Kafkas Spinning Top

Richie Robertson writes about “The Top”in Kafkas biography’ that “The philosopher seeks knowledge of the world. The tiniest part of the world will suffice to give him knowledge of the whole. The trouble is, the world does not stand still. It is in constant motion, like the spinning top, and will not stop for the philosopher to scrutinize it. If you stop the world, as the philosopher does the top,it no longer tells you anything. So the philosopher can never obtain the knowledge he seeks, and is driven away by the children, who with their noise and play are closer to ever-moving life than he is”

When reality is formed through our personal view, we attempt to think our way out of pain, which simultaneously maintains our story and perpetuates the pain. The sense-of-self only knows how to handle problems and proceed using its story, which is composed of thoughts and emotions that have formed around past failures and successes. The truth of life is found in the spinning top. Our conditioning teaches us to think that we can solve our problems through thinking which sees problems from a reference of stopping life.Though a specific problem may be partially resolved through our tried-and-true methods of the past, conditioned responses will never end suffering. Problems end when we perceive the story and the storyteller as false assumptions.

2 thoughts on “Kafkas Spinning Top

  1. I think the problem of the top is the same for the scientist as the philosopher, and yet the scientist, while he can’t achieve a perfect explanation for everything, can still identify rules within ever-moving nature which aid understanding of it.


    1. Yes I agree. Scientists claim to use a common language but the claim to objectivity can be debated. I realize the importance of using these revelations as “an aid to understanding” as you say. I am certainly not anti intellectual. Again for me the key is to realize the limitations of thinking and language. There are many different ways of seeing the same thing depending on how we are looking and what form we a re using to communicate and express. I speak a number of languages and realize the relativity involved. This week I visited Prague and I am reading Kafkas biography. He writes quite a bit about the difference involved between expressing himself in German and in Checkloslavakian. I find that a wisdom can be expressed in an indirect way through poetry, art and literature perhaps capturing essence better than science in some ways.


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