not only stupid, but awkward in company as well:
my classmates, I was stupid, but not the most stupid – even if some of my teachers
said so frequently both to my face and to my parents. But they only passed such
extreme judgment under the fantastic notion some people have, who think that a daring
judgment makes them conquerors of half the world.
But there was a general belief that I was
stupid, and for good reasons, actually. These reasons were easy to state in case
there was a need to convince a stranger who had initially formed a good impression
of me and said so to others. Their negative judgment often made me angry, and I
even cried. Those were the only times, however, when I felt insecure, under the
pressure of the moment and despairing of the future, and it was only a
theoretically insecurity and despair. If I had to tackle work immediately
afterwards, I felt secure and was free of doubt, almost like an actor coming
out of the wings at a run, who stops for a moment far from the centre of the
stage, touches his forehead, let us say, even as the passion shortly required
of him becomes so great that it cannot be disguised even if he squeezes his
eyes shut and bites his lips. The uncertainty in him, half gone yet still
present, heightens his mounting passion, and the passion reinforces his
insecurity. It is unstoppable, constantly forming anew, enveloping both and the
man himself. That’s why I’m unwilling to make the acquaintance of strangers.
I’m uneasy even if they look at me sideways…"CONT. in my next post on Thursday.
Unpublished text of 1909, posted on www.kafka.org,