Notes on the quotes from Day 9
- At first glance, the two extracts appear to express conflicting principles; though one could acknowledge the disparate religious ideologies of the two writers, given close scrutiny to their words, they do share an ultimate objective: happiness.
- Where one advises, the other instructs.
- Hanh provides the initial outline—letting go brings freedom, and freedom, happiness. Kafka fills in the details.
- “To look back upon our former condition” is to help ourselves relinquish our present fears/anxieties; in other words, rather than being detrimental to our purpose, looking back is instrumental in letting go. (We survived then, when we were less wise, as we will now—let go, be free; “don’t worry, be happy”. Everything will work out.)
- Kafka does not suggest that we look back with the intention of holding onto what is past, but rather with the hope of finding “proof” of our own resiliency and, from that, obtain the courage to persist, as we once did “even in sheer ignorance”; in doing so, we may rid ourselves of our current crisis and then immediately
dispense withreturn the past to its resting place (perhaps within the pages of a diary) once our freedom is accomplished.
- Should we ever feel the need to look back at all is indicative of some present burden/bar to happiness; thus, it is necessary to look back in order to become free and, ultimately, happy. ^^
- Perhaps the only true point of contention between the two writers would have been found in Kafka’s possession of The Diaries.