Slashing at Potential

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By Stefan Kirsten

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 1 of VARSITY News.


Upon a leisurely flick through Instagram, you are bound to stumble upon a profile whose bio description would make you scoff: “Public Figure/Influencer/Model and Musician.” Your first reaction would be to point a finger. However, the more you ponder it, the more the issue at hand reveals itself to be a desperate desire to (God forbid!) not be labelled as only one thing. In essence, it is the issue of growing up and the assumed loss of potential, that comes with a sort of identity reduction.

We can use Franz Kafka’s literary work to understand where this manner of constructing oneself and the world of work comes from. Franz Kafka, the 20th century novelist, wrote stories whose characters dealt with overly complicated, often bureaucratic experiences. The irony is that it’s not just the system that keeps them in this dazed state, it is their very own circular reasoning of self that manifests in reaction to the bureaucracy. Kafka’s characters become prisoners of their own ego because they refuse to see that they possess the power to extricate themselves from their position. As modern people, we have become the very same characters that exist in Kafka’s narratives. We impose upon ourselves a bureaucracy because we are too afraid to lose our potential that we initially saw in ourselves during childhood.

Kafka indirectly reminds us that the world we live in is inherently the one we create. The way to change your world is to pick a single talent and then develop it with work, not with the imposition of work. Vaguely dabbling in many things will leave you in a Kafkaesque loop. Work, in this sense, is a tool of liberation and development. The point is that you will have to let go of what you can be and grasp with both hands what you want to be. It’s not a bad thing; it is all part of realising who you are.



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