About a couple of days ago I finished reading Metamorphosis of Franz Kafka and I just could not get my head around, about of what I had just read. It felt like waste of time and energy. I was looking to find either a good story packed with emotions or some hidden information that makes you see things under a new perspective. But I could not find anything at all while reading the Metamorphosis of Kafka. In fact, the introduction and the analysis of this story prepared by David Cronenberg filled me with anticipation, but not the actual story. The fact that this book has raised many eyebrows, and scratched many heads may have been the reason why this story became famous over time, I concluded. But later on that day, a random event triggered by a guilty feeling for refusing to speak to a young boy who was trying to sell me something, brought Kafka’s masterpiece to the center of my attention again.
In Kafka’s story a traveling salesman Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to a horrible surprise of a shocking reality, or state of mind. As he tries to get up, to follow his daily routines and catch the train to work, he realized that he can no longer move or control his own body as he used to do every other morning. He realizes that his legs were transformed somehow into some kind of bug legs. Gregor naturally thinks this must be a dream, a nightmare of some sort, and he tries to wake up from this dream. His efforts are to no avail and Gregor realizes that he has metamorphosed into a bug, a huge man-size bug, but I could not figure out what kind of bug. Kafka leaves this detail to the reader’s imagination to come up with the type of bug Gregor metamorphosed into. This story as you can see has no base on our reality, because such metamorphosis if it really happened somewhere, no one has recorded it officially or has any proof of such monstrosity really happening. Nevertheless, this story has attracted the attention of many other writers and philosophers like Orwell, Albert Camus, Borges and so on. So what is it in this story that made a philosopher like Albert Camus waste his time on this particular story. I just could not see it, until it hit me later that day.
I was on drive through lane to buy some coffee, my favorite thing at any time of the day, when my attention was caught by this young teen age boy about 15 or 16 years old. He was standing there in such an odd place for a pedestrian to be. He was neither in the way of the cars passing by in the drive through lane, nor was he keeping a safe distance, far away from the cars. This was odd I thought, and I was trying to figure out whether he was with any of those cars and got out for whatever reasons, or was he begging for money as the cars passed by. The second assumption was discarded right away because just a glance at what he was wearing made you realize that he was not homeless or in need of money. But waiting for someone to pick him up, at that location, just did not make sense either. I saw that he engaged in conversation with drivers as their cars drove by, but why. I concluded that he was either trying to promote something for the Tim Horton’s company from which I was buying the coffee from, or that he was trying to sell some other products, which is considered illegal in Canada without permission to do so. I noticed that the boy was holding some sort of laminated picture and two boxes that seemed like colorful crayons or markers. If I had my children with me they would have definitely asked me to buy these things for them.
Eventually, as I approached the boy casually started speaking to me explaining about the product he was trying to sell. I forced myself to look away, to discourage him from any further communication with me, but he was not discouraged at all. He continued talking to me, while I felt pressured, almost tortured by the idea that I was hurting his feelings by ignoring him, as “this innocent boy” was trying to make some money by selling products illegally. I caught myself making the same mistakes I had made many times before in my life, the mistake of making excuses for others’ behavior, the moment I realized that I was thinking about the millions of reasons why this boy was doing what he was doing. Was he a victim of his family business, or was he the future con artist?
It was this moment of feeling guilty for doing nothing wrong that made me reflect on Kafka’s novel. I felt guilty for looking away, for trying not to engage into conversations with this boy, I felt guilty for acting rude and judged myself for that, while the boy himself felt nothing of such nature. No guilt or shame was shown on his side for taking my time, for breaking my peaceful moment, for pressuring me to listen to what he wanted to say about his product, so I would have spent my money on things I did not need. And as I was trying to calm myself down from feeling embarrassed that I forced myself to look way and acting so rude, I realized that I was the victim after all, not him. I understood at that moment the importance of the symbolism in Kafka’s story.
I gathered that while I worried too much about being rude to this boy, he seemed totally detached from his feeling. The boy did not show any sign of excitement or embarrassment while introducing the product; the rejection from others did not stop him from doing his routine. He was emotionless and probably acting as if he was clueless that he was doing something illegal. The fact that the boy seemed emotionless, unmoved when people refused buying the product or when they did not pay attention as he was talking, made me think of him in the same way I think and categorize all the unscrupulous, apathetic salespeople, that try to make profit at any cost and any form, by pressuring and taking advantage of their customers or clueless people. Nevertheless, not all people who work in retail business are like that, but I had the bad luck of dealing with the most unscrupulous sales and marketing people, just as I step foot first time in Canada 17 years ago.
I was marveled by the beautiful commercial, ads, and marketing machine that made me feel dizzy and believed that every deal that was offered to me was done with great intentions, with full sincerity and honesty. I was so foolish to believe that I arrived in a world where everything looks fine and works fine, hence everything is right, and no one has any bad intentions. No one wanted to take advantage of me, why would they? Everything I saw looked beautiful and had a good reason, andso I embraced everything as true, until I got hurt over, and over, and over, mercilessly. The attacks from such scams were so deep and fast, one after the other, that it left me no time to gather my thoughts and realize soon enough that I was victimized. I could not stand being rude to others, and so I ended up buying lots of products and services that I did not even need, staring from the boxes of cookies that I bought from every single child that knocked on my door, to the extended extra warranties for products that I did not need. It took me years to realize why and how I became a victim of those well-thought strategic methods that retail industry uses to make profit. Some of those methods are the way their ads emphasize one feature of the product that would appeal more to customers, or by not telling you all the details of the deal you were about to sign when buying their services, or they would give customers very little time to think about their choices. Some other times salespeople are trained to not take a no for an answer by using guilt tripping to capture empath like you and me into their net of profits.
I finally learned the truth that not everything that shines is gold, but I had to go through lots of hardship to learn this lesson. I also had to teach myself to not feel guilty for looking after myself and my family’s best interest first. That was the hardest part of this lesson for me. Above all, I learned that such deception and hardship, that many innocent people like you and I go through when dealing with manipulations of the retail business, would not have existed if there would not be people like this boy I met that day. If all salespeople would be honest about the products they’re selling, and not deliberately trying to fool others into buying their scarce products, then there would not be any problems with trades. But it is because that these people exist, these people who somehow are different from us, because they feel no remorse for doing wrong to others, for convincing the potential buyers and bystanders to buy their fake and scarce product, because they lie at your face without beating an eyelash about the qualities of their products or services they offer. It is because of this type of people, like Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s story that have the soul of a bug, that stands there, observing, perceiving events emotionlessly, taking notes of everything and every detail about you, me, and others so they would find our weak points and offer us a product that apparently will save us from our misery. It’s like someone pointing at your wound, asking you what is that? And just before you would answer that question, the sneaky person presses your wound with his finger, making you scream of pain. Then the sneaky, bug-like soul person offers you a cooling cream to ease your pain. Problem solved. Yes, this is the whole truth, the ugly truth about bug-like souls. It is because of these bug-like souls that are under the influence of Eros, “the god of love”apparently, that deception exists.
I finally realized, at the end of the day that Kafka’s story had valuable information for me and served as a reflection of my life lessons. As I read Kafka’s metamorphosis I reacted exactly as it was expected from an empath, I felt sad and angry that the bug had no emotions, until I realized that I was feeling emotions as a compensation for the fact that the bug could not feel anything for himself. Gregor Sama carefully observed everything that happened around him, in the house, to him and to other people, but he did not have feelings. Gregor also analyzed and was very observant to the sensations coming from his body, but each time the bug was consumed with details more than how it felt. Details on how to solve the problem, details on what was going on, details on how to use these details, and how to use information gathered in deceitful ways, these are the bug’s priority. Meanwhile the rest of Gregor’s family was consumed by normal human emotions, to the point that they would sacrifice themselves by sacrificing their normal life styles, social lives, their reputation even, because they could not decide to get rid of the bug. How could they? That bug, human or not human, in a shell represented the memory of their dear Gregor. It did not matter that Gregor, now a bug of some sort, was not able to communicate with them. They still fed him, cried for him, suffered for his tragedy, missed him dearly, and cleaned his room daily. And they did all this because human soul is naturally prone to feel empathy for others. Empath’s short coming is that we always dwell on feelings more than on facts and details to see the truth and discover deception.
Empaths have a hard time finding solutions to their problems sometimes because they overlook details, while pathetic souls like those bug-like souls care less about others’ sufferings or the consequences that others may face due to wrong doing. These pathetic souls look for details and profit by totally dismissing or probably never feeling any human emotions or any guilt at all. Their excuse is that they do it to survive, like everyone else does, but that’s not the truth, because empaths would rather sacrifice themselves than hurt others. I want to make sure that my statement in this post is clear and the reader understands that when I say there are like-bug people that care less about others, and think only about themselves, I do not mean that all salespeople who work in retail business are or act like bug-like souls. Some salespeople are truly honest, and God bless them, like that car dealer my dad bought a used car the other day. He did not hesitate to mention everything that could go wrong with that car and pressured us not into any deal.
I have noticed that these like-bug soul people do not restrict themselves in one type of profession; they do not show up as salespeople only. In fact they may show up as politicians too, because politicians also want to sell stuff, they sell hopes and dreams to people. Empaths are very sensitive to hopes and dreams, are they not? These bug-soul people also show up as peacemakers, fighters of freedom, lawyers, religious leaders, writers, and public speakers who inspire justice, because again they want to sell ideas, and to hook the empaths in the turmoil of emotions created by opposite and confusing ideas. And it does not matter which side, or which opposite group empaths would decide to join, because in the end empaths will fight one another just because they see opposites, and their judgement will be clouded by emotions. Well in fact there are no opposite sides. Opposite sides were created by the same bug-soul type of people who scream and fight in public, pretending to be enemies, while behind the doors they share their profits. These bug-like people are well trained, they will smile at you, hug you, say nice words to you, words that you want to hear, and then when you start liking them they will make you their slave, because as an empath that you are, you will have a hard time being mean to others and refusing their offers.You will obey their orders.
I think it’s time to toughen up my empath brothers and sisters and learn to say no to things, norms, products or any other service and ideas that do not help us, but that urge us to make mistakes by choosing a side and start hurting one another. Then these bug-like people will wash their hands like Pontius Pilate because they will say to you, “It is your fault for killing your brother.” Meanwhile empaths will be consumed by the guilt feelings. We empaths need to stop sacrificing ourselves for others by overthinking and over justifying others’ actions and motives. It is time to put your sunglasses on and start filtering some of those fake smiles, fake sorrows, fake emotions that these bug-like people exhibit to fool us into buying their lies and become their slaves. I wanted to share this post with you my friends as a reflection on Kafka’s metamorphosis as the 2016 ends, and a new beginning is ahead of us, hoping that it may help you set new goals, the right goals for yourself, in 2017. I wish that by putting those shades on, this will help you keep your emotions on hold for a while and learn from these like-bug people to observe and collect information with a cool head first, and then make the right choices and right decisions by using your heart and follow your judgment on how it feels to you, not on how bug-like souls represent things and “facts” to you. I wish with all my heart that you find the right balance in 2017 between feelings and reasoning.
Cheers to you all,