by Eddie Jaku Pan Macmillan, Sydney Hardcover: 208 pages Price: AUD$32.99 Reviewed by Michael E. Daniel
“Kafkaesque” refers to situations of nightmarish alienation and confusion caused by inhuman bureaucracies and the powerlessness of the individual caught up in something they do not understand. Especially Kafkaesque are those instances in which the authorities use heavy-handed means to enforce ill-defined and seemingly incoherent laws, “supported” by sectors of the community cheerleading draconian crackdowns and informing on their fellow citizens. Franz Kafka’s own work, however, is more than this. Indeed, Kafka is existentialist and absurdist, Dostoyevskyan in his appreciation of the cruelty and inscrutability of existence, and wrestling, like Job, with the meaning of it all. But, unlike Job, Kafka doesn’t have the Most High popping down for a chat – a chat that may make Job feel better but doesn’t really explain anything.
What is the “Modern Mind”? And is it the most formidable opposition to the Catholic Faith? Certainly, that is how Hilaire Belloc described it in his book, Survivals and New Arrivals, when he wrote over 100 years ago about the then current attacks on the Faith and the likely trends. Was he right, and has it trended all these years later to an even greater danger to the Faith? Like most definitions, it is easier to describe the “Modern Mind” than define it. And in doing this I confine myself to Australia, unlike Belloc who examined its existence in a number of countries.