In Kafka’s unfinished story The Burrow, an unidentified subterranean creature struggles while digging in a burrow, constantly engulfed in anxiety for potential intruders. His obsessive anxiety starts to be materialised in his hearing of a noise everywhere and at constant intensity. Incessantly speculating the cause of this noise, his dreadful imagination first finds it as a swarm of small fries, eventually growing into a single gigantic monster threatening his burrow, as if desiring an irresistible entity that goes beyond the idea of the individual.
Inspired by this story of a creature suffocating from his lonesome effort of nesting, this paper discusses how an individual sensation of dread could potentially transcend to an ability to imagine social totality, drawing on the philosophical readings of Kafka’s other character Odradek by Benjamin and Adorno. I further argue that this process is aesthetic, correlating Freud’s idea of the uncanny with Adorno’s theory of aesthetic experience which examine the negotiation between individuation and socialisation in an experience of desubjectification. By sketching out the anxious hearing in The Burrow in reference to the disturbing seeing of object-creature Odradek, I discuss the feeling of dread that marks the transformation of individual entities into a transcendent social/collective being.