Flusser and Kafka: Bureaucratic Theology

Just finished reading Flusser’s essay on Kafka for a class I’ll teach next Thursday. I specially like Flusser’s idea of a God who not only loathes his creation, but also dislikes himself. How weird is the idea of a divine being who just sits impassive in his celestial office, lazily contemplating the daily tragedies of this sublunar world? Well, it’s not very different from the god of the gnostics (the so-called “theos agnostos”), with the particularity that Kafka’s deity is not only indifferent to mankind, but also despises it. If Lovecraft had a God it would certainly be like Kafka’s, like mighty Chtulhu sleeping through the ages while an unsuspecting humanity goes about its business. There are, however, those who eagerly wait for Chtulhu’s awakening and their impeding doom. Yes, there is something strangely attractive about the idea of a sudden apocalypse, about the end of our senseless suffering. Michel Houellebecq sees this very clearly when he states that, notwithstanding the absolute horror of Lovecraft’s universe and the abominations that awaits us behind every door, his literature exerts a strange and irresistible allure on us. For Flusser, we are still waiting for Kafka, because its readership is yet to be born. But – who knows? – it’s always possible that some of his authentic readers and interpreters are already walking around this earth. If that’s the case, then Kafka’s particular Stimmung can certainly be felt, even if only in minute doses…

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