Sunday, January 23, 2011
The Infinite Kafka and his Reader
TWO POSSIBLE TEXTS FROM FRANZLATIONS: THE IMAGINARY KAFKA PARABLES
Reader, let us, together, imagine my death. I am not an old man, but thin, coughing, and weak. I lie down upon the white bedsheets as if upon the pages of a book. Endpapers, we call them, enjoying one last joke at each other’s expense.
I close my eyes. After my last breath, you close the book we have been sharing.
You remember what I said: Destroy what I have written. Allow my words to burn a while, then turn to ash in your mind. I do not want to imagine you without me.
The professors create a powerful machine that takes every possible word and combines it with every other possible word in every possible configuration. They create all possible stories. There are more stories than could be read in single lifetime. And even if one began reading, by the time one read even a fraction of them, the meanings of the previous stories would have changed.
They begin again. They take all of Kafka’s words. Yes, say the professors, we intend to create the set of all Kafkas. The set of all possible Kafkas.
Years later, when the project is complete, they look at their work. We have created an infinite Kafka, one that expands as the universe itself expands, the professors say. Now all we need to create is more time, memory, and a few more infinite Kafka readers.