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Monday, July 23, 2012

Kafka on the Shore


Fasting month has begun! Hopefully I'll be able to shade few pounds but the cravings I get while fasting is itching my salivary gland :S Disgusting, I know. Anyway, I've watched Spiderman AND Batman. And this is what I can conclude: Batman > Spiderman. Sorry for all Spidey fans but Batman this time owned it. Hands down.

But that's not what really intrigued me, though the bike was sickkk. I have to admit. I completed reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami and to be honest, I couldn't comprehend whatever I read out of it. It took me a while. In fact, a very long while. The whole time I was reading it, I felt disturbed (as what Shufei told me) I could not understand or figure out what Kafka was doing, or his dad's prophecy was all about or Nakata and his ability to talk to cats or eels falling from the sky or the stone. When I read the last paragraph, I was dumbfounded because I still could not figure out what Murakami was trying to tell me - his readers. So I put on hold, writing this post and reflected back all the pin points in the book.

And this is what I got out of it. I shouldn't have been reading, taking the words, forms of events, thoughts of the book literally - because it doesn't make sense, not at least in reality. It's a metaphor. The whole book is a metaphor. It's talking about something by referring it to another thing. The prophecy. The music. The forest. This metaphor that took place in the book, I believe it refers to our own interpretations. What I see in you is different from what you see in you and vice versa. The whole idea of this metaphor lies in our communication through language - words, our understanding of something in terms of something else. What I understand could be understood as interpreted by another person, who in turn is interpreted by another person. Basically, what I could grasped from it is that we all live in this cyclical sets of interpretations. I make sense of you and you make sense of me. And if I can't make sense of you, well, you're basically viewed as normlessness (pulled it out of Sociology, haha)

The whole talking to cats and Johnnie Walker who kills cats in order to collect their souls -- some may ponder is Nakata mad? If Johnnie Walker is the person that Nakata said he is, then why Kafka, his own son saw nothing but a stone faced father who couldn't pay much attention to him?

What I viewed out of this is that us as human beings are also conscious beings. In any relationships and interactions that we connect by sigh and touch, we are constructing all these events and objects in front of us. Johnnie Walker is real -- feels real since the Nakata actually did kill him and his body was found by the police. But on the other hand, Nakata's experience with Johnnie Walker is a different thing. It was constructed by his mental state. His talents of talking to cats and the Stone as well are simply viewed as features of his consciousness. Thus, he could see and hear things that are out of this world. And honestly, I'm trying my best to put my thoughts into words but I'm sensing I may be sounding like Nakata. But I did my best okay!!

I did few research and found a splendid review on this book, too. Here's an extraction:

So who you are to me is a choice I make, not you. And how I choose to interact with you is based on how I believe my conscious experience will progress based on that interpretation. If I do something because I believe it will make you happy, it is because making you happy is somehow in my self interest, something I desire, and why I think it will make you happy, and who I think you are, is all part of my consciousness, with no necessary relation to reality (i.e. – it might not actually make you happy, because I could be wrong about you). If I write a letter to you bearing all to get something I need off my chest, it is the process of writing the letter that was important, it was getting it off my chest that was important. How you respond to it and whether you even read it, is not something I can control, but I used you as a vessel to go through a certain process (this is an example from the book). And so similarly, throughout this book you see characters choosing to view people in certain ways, choosing to interact with people in certain ways, imposing their own metaphors on the world that they are interacting with. It is filled with people doing things, kind acts, for other people, not *for* the other people, but for themselves, for their own reasons. Objects of our consciousness are like vessels for a process of self growth (ideally).  And it is only when the main character of the story realizes the truth behind choice, consciousness, and metaphor that he is able to complete the journey he is on.

(Source: here)

I think Kafka on the Shore isn't just a story. It's more than a story, like a story within a story (just like Narnia) The whole book touches on relationships with humans and nature, interpretations between the self, love and friendships. It talks and circles a lot on consciousness. So, most of the time when you're reading it, you're not able to construct out of your mind the things that you've read. But I believe that Murakami intended that. For us to read and see things by our own interpretations and of course, by metaphorically.

1 comment:

Shufei said...

This is...crazy impressive.

I congratulate you on being an impeccable Literature student. :]