Kafka and the Coincidence of Opposites

This study traces the age-old mystical idea of the coincidence of opposites through Kafka's short fiction as well as through his letters and diaries. Its aim is to demonstrate convincingly that Kafka was first and foremost a spiritual writer who composed innumerable variations on the paradox of the One and/in the many in order to spark in his reader insight into the mystery of Being. Along the way, I allude occasionally to the kindred paradoxical wisdom and dark humor of Zen to illuminate Kafka's parables. All in all, the essay constitutes a kind of cautionary argument against current cultural-constructivist interpretations that mean to undermine the view of Kafka's literary sensibility as essentially spiritual.