The Top (Frantz Kafka)

Image taken from Wikipedia

Any similarity this short story has with Science is pure coincidence

The Top, by Frantz Kafka

A CERTAIN PHILOSOPHER used to hang about wherever children were at play. And whenever he saw a boy with a top, he would lie in wait. As soon as the top began to spin the philosopher went in pursuit and tried to catch it. He was not perturbed when the children noisily protested and tried to keep him away from their toy; so long as he could catch the top while it was still spinning, he was happy, but only for a moment; then he threw it to the ground and walked away. For he believed that the understanding of any detail, that of a spinning top, for instance, was sufficient for the understanding of all things. For this reason he did not busy himself with great problems, it seemed to him uneconomical. Once the smallest detail was understood, then everything was understood, which was why he busied himself only with the spinning top. And whenever preparations were being made for the spinning of the top, he hoped that this time it would succeed: as soon as the top began to spin and he was running breathlessly after it, the hope would turn to certainty, but when he held the silly piece of wood in his hand, he felt nauseated. The screaming of the children, which hitherto he had not heard and which now suddenly pierced his ears, chased him away, and he tottered like a top under a clumsy whip.

Translated by Tania and ]ames Stern

Taken from The Complete Stories of Franz Kafka


2 thoughts on “The Top (Frantz Kafka)

    • Oh no! I love The Cure, how could I have missed adding that video!?!?!
      To prove that I am being serious I added “This is a lie” some time ago for a post (
      Anyway, the lyrics of The Top are amazing; “Please come back like all the other ones do” So awesome. I once read an interview were Tricky (the ex – Massive Attack) said that The Cure’s lyrics where the most romantic ever written in rock music. It is hard not to agree with him…
      Thanks for bringing that song into my attention!

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