Even after a couple weeks of thinking about it, I still disagree with Kafka, and possibly all other Existentialists, that I would choose to be a courier over a King. I can only think about examples from my childhood when I choose to take the lead, or be recognized as the leader during games such as Emperor or Teacher. In all situations when I got chosen to be anything other than the leader, I neglected my duties.
When I look back at it though, as a child I didn’t quite understand the idea of an oath, or allegiance to someone. Playing a game like teacher just enhanced my feelings of resentment for the person chosen to be teacher rather than generate respect. This is definitely a good example of Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, in which he says people began to resent those with life-affirming values. Does that mean as a child, before I even became aware of the concept of ‘the herd’ I was a member? If so, then this definitely clarifies Kafka’s position of children naturally wanting to be couriers, as we really have no other choice. So why then, as I grew older, is it that I would prefer to be a King over courier? Is it my natural desire to break away from the herd, even though the herd is simply a self-imposed prison? Or perhaps, Nietzsche got it wrong, and there really isn’t such a thing as a life-affirming person. Essentially that means that man is doomed to fail then. Since eventually we “would like to put an end to this miserable life of [ours] but [we] dare not because of [our] oaths of service”, this quote from Kafka, pretty much sums up why life-affirming individuals have to exist from an atheistic existential viewpoint. If we are all just miserable couriers with no direction, what else do we have to live for?
This also explains why a King, or God, is a necessary construct for us humans to have. God allows us to be his couriers, which in turn, provides our life with meaning. Without a God, our messages are meaningless; therefore, the benefit to do more than grow old and die outweighs all other possibilities to make our jobs as couriers useful. This isn’t the life I want, and I believe that others wouldn’t want to live this way either.