Por: pijamasurf - 08/03/2012
Por: Alejandro Martinez Gallardo - 08/03/2012
"¿Guilt increases beauty?" asks Roberto Calasso in his exploration of metaphysical underpinnings in Kafka's work, K. It is a most audacious question, one that Joseph K. has to wonder as he hears the lawyer Huld speak, in the border of his bed, that dimensional threshold. "The accused are the most attractive", the lawyer says, but quickly reconvenes in his ever cryptic paradox semantics. "It cannot be guilt that makes them attractive...It can only be the trial that hangs upon them, which in some way brings this forth [the attraction]."
In the midst of being accused by an unfathomable judiciary system, Joseph K., as before him other indicted men, awakes a shadowy but fervent erotic passion on Leni, the lawyer's nurse, who is also attracted to the patethic jew merchant Brock (who has endeavored all his time to his case). Leni is of course, like all women that move in the boundaries, specially well learned in the mysteries of the Tribunal: her affection of those that are under trial, and whose guilt is wholly assumed by the powers that be (the spirit that manifests as the Law) cannot be taken lightly, it is an instinctive reaction to an energetical transformation under way. Writes Calasso:
It has been suggested that the "procedure" in itself, with its aspects that go beyond the capability of the intellect, has the power to make prey of the physical aspect of the indicted, like the alchemical opus over the prima materia. The process [the trial] in a judiciary sense is as a process in a generic sense, in the course of which a determined matter is transformed. This matter is the indicted. Guilt seems to be the original state o matter. As the procedure increases its effect on the life of the indicted, the more he becomes attractive and the more one can suppose his guilt is heavy. Maturity, perfection of attraction, beauty is that télos that means also the end, the capital punishment: death. It can be supposed that in that moment the attractive of the indicted is uncanny.
In Stendhal's novel Red and Black, the napoleonic hero's quest to win the love of Mathilde La Mole and break through the stuck-up social hierarchy is enhanced by his sentence to death. This sentence, even though he is of vulgar blood, makes him all of the sudden worthy and noble, it casts him upon a different light, and brings forth a passion that in its core fuses erotic desire with death. Miss La Mole becomes enthralled by a wild streak that all of Julien Sorel's intellectual cunning could never unleash.
A couple of months ago, Amanda Know, the american student who was found guilty (although later acquitted) of murdering a british student in Italy, made Maxim's 100 sexiest women of 2012 list. I have to think of the attraction of the guilty explored in Kafka's meandering consciousness in this context. Amand Knox, at first instance one might adhere her attraction to innocence, to being a young woman, barely out of her teens, exposed to the media and the high lights; but a careful look reveals that her attractiveness is provoked by guilt --or a least the assumption of guilt. Lolita is irresistibly sexy because she dares to transgress the limits of innocence: she is the essence of a guilty pleasure. The iconic image of sexy-ness that advertisement has sold us, is a pop render of the mythic image of Eve in the garden, naked, enwrapped or entranced by the snake, biting at the fruit. Eve becomes a supermodel of luscious guilt.
One can think that guilt is sexually attractive because it disturbs moral order, in a culture that casts repressive structures and stigmatizes unbridled sexual behavior. As in Herman Hesse's character Demian, guilt is a sort of mystic rebellion, the sign of Cain, a third eye open to a dark current of sexual energy. But in Kafka's terms guilt is only the result of being born to die. In the consciousness of death there is a certain beauty ("death makes us grow wings where we had shoulders", wrote Jim Morrison), as death dawns, in its alchemical process, in the trial of our acts (the reckoning of our karma) women, as symbol of earth and of the realm of the senses, can perceive the moving sea of this eros: the eternal dissolution. The guilty become attractive because they become possessed, many at times still in their youth --thus performing a paradox of vitality and decay-- by the heightened awareness of death, and they are closer to that deep reverse orgasm of the body.