Kafka-esque, by way of Murakami


“The man’s features weren’t as unusual as his clothes. He was somewhere between young and old, handsome and ugly. His eyebrows were sharp and thick, and his cheeks had a healthy glow… Below narrowed eyes, a cold smile played at his lips. The kind of face it was hard to remember, especially since it was his unusual clothes that caught the eye. Put another set of clothes on him and you might not even recognize the man.” – Haruki Murakami, ‘Kafka on the Shore’ 

“I know I’m a little different from everyone else, but I’m still a human being. That’s what I’d like you to realize. I’m just a regular person, not some monster. I feel the same things everyone else does, act the same way. Sometimes, though, that small difference feels like an abyss. But I guess there’s not much I can do about it…

I wanted to tell you all this as soon as I could, directly, rather than have you hear it from someone else. So I guess today was a good opportunity. It wasn’t such a pleasant experience, though, was it?

Only people who’ve been discriminated against can really know how much it hurts. Each person feels the pain in his own way, each has his own scars. So I think I’m as concerned about fairness and justice as anybody. But what disgusts me even more are people who have no imagination. The kind T.S. Eliot calls hollow men. People who fill up that lack of imagination with heartless bits of straw, not even aware of what they’re doing. Callous people who throw a lot of empty words at you, trying to force you to do what you don’t want to do…

Gays, lesbians, straights, feminists, fascist pigs, communists, Hare Krishnas – none of them bother me. I don’t care what banner they raise. But what I can’t stand are hollow people. When I’m with them I just can’t bear it, and wind up saying things I shouldn’t…

Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe. Of course it’s important to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Individual errors in judgment can usually be corrected. As long as you have the courage to admit mistakes, things can be turned around. But intolerant, narrow minds with no imagination are like parasites that transform the host, change form, and continue to thrive. They’re a lost cause, and I don’t want anyone like that coming in here.” – Haruki Murakami, ‘Kafka on the Shore’

“I wish I could just laugh off people like that, but I can’t.” – Haruki Murakami, ‘Kafka on the Shore’

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