve squandered half the money and may therefore squander the other half so take it and keep me from temptation. Well what about such an alternative? Anything you like. Beast and a blaggard but not a thief not entirely a thief for if I were a thief I would certainly not have brought the other half. I would have appropriated that too. Here she would see that since I brought back half the money I’d bring back the rest that is the money I’ve squandered that I’d try to raise it all my life. That I’d work to get it and return it. I’d be a blaggard then but not a thief. Not a thief whatever you may say…I do regard it as a vital difference. Everyone can be a blaggard and I dare say everyone is but not everyone can be a thief. Only an arch blaggard can do that. Anyways I’m afraid I’m not very good at these subtleties only a thief is viler than a blaggard. I’m convinced of that. Now listen. I carried the money about with me for a whole month. Tomorrow I may decide to give it back and then I’m no longer a blaggard. But the trouble is I can’t make up my mind. Though I make it up every day, though I egg myself onto it every day to do it. ‘Make up your mind you dirty blaggard make up your mind’ yet for a whole month I can’t make up my mind. Yes sir well what do you think? Is that nice?”

“Why in the first place,” the examining magistrate asked, “did you divide the three thousand into to equal parts squandering one part and hiding the other? What exactly did you hide it for? What exactly did you mean to do with the fifteen hundred?”

“Why of course,” cried Dmitri striking himself on the forehead. “I’m sorry to be such a nuisance to you I haven’t explained the main thing or you’ve had understood it at once. For you see it’s in the motive of it that the disgrace lies you see…”

“…I craftily counted out half of the three thousand and cold-bloodily sewed it up with a needle, sewed it up intentionally, sewed it up before I was drunk and having sewn it up I was off to get really drunk on the rest. Dear sir that was vile. Do you understand now?”

A thief is a thief. But as Dmitri Karomozov and my neighbor lady illustrate, the conscience has a great deal to do with what we view as acceptable. If not trained by a standard, everyone’s conscience is different resulting in differing behavior sharing the same clear conscience.

– William Chasterson 

When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at http://smashwords.com/books/view/540303#amreading #amwriting

18 things I hate about money

1. Money changes people. New job + more money = changed social status. Suddenly the little people become harder to see.

2. Money divides people. Friendships have been ruined over business deals gone bad.

3. Money defines people. From level of customer service received to the right kind of medicine being prescribed, if you don’t have money you’re not a person.

4. Money borrowed transforms a man into a mouse. No matter how tough a person is they can be brought to their knees by the necessity to borrow.

5. Money owed turns a man into a cockroach. People scatter or at least are repulsed when a debtor enters the room.

6. Money can make the difference between life and death.

7. Money never completely satisfies.

8. Money determines how far from home a person can venture.

9. Money determines the temperature at which a person falls asleep.

10. Money can ruin marriages.

11. Money determines whether or not two people who are in love can be together or not.

12. Money causes people to worry about thousands of things that will never actually happen.

13. Money forces people to waste their lives doing activities they care nothing about.

14. Money makes the difference between health and malnutrition.

15. Money converts warm family relations into cold business dealings.

16. Money forces you to eat when you’re not hungry because you don’t know where the next meal is coming from.

17. Money continues to exert a humiliating power over individuals even after their death.

18. Money isn’t something we can eat, drink or breath and yet it seems to control our very existence.

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 Faith vs. Farth?*                                                                                     *(This is not a religious article)

When we hear the word faith our minds immediately jump to religion which is a controversial subject. But in actuality the word faith is defined as a complete trust or confidence in someone or something. A strongly held belief or theory. According to this definition the church does not have a monopoly on faith. Everyone has strong beliefs or theories about something or another. The question is: How do we express our faith and are we correct in what we think we are expressing?

Faith is not just a gut feeling as some might think. It is not just a position taken on a controversial subject. Rather it is a firm opinion evidenced by a particular action or actions. This means one’s actions can be looked at to determine whether or not his or her faith is genuine. Think for example of a person who professes to have faith or trust in you. Yet anytime they find themselves in difficulty instead of calling you they call on your powerful enemies to help them out. Despite their words their actions indicate that they really don’t have faith in you at all. Rather their actions prove they have faith in the power of your enemies. Instead of calling them out on their hypocrisy we’ve arrived at a point in our society where it’s unacceptable to question one’s faith or loyalty. This fear of judging the actions of others has resulted in the institutionalization of hypocrisy and a world where everyone’s motives are suspect. We are considered guilty until proven innocent. 

I believe there should be a word for the strong disbelief in everything and everyone that is engrained into the consciousness of society. In my search for such a word I’ve found only the negative of the root word. For example: lack of faith, lack of confidence or disbelief. Being that the lack of faith in this world far outweighs the amount of actual faith I’ve decided to award the negative of the root it’s own name. I’m going to call it farth. I’ll attempt to illustrate my claim that farth trumps faith using the following experience.

I used to work at a company that offered free health insurance to low income individuals and families in New York City. As a representative of the company I had a table set up at different locations in low income neighborhoods. A coworker and I  witnessed someone drop their wallet in the street. Though the man retrieved his wallet the event got us into a discussion about ethics. I expressed shock when my coworker mentioned that if he found a wallet full of money along with ID indicating the address of its owner he would pocket the cash before mailing back the wallet and ID. He seemed to be under the impression that such an action was not theft because he was under no obligation to return the wallet in the first place. He felt that he was being a Good Samaritan by returning the ID and other documents inside and that the cash was a well deserved reward for his act. I expressed my opinion that once he discovered the identity of the wallet’s owner pocketing the cash would transform an otherwise honest man into a thief. “It’s true,” I explained. “You are under no obligation to return the lost item but if you know who the money belongs to and still decide to keep it, you are a thief plain and simple.”  My opinion offended him. He felt judged so he lashed out at me. Apparently remembering his strong sense of farth he shook his head and said, “I would keep the money but I’m no thief. I’m just being honest about my actions. In fact there’s no evidence that we’re any different, you would probably do the same.” I realized at that moment he was right. I had no proof that I wouldn’t do the same. My actions would be the only proof that I wouldn’t pocket the money and for that I would need an opportunity.

In another post I mentioned how my wife and I talked about moving to an underdeveloped country to do volunteer work. Most likely people thought we were just talking about doing something because we knew we had no opportunity of ever actually carrying it out. I realized that they too were right. Until I actually quit my job and stepped onto the plane I had no proof of what we would do. Now however I have the past year and a half to point to as evidence of my faith.

When Metaphysical Man, Atro City’s resident superhero and trendsetter is inadvertently sucked into an alternate world by a mysterious super villain he’s forced to overcome his only weakness; reality. Read more at http://smashwords.com/books/view/540303#amreading #amwriting

Chapter 6

“I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means – except by getting off his back – Leo Tolstoy”

“A cat that looked about my age suddenly stepped out of the shadows. “So, you are the one that’s been creating all of the buzz in Lumpenproletaria,” said the cat. I asked, “Are you the threshold guardian?” He rolled his eyes. “Follow me,” he commanded and turned back into the shadows. I quickly caught up with him. I was a little confused because I was told that Lumpenproletaria was a neutral territory yet the impression that Justice had left me with was that this guide was working for Socrates. I decided to inquire. “Excuse me sir, but …” “Let me ask you a question,” he abruptly interjected. “Are you a true believer? In animalism I mean. Its all right you can speak freely. In Lumpenproletaria you are not held accountable for what you say.” I was taken aback by his forwardness. “Yes,” I replied. “I believe that once all animals wake up and realize that we all belong to the same species we will be able to work together for lasting peace.”

Excerpt From: Chasterson, William. “Breed   The Secret Design To Maintain Racial Inequality Among The Despised Classes.” 

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Which do you prefer?







Six months ago I had an accident while exploring in an undisclosed location in Africa. Doctors recommend that if you move from a cooler climate to the tropics you should allow your body to adjust to the new environment. I had to learn this the hard way. Instead of slowing my pace I actually increased my activities because of my work. In protest my body shut down and I lost consciousness. When I woke up I discovered that I had taken a header into a tiled floor. My two front teeth were pushed back and loose and another tooth broke. This is going to sound gross but I had to pull my teeth forward and bite down on something to force them back in place. Where I’m at dental work isn’t a high priority and I thought it gave my face character. But while in the states I decided to go to the dentist and it’s a good thing I did. I was told I had an infection. While the two front teeth tightened in place nicely, I was told the broken tooth would not set in place because of the infection. Eventually my face would swell up and my tooth would fall out. After completing a course of antibiotics I was given a root canal and a filling was placed on my broken tooth. It looked just like new. But a few days ago it popped off while I was flossing. Again I pondered if it was worth it to get it fixed again. Nevertheless I decided to return to the dentist. This time they put a temporary plastic cap on the tooth. I’m headed back into the third world in about a week and I don’t have time to wait for my insurance to approve a porcelain crown. What do you think? Should I have gone through all this trouble or just left it alone?




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