Category Archives: extracts

On Bucking the System

. . . almost every defendant, even the most simple-minded among them, starts thinking up suggestions for improvement from the moment the trial starts, and in doing so often wastes time and energy that would be better spent in other ways. The only proper approach is to learn to accept existing conditions. Even if it were possible to improve specific details–which, however, is merely an absurd superstition–one would have at best achieved something for future cases, while in the process damaging oneself immeasurably by having attracted the attention of an always vengeful bureaucracy. Just don’t attract attention! Keep calm, no matter how much it seems counter to good sense. Try to realize that this vast judicial organism remains, so to speak, in a state of eternal equilibrium, and that if you change something on your own where you are, you can cut the ground out from your own feet and fall, while the vast organism easily compensates for the minor disturbance at some other spot–after all, everything is interconnected–and remains unchanged, if not, which is likely, even more resolute, more vigilant, more severe, more malicious. One should leave the task to the lawyers, instead of interfering with them.

— Franz Kafka, The Trial