Reading With Steli: The Trial by Franz Kafka

I recently started reading The Trial by Franz Kafka, and there’s one thing I really love about this book: It has already raised so many questions in my mind and made me think thoughts I wouldn’t have pondered if it weren’t for this book. This episode is just me sharing my reading experience while I’m halfway through the book.

Dude, Kafka, I’m getting into it. I’m digging it. Yeah. I mean, I’m only I’m halfway through the trial.
[00:00:08]and I have to say it’s a very interesting read. And I am captured by, like, if you told me I have to stop reading it right now, I would be annoyed. I want to keep reading. It is not as effortless as some other books where it just, where every page just flows. do. And once I got into it, I was addicted and was flying through the pages.
[00:00:31] It’s not that. I’m addicted, but I can fly through these pages. The writing style is awkward in a way, I think it’s by design, but the whole, I mean, the story and the characters and the writing, it’s all, it’s not meant to be flowing, right? It’s not, you’re not flowing through the story. It’s not kind of sort of a river.
[00:00:53] It’s this, in a scent that’s somewhat uncomfortable. It’s very Stony and dirty, but there’s something satisfying about it, dude. It’s so true. Like, like I also feel that, um, from what I remember it being like, almost like, it feels like something that’s not good for you, but you want more of it.
[00:01:15] That’s, that’s kind of how I remember feeling it at some points. Interesting. I haven’t gotten to that point for me. It’s one thing that’s really. Exciting to me is, I mean, a, the main character is so beautifully flawed, right? I mean, you can just tell by the way that character is going through life, and it’s interpreting all these surprising events in his life and his inner and outer dialogue that this character is such an egotistical egocentric, distorted human.
[00:01:52]But there’s something beautiful. Like we love flawed characters. There’s something that’s attractive about deeply flawed people. I don’t know what that is, but if you think about like movies and music, things that humanity is attracted to this, something beautiful about the certain kind of flawed human that we find very, very compelling.
[00:02:12] And so this character is very compelling and is very flawed and he’s so arrogant. It’s, but I it’s been a while that I’ve encountered such a level of arrogance in the character and I’m sort of joining it like this. There’s a pleasure I’m getting from, you know, seeing how deeply and about the, how much he enjoyed the grandiosity and arrogance of the emperor.
[00:02:38]The pattern. Do you see a pattern? I think actually you, you remember this wrongly because I think that you were the one that really loved the, uh, yeah, our Conan. We told you, you really lost, the God emperor. I didn’t really love it, but there were parts where it was super arrogant that I was like taking a German in.
[00:03:02] For sure. Maybe there’s a pattern here. other thing about this book, it’s not just the main character that’s deeply fought. Almost every character in this book is deeply flawed. I feel like I would not be surprised. If at the end of this book, there’s literally tons of blame to go around, but there’s no, you know, there’s nobody, that’s a hero.
[00:03:21] That’s nobody that’s getting out of this story, scattered, you know, and like clean, everybody’s dirty, everybody’s in the wrong again. This part of me is just amused because it is written amusingly at least the first half of the book. So it’s kind of amusing. Uh, to just encounter a world where everybody’s in the wrong, it’s entertaining.
[00:03:44] It’s puzzling as well, It’s kind of confusing. This is the kind of book and story where the entire time you go, what the hell is going on here? You know, what is this, what is this? And there’s constant twists and turns and every new character and every new development that’s introduced, it’s only making it.
[00:04:03] More confusing. You’re like, what is going on here? And again, there’s a sick, pleasure in that. maybe this is what you’re describing. It’s sort of like the, and the point where you reaching into the, the box of chocolates and you know, you’re actually not enjoying it anymore, but you can’t stop. It’s too late.
[00:04:26] Now you have to finish the fucking box, right. It’s not within your control anymore. And I, and I would not be surprised. I think it’s. Very obvious at this point already that this book will not end in a satisfactory way. Like you’re not going to end this book and now get the big resolve knowing what happened, the big, moral of the story is X.
[00:04:49] You’re not going to get that. He’s not going to give you the satisfaction of knowing what the book was about, but there’s already a number of themes. That are developing that the book could be about just again, both unsatisfying. I am very enticing, freaking where you go. All right. You know, this book could be about how unjust life is in the world is this book could be about.
[00:05:16] The guilt. We all carry around in anything in life in society. That’s not fair because we all are sort of guilty. There’s a, I remember a part of him, very arrogantly talking about, the, the, the, the entire first half of the book he feels above. This trial that’s going on. He sort of arrogantly telling himself and everybody else, I don’t even give a shit about this.
[00:05:42] I don’t even care what this is about, because at any point I can just walk away from all this and you low level people will have to be stuck on this trial on your own because I’m above all this. Like he just pretends that this is not a problem and he doesn’t give a shit and everybody, and he’s.
[00:05:56]Obviously making the whole thing worse for himself because he’s treating these people really terribly, you know, that apparently might have a lot of power over his life. And eventually you can see that there’s moments where he has doubt. And he’s wondering, but not in a. Gentle obvious way going, Oh, I wonder if I made a mistake now it’s still probably ahead of him, but he goes, I never even cared about these kinds of proceedings and the kind of justice system we have.
[00:06:25]And I wouldn’t even have cared if it was fair enough, if it hadn’t basically just like, if it was not. The fact that I walked one morning and this piece of gum stuck on my shoe, and now I have to like, care about it. He doesn’t say it that way, but that’s kind of the sentiment. Now I’m annoyed by this injustice.
[00:06:43] But when I saw other people go through this, it wouldn’t even matter to me because I was above all of this. And that made me go, you know, our justice system, no matter where you are, if you’re in Europe, in the us, in Asia, everywhere around the world, the justice systems that we have. A very unjust in many places.
[00:07:01]And they, they are victims of this system. People that are, have been handed a card much too harsh for what they did or didn’t do. And most of us. Live their happy life, not giving a fuck. Like we just don’t care because it’s not us. It’s not somebody we know. And it’s not so prevailing where every day, our neighbor, then the other neighbor, then our cousin, then it’s not everywhere within our vicinity where we go, Oh my God, there’s something broken with us.
[00:07:30] And sooner or later it’s going to catch me. It’s so far away. We know some people are being treated unjustly. We know there’s certain things that are fucked up and wrong about our justice system, but we go, well, Too bad, but it’s not my problem. I, I remember having that jump out of the page when you went through that, I went well the same way, you know, and he is a character that I think is really deeply, deeply flawed, but boom, he has a moment where I can connect because I, I act the same way I go left shoulder shrug, not my problem.
[00:08:02] Or I get that this is a problem, but it’s not penetrating through my heart enough to do something about it. Right. Get involved.
[00:08:13] It is a problem. It’s not my problem. and so you, you get these, moments in the book where you go, ah, here’s somebody that’s deeply, deeply flawed. And it kind of, you know, I’m not above the character in this situation in life. and then just the writing, I mean, almost everything in the writing.
[00:08:33] I find almost every sentence in this book, I find structured with a certain arrogance. Aloofness and detachment from real life, but there’s something beautiful about it. Like there’s a certain consistency. There’s a certain poetry of arrogance that I find in the writing style. Again, it doesn’t matter if it’s the main character or if it’s a psych character or if it’s just partially describing a scene, every sentence has a you can’t.
[00:09:05] I find that I can’t read this book in a. In a neutral state and voice, every sentence has, is a bit verbose and a bit arrogant and a bit yeah, there’s a certain arrogance throughout all of it. And then I go wonder what is he telling us? Right. Is it just that he was that way? I mean, I have to read more of his books to know how much his styles was, were varying.
[00:09:30] So how much intention is in some of the quirkiness of this book versus. What is just his style. From what I’ve read, about a few of these other works, this theme of there’s something confusing happened to some character that’s surprising, that’s getting more and more confusing. And we don’t know why that’s kind of seems to be a common theme among his books.
[00:09:51]but, uh, I wonder if that kind of that arrogance, that verboseness, uh, is something he did intentionally here or something that I’ll encounter in other writings of his. But again, I find the writing very unique and it’s not it’s sometimes when sentences, you know, this from me, I’m not a fan of long.
[00:10:13]Writing, I’m not a fan of sentences that are unnecessarily long with Frank Herbert. I would. Enjoy it because it was masterfully done. And I could end the sentence and go, well, there’s, this is a piece of art and it made me Galop a certain way down the sentence. And so this is not about describing salts.
[00:10:35] So they again, say it again. Yes. With him with CAFCA, his sentences are also kind of complicated, at least structured, sometimes very hard structured, but I can tell that it creates a certain reading experience that’s unique and not because the author did not know how to write differently like that.
[00:10:59] You don’t get that sense. You get the sense that this is part of the experience. Interesting. Is your state of mind in a way yes, yes. Yes. The way you read, I hate the feeling that the author wants you to have, because it’s connected to the main message of the book, or it makes you feel certain things that are happening in the story unconsciously, There’s a certain, these characters, especially the main character. He is doing mental gymnastics to change what is happening to fit his narrative. Something is happening where he’s at fault and he will change it and make himself, you know, above all these people. There’s this arrogance that he always has to like create mental gymnastics, to make himself self satisfied that he’s actually above all this and everything he did was fine.
[00:11:50] You know, I tend to think of a Larry David. Yes. But, but less likable and less funny, you know, if you took away Larry David’s. Like ability and fun. Uh, then you’d have Kafka’s character. The trial, he’s very much in the wrong, but he is doing the mental work necessary to feel himself above, to elevate himself above what he just did.
[00:12:16] And that’s sort of, arrogant. And disgusting mental effort to create a certain self satisfaction. That’s also the writing, like the writing is sort of unnecessarily, hard to work. Like these sentences are so hard, there’s so much effort in laboring the sentences.
[00:12:38] But it’s done, to create a certain, the whole book is creating this self satisfaction of pretending to be something maybe that it even isn’t right now, I’m like totally in, interpretation the world, but there’s also beauty to interpret. I was just thinking. There was, a parallel threads going on in my mind while I was just for the last minute, one threat was going, wouldn’t it be better to finish the fucking book before you give your opinion on it, right?
[00:13:04] No, the conclusions. and then there was another thing that was going, you know, this actually something beautiful to talk about a book in the middle of it. Right. Where are you? What do you feel? What do you think is going on before the, the story has concluded? Right? This there’s a beauty in it because it’s not that I read a sentence.
[00:13:26] I read half the book in five days. So I’ve been in it. there’s something beautiful about me now. Shoot was Raleigh. What I think of it. And then when I ended to see how, you know, is it the same? If I totally been surprised or changed, who gives a shit? Right. I don’t have to be right. I just, this is just, I am right now.
[00:13:44] I don’t have to behave anything right. Wrong, smart. Right. I’m not going to be a calf Kafka scholar, no matter what I do. So it’s just like giving my opinion right now. This is some, there’s a sick. Joy in reading this book, and this is what I do. This is what we, geek out on when we get into a book and there’s a sick joy in it.
[00:14:05] This not even say there’s a joy in it for whatever reason, good, bad, or indifferent. And then we just nerd out on the what, why is this working? What is it doing? That’s viewed. Beautiful. And I’m very unusual way that we can quite make sense of. I mean, so in that sense, I love reading this book because again, it introduces me to very different characters.
[00:14:30] This is a very different kind of story from those that I’ve read in the past year or two, and the writing is completely different. So that’s also, Giving you some level of joy because I’m reading different writing. Again, this is a different type of storytelling and I’m just bathing in the variety of it right now.
[00:14:49] I’m so into story that this is kind of like, Ooh, this is so different, but it’s not just different. It is not just different. It is good. Cause I am hooked. I am not laboring. I’m not. Forcing myself to read it, to read Kafka or to finish the book or to whatever reason, insert a reason or two, because it’s different.
[00:15:11] I’m not, it’s not work to read it. I want to read it. I’m drawn to it. I’m interested. I’m mobile of pleasure where I go, Ooh, this feels good. This is probably not good to like this, but I like this. It’s kind of, this is satisfying. Um, exciting there parts like last night I was reading, I was so tired. I couldn’t stop.
[00:15:34] And then there’s this moment where, and he is these constant moments. I’m wondering if this is also going to be a theme. It seems to me, there are these moments where if he just acted, if he just took the situation a little bit more seriously, and if you just acted with a little less arrogance, he might be able to get out of this situation and he just chooses not to.
[00:16:02] Yeah, right. He just chooses to not take this seriously and to be as arrogant as he could possibly feel. And you get the sense that that’s his protection mechanism. Like this is not a problem. And then he just makes it worse. But I’m till last night until that one scene last night, everything before that, every situation where that could have appeared before that.
[00:16:28]Kafka didn’t make it as obvious. You’re sort of at the end of the interaction, you’re sort of not sure if he is worse off or not. You’re just kind of like whatever, it’s just a situation. The other characters are saying, well, if you just made it worse, but because they are also so flawed and the whole thing is so puzzling, you really don’t know.
[00:16:50]But last night there was a situation for the first time where he does something. You don’t even think about it. He’s just like drawn and distracted by some girl. And he, again, he’s like observing a situation and it’s just, you know, there’s his uncle that wants to help him, but he’s kind of like arrogant about his uncle.
[00:17:09] And then this is lawyer who wants to help him, but the lawyer is kind of sick and it’s actually the lawyer of poor people. So the main character is mine. Hmm. It’s probably not the right lawyer for me anyways. It’s just not into it. And then it turns out the lawyer noise knows this, like. Clerk that works in the, in the, in the court.
[00:17:29] And that character’s introducing the room. And again, like the main character sort of like, nah, I don’t know. And then this, this chick, this woman that draws his attention away. And all the woman also, by the way, I wonder if this is going to change, but all the women in this book are deeply flawed. I mean, Jesus, they’re just every single woman in this book.
[00:17:49] And I don’t know if this is Kafka much more. So I suspect this is how the main character is experiencing women, how he sees them and also what kind of women he is drawn to. But all the women in this book are terrible. Just all of them, a big distracting seductive, you know, I want to sleep with you, although I shouldn’t.
[00:18:16] And let me distract you and try to seduce you. Away from everything else that’s happening in your life. Just like all the women are terrible in this book, but which is also fun. They’re all fun. You know, they’re just fun. Interesting. It’s like, what is going on this woman to play? You’re just surprised like that these characters turn into these like terrible little cite, uh, stories.
[00:18:40] And so he’s getting distracted by this woman. And, you know, it’s kind of totally in his own world with his woman trying to figure out, and he’s never really into any of these women, but then because they are interested in him, you sort of, huh? Maybe I should sleep with this woman because again, very opportunistic and always for the wrong reason, always because.
[00:19:00] Oh, this woman, this other guy that is in the court is interested in. So if I sleep with her, I might be, even if the mitral goes bad, I might have something over him. Right. I slept with a woman. You like, or, you know, this woman wants me. I’m not sure, but she could maybe help me with my situation in the first woman is getting into sort of like if it’s a neighbor, You can guess from the entire interaction that he never, like, he probably lived next to her for a long period of time.
[00:19:35] Doesn’t know her real first name has never taken an interest in her, but his trial appears in this kind of funky way where they just show up in his bedroom and then they have like a preliminary hearing or whatever in the room of the neighbor, because the, the, that lady’s working and because he’s so shocked about.
[00:19:55] And embarrassed that there’s a trial in PE. Some people in that building have like figured it out or know it, he’s very overly concerned to have conversations with all of them and kind of distract them or make them forget that something happened today. Right? The beginning, he’s all about like, nobody should know this and nothing happened in how do I convince all these people that really nothing happened, but again, much more arrogantly, right?
[00:20:15] He’s not saying this. He’s just ha let me talk to this lady and make sure she’s not confused about this thing that I’m totally above. And so he. He wants to talk to that neighbor lady to kind of like convince her that nothing happened and whatever, whatever. And then the landlord lady is basically telling me, Oh, you know, I don’t know if this is a good woman and she’s sleeping around with all these men.
[00:20:38] And he comes home really late. And in that moment, he’s now you can tell that once he hears that he now has to sleep with her tonight, you know, there’s something inside of him and then he’s waiting for it to come home. And he’s like angry, pacing back and forth. And it’s 11:00 PM. Why is he not home already?
[00:20:55] He’s already jealous. He doesn’t even know this lady. Right? Because he comes home. We need to basically forces himself into a room. And this lady doesn’t want him in there and you kind of kiss us. Our hand is trying to seduce her and she’s totally not into it. Is almost, you know, he’s always on the line. I mean, he’s already totally inappropriate, but he hasn’t, hasn’t done something yet, but you can tell anything he’s doing to sort of endorse, but she doesn’t like eventually she gets them out of the fucking room and he’s like, you know, went back into bed and.
[00:21:28]Was thinking about going to sleep. And it was quite satisfied with my actions tonight and everything. The only thing puzzling was that I was not even more satisfied than I was. And then I fell asleep sound just totally. This was perfectly fine. What I did. I’m just curious. Not, not, not even more happy about my actions.
[00:21:51] It’s like, what the fuck you talking about? It’s beautiful. But all the woman in the, this book he’s interested in for all the wrong reasons, never really interested because he’s interested in any of this because he’s too self-involved. And so this, this lady is producing aware of this room with the lawyer in his uncle in this like.
[00:22:11]Clerk from the court. And again, he’s not really into her, but he’s just like, he’s just enjoying that this woman is super into it, which you make you, you wonder because all these women are throwing themselves except the first one, uh, throwing themselves at him and you go, this is really what’s happening is this is how he interprets what’s happening.
[00:22:32] You’re not sure because this character is so flawed and. He comes out and his uncle is out in the rain. It’s like out of his mind, angry too, because it’s like, what did you do? We were there. The lawyer had the strategy. The clerk is the main guy that’s handling your fucking case. We could’ve have solved that everybody wanted to solve your case in your trial and help you.
[00:22:53] And you go off to fuck the lady that the lawyer is in love with. And it’s so obvious because you leave and you just never come back. You, you know, we talk for half an hour for an hour and you just never come back. Are you insane? You know how embarrassing it, that’s the first one, the moment where he makes it obvious that you think, wait a second, maybe if he didn’t act as arrogant the all the prior times, all the way up to this very moment, the whole thing would be over.
[00:23:24] Or he would be in such a much better, because you can tell this is going, this is not going to end well, this trial is not going to end well for him. Right. It starts off this small confusing thing, and it’s kind of fun and weird and awkward, but you can kind of tell this is not going to end well, this is going to be a terrible, terrible, terrible ending.
[00:23:44] It’s coming for this character. And he, in this, in that story for me, at least the first time it was crystal clear because it’s spelled out directly duty. If you would just a little less of a fucking asshole, a douchebag. We, you could have made such a pro you could have solved your trial problem right here tonight, and you just chose not to dumb ass.
[00:24:07] And then, you know, you chunk it up a couple of levels than you think. isn’t that true? Like how true is that for most of our problems in life, right. They’re kind of small and inconvenient, but we pretend they don’t matter. We pretend we don’t have to deal with them and then just escalated we just cannot surrender to wit. In a way that is not convenient or doesn’t fit our prior patterns. this is a universal truth, huge problems. They start small, right? Most problems start small and the longer you ignore them, the bigger they get. So problems are easy to solve when they’re still small in the beginning.
[00:24:48] They’re always inconvenient, but they’re just much easier to solve. We’re all, we’ve all been in this situation where this something we know we need to do, we ought to do, great example is partying waste with somebody, either a personal relationship or professional relationship, firing somebody or breaking up with somebody.
[00:25:05] You know, there’s a moment that, you know, I need to do this, but then you really don’t want to. Right. It’s going to be painful and convenient. The person’s going to be heard. There’s some things you like about this person, some benefits you’re getting from this relationship that you’re going to lose.
[00:25:22] There’s some doubt if your opinion is even right, should you really do it or not? Maybe you’re misjudging there that all this noise, which makes you hesitate and, push it down the line to later, I’m not going to deal with this problem today. Later. And later, later the later it gets the bigger the problem becomes then.
[00:25:43] And a year later you go, Oh my God, I wish I had parted ways a year ago now, significantly harder. And it’s gotten really bad. Now I get no benefits in the morning. There’s all these problems and all this, but now part waste as easily as it could have a year ago, we’ve all gone through this at some point.
[00:25:59] So there’s this pattern of maybe he could have solved his trial. At the very beginning, if he just acted with a little less arrogance, you don’t know. I mean, and I, and again, I’m, or I would bet a lot of money at this point that CAFCA is not going to give us a simple ending that will make this obvious.
[00:26:22]Right. He will, I’m sure we’ll end this book and there’s not going to be any easy answers and easy conclusions. You’re going to have to figure out what the book was about, what it means. Who’s at fault, why everybody’s at fault. Like it’s not gonna, was this a real trial, not a trial. Like, was it all in his mind?
[00:26:38] You, it’s the kind of book where, you know, already, and the book gonna know, you know, usually with some questions that are gonna follow you around for which is also beautiful, right? That’s also part of. It’s a different type of telling a story where all, all that there’s many big questions that are handed over to the listener or the viewer or the consumer of the story with no answers.
[00:27:05] Boom. And that’s, that is the, the, the type of story at the end. Now the gift we’ve given you is now you have to figure it out. You have to carry these questions around with you for a while. Yeah. And that often like stimulates new ways of thinking. Right. It makes you think and thought about before. Yes. And because you, and it makes you carry these questions into your life.
[00:27:32] Right? Oftentimes like if, if we read a story and it kind of a, to Z is a beautiful. Simple arc of a hero challenge, overcoming whatever. We, we get a lot of enjoyment from that. And as a metaphor, it might map to our life and maybe the hero learns something that could map to situations that we’re in, but oftentimes, maybe happens on the subconscious level, but on the conscious level, we were just captured by the story we followed along.
[00:28:02] And at the end, it leaves us with a, you know, So this factory moment. All right, this was a beautiful meal. I was hungry. I ate something that I was, you know, had appetite for. Ooh, now I am full I’m happy. That’s it? That’s that it ends there.
[00:28:17] This kind of book. I think when you read it seriously, you’re interested in it.
[00:28:22] You now have once it’s over, it really starts because it’s the kind of book that it’s not meant to be. Eaten and then enjoy it. And then you’re done with it concluded. It’s the type of book that by the end, when you finish it, now you have to walk around pregnant with it, with a questions of it, and you have to find answers and birth some answers during your life.
[00:28:46] Like during your days, maybe it makes you think about in my case, like how I think about justice and fairness. And why am I not more involved in some social causes in my life? Right. Maybe it makes me think about where am I arrogant in ways that I’m unaware of. Right. Because in general, I don’t think I’m a super arrogant person, but I am.
[00:29:07] I’m sure I am in many areas of my life where I’m have blind spots. I don’t see it. So there’s certain questions that I’ll have to carry around. In my day-to-day life and ponder and that’s, this is the type of story that creates that kind of extension. Um, it doesn’t end at the end. It has a new start at the end, which is now you have these questions and you’ll have to figure them out in your day-to-day life about yourself, which is dope, which is really rebuilt when you can do that.
[00:29:41] Well, I’m glad I only wanted to talk to you about the trial for the first five minutes, because I was, I was certain, I had not more than three minutes of fixed to say, I didn’t know.

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