To Kafka Scholars (first letter)

Dear Comrades,
Have you chosen this life of study and exposition for yourselves? Have you been selected? Are you vying for affirmation? How does one speak for a man who claimed he had nothing in common with himself?
Do his stories seem to provide you with some critical distance — a third party-like view of your own debasement? Have they given you a sense of momentary repose (a fleeting dissolution of panic and despair)? Do you ever catch yourselves laughing hysterically?
I’ve pictured each of you finding a new commitment of mind under some stairs (or perhaps in some forgotten cellar room alone with his books). I sometimes pretend you can escape the Modern World at will.
It doesn’t matter. Horrific arbitrariness continues. Mindless constellations of power still entangle our most intimate archives and ambitions.
Did expressing this awareness free him? Has it been enough for you?
jeremy