When I was very young, there was a very large temple near my home. For a while, whenever I played in front of the door, I could hear the sound of chanting from that temple, sometimes distant and sometimes approaching. At the beginning, I could still hear that a large number of monks were chanting sutras following the Buddhist music. The whole was relatively neat, but there were occasional noises in some places, which made it seem both approaching and far away. Later, the sound of machine chanting resounded through the temple cast by modern society, and also covered the roads where I lived. Near and far disappeared, and the sound became average. In a homogeneous state, I felt the faint chaotic state, and for the first time touched the subtle elasticity of the same thing due to the different ways of sounding. It was also in such a somewhat unique but common switch that I gradually grew up, left everything around that temple, left that county town, and moved to a new city in a physical way , and gradually live “there” into a state, as if from the beginning to the end as a whole. Later, the feeling of being near and far was forgotten by me. I also seem to be in the long-term and long-term average, forgetting everything near or far in life experience. It is as if, instead of entering the world of caring, one is covered by the one and only world.
I don’t know what the world looks like in Kafka’s eyes. But anyone who knows a little bit about Kafka knows that he wrote some novels many times. Even so, Kafka does not seem to feel fully written. He made no secret of his own inaccuracies. In some collections of Kafka’s novels available on the market, you can see several writings of Kafka under the same title. This makes some of his novels, which still seem to be left only in process. How far to go into a world of concern – Kafka is probably best suited to answer. “When the Great Wall of China Was Built” wrote about the China that Kafka never visited, but touched the world that many writers never visited, so far away and so close. In this kind of reading experience, I returned to the chaotic scene of my childhood, and gradually reopened the subtle elasticity in my heart. With the writing of an outstanding writer, the covered world can be opened, and thousands of roads hover in front of us. We may not be able to set foot on it, and we are not able to set foot on it, but Kafka walked it for us. Therefore, we can probably use this novel to try to tell the journey in the work, try to describe how to face and understand the world we care about.
At the beginning of the novel, Kafka writes that “the northernmost end of the Great Wall of China has been completed”. The starting point of the narrative is the same as the title of the novel, starting in the middle. Unlike many novels that seem to fit together seamlessly, Kafka seems to be committed to constructing a world full of gaps from the very beginning—”But after the two sections of the city wall are closed, instead of continuing to build at the end of the thousand-meter city wall, migrant workers Instead, they were sent to completely irrelevant places. This naturally left many large gaps, which could only be filled gradually and slowly, some even after the entire project was declared complete.” However, Such a construction method full of loopholes is the only construction method of the Great Wall. “The Great Wall should provide defense for hundreds or even thousands of years in the future, so the most careful construction, the use of the architectural wisdom of all previous eras and nations, and the sense of personal responsibility always cherished by the workers who built the city are the indispensable prerequisites for the entire project”, Even “just commanding four migrant workers requires a person who has a brain and has studied the construction industry.” The beginning of the novel seems to present a situation—a lot of energy is spent to ensure the internal unity of the construction team, but this also increases the difficulty of building the Great Wall, but this difficulty is also something that must be considered and persisted in the process of building the Great Wall. This seemingly awkward speculative narration, in the following layered narrative, presents a clear and rich outline.
What kind of people are building the Great Wall? What kind of person can build the Great Wall? How was this huge team formed and how was it trained? Once the decision to build the Great Wall was made, the art of building became the most important subject, and many children were asked to practice the game of building the wall in school. Building the Great Wall, from a huge project, gradually decomposed into a mighty preparatory activity with the participation of the whole people, and gradually became the spirit of the times at that time. However, publicity and school education alone are not enough for the long journey of being cultivated. The greatest education comes from the unique screening function of time. Work didn’t start that fast, and everyone had to go through a long wait. Some once excellent people have gradually become idlers with great ideals in their long-term preparatory activities. Some people were screened across time and became team leaders. Even the masons at the lowest level are constantly thinking, moving to the spiritual high ground brick by brick, replacing those who were once excellent, and participating in this ideal project. The number of people required to build the Great Wall is very large, which determines that the team must have requirements for the sum of its spiritual energy, and the internal stratification must be very strict and strict. In other words, leaders and craftsmen who can enter different levels of engineering must have a mental level that matches the difficulty of their work.
Therefore, the novel points out that the way of cultivating talents and the division of labor of the engineering team are integrated, and even this is what a country looks like inside. We also know why the Great Wall needs to be built in sections. This not only considered the operability of the project, but also considered the mental difficulty of the construction workers. Because not every group of workers, their position and their mental level just match each other, and more people have a certain mental strength, but they can only do relatively basic work. For these people, it is very difficult to get them to obey their work. They have to work hard day after day in a desolate place, and then walk a long way back to their hometown to re-accept the influence of the country’s vast landforms and landscapes, and then calm down again, accumulating strength for the next work. All the seemingly unreasonable transfers before were condensed into the best arrangement under cheers.
At this point, the novel seems to be able to temporarily say goodbye to the question of why the Great Wall was “built in sections”, but Kafka seems far from satisfied. Kafka wrote sharply, “Man’s nature is actually reckless, nature is like flying dust, can’t bear the bondage; if he puts the shackles on himself, he will frantically pull the chains, throw the city walls, The chains and themselves are torn apart, and thrown in all directions.”
As soon as the plan to build the Great Wall was established, one of the hidden characters in the novel, the “decision-making layer”, appeared as if shrouded in the holy light of the gods. Kafka wrote, “It is possible that these ideas, which were not even compatible with the construction of the Great Wall, were taken into account by the decision-makers when they decided to build them in sections. We – and I speak here probably in the name of many – are in fact It is only when we ponder the directives of the highest leaders that we get to know ourselves, and that without the decision-makers we do not have the knowledge and insight to qualify us for the small positions we have taken up in the whole great project.” Unlike many writers who explore the structure of novels and formulate narrative methods, the composition of Kafka’s novels always comes from the corresponding mental levels in the text. It was not until this kind of mind was pushed to a high ground that the main characters of the novel appeared inadvertently, such as the “decision-making layer” in this novel.
If the novel is then deduced forward according to the thinking of the decision-making layer, the narrative time presented in each reversal will become faster and faster, and our reading will become more and more exciting. But when Kafka changed his pen, he launched many rethinkings on the thinking of the decision-making level, that is, how ordinary people think about the thinking of the decision-making level. Kafka once again demonstrated his careful calculus that the average man can think only so much as he can—”one can talk about this today perhaps without much risk. At that time many people, even the best The secret principle of man is to comprehend instructions from above as best he can, but only so far that he must stop thinking.”
In this way, it seems that the internal outline of the Great Wall project has been basically clearly understood. The novel finally gets to the essential question—the purpose of building the Great Wall is to resist the northern peoples, but what kind of people are the northern peoples? Kafka obviously did not have the desire to localize the war, because it would inevitably bring disputes. What he wanted to talk about was the long-term impact of the war. The country is boundless, and not everyone who lives in the village can see the northern peoples, so why do they have to stay away from home, go to distant places to receive education, and their thoughts fly further north to the Great Wall? In other words, what does such a significant historical moment have to do with ordinary people? The novel boldly puts forward conjectures, “The fact is that the decision-makers have probably been around since ancient times, and so is the decision to build the Great Wall. The innocent northern peoples thought that the city was built because of them. The innocent emperor thought that the city was built by him. The will of the city. We who built the city knew it was not like this, but we kept silent.” The “decision-making layer” quickly evolved into the “emperor” and became a very familiar existence for all people who have knowledge of history.
As Chinese in the real world, we already know from history that there were indeed invasions by northern nomads, and we can also know the structure of the ancient Chinese social system. But for many Chinese people in ancient times, whether the northern peoples really existed or not, they were like symbols, because they were not so easy to see, just like the “emperor” was almost invisible—”no matter In every way imperial institutions belong to our most ambiguous institutions.” In addition to the gods that each local may worship, the thoughts of local people always revolve around imaginary emperors. But the novel quickly pointed out that what the people imagined may not be the current emperor. They may think of the current emperor because of some emperor’s deeds, but they lack knowledge of the real emperor-“The emperor himself is of course tall because he owns all the buildings in the world. However, the living emperor is just like us. A man, who, like us, lies on a sofa-bed, which is wide, it is true, but which may be narrow and short.”
Regardless of the level of knowledge and mentality, it seems that the structure of an ancient country determines that there is a vast ocean between ordinary people and the emperor. This is not only the way to the palace, but also the way from the palace to the people. A tight structure encloses layers upon layers of people, not just certain people, but people at every level, and even everyone. The envoy who received the emperor’s dying decree wanted to convey the decree for the emperor, and even if he broke through the palace gates (although this may not be possible), “there is still the entire capital in front of him, the world The center is densely populated with the dregs of the bottom of society. No one can rush out of here, let alone carry the decree of a dead person. But when evening falls, you sit at your window , dreaming of this decree”. At this point, the novel can probably end. We seem to have seen the whole picture of the operation of an ancient country, but Kafka still doesn’t want to do it.
He pointed out very clearly that “the emperor who has long been dead is considered to be still in power in our villages, but the emperor who only lives in songs has not long ago sent an edict, which was read by the priest on the altar” , “Finally one day, when the villagers heard how a queen sucked her husband’s blood thousands of years ago, they couldn’t help crying.”
In the last few paragraphs of the novel, Kafka is almost blunt, “This is how the people treated the rulers of the past, but they confuse the current monarchs with the dead.” Beggars who shuttled to neighboring provinces carried leaflets close to the ancient text. The whole novel goes from the workers who built the Great Wall to the decision-makers, and then from the decision-makers to the emperors, and then history spreads evenly on top of everyone’s heads. Under Kafka’s gaze, it seems that everyone is in his rightful place, repeating similar fate almost cyclically, and the sober understanding in the novel does not contain any criticism of anyone. Kafka only provides judgments on facts, and sternly and responsibly cites many examples. The “I” in the article uses his personal experience to enrich the speculative statement, making the deduction more full and rich, and slowly blowing the almost cold dark gray cloud from the bottom of the human heart into transparency.
The diversity and depth of mind determine what kind of job and responsibility a person takes on in the world. People who are at a high place can’t really go to the seemingly sinking, wider folk. Among them, there are many human laws that need to be overcome. It is a system and order that is a mixture of human beings and nature, and ultimately constrains everyone in it. This seemingly average running trajectory seems to imply the limitation of human beings and the eternal barrier between each other. But Kafka was quick to write that “if anyone wishes to conclude from these phenomena that we have in fact no emperor at all, he is not far from the truth”. The so-called sky is high and the emperor is far away, it seems that the world just keeps returning, and we can only return to the basic understanding of the secular world established long ago, and return to the familiar chaos. It even seems that the operating framework of the world analyzed layer by layer in the novel begins to disintegrate, because people on each layer only see the things they care about through their own layer, and their eyes are flat, without sinking or rising Therefore, I am becoming more and more good at covering many doubts with my inherent understanding of the world. Those who are far away from the emperor may be the most loyal to the emperor. The capital seems to be a parallel time and space far away from his own life. Kafka: “We hold these views, and as a result our lives are quite free and unrestricted. But this is not immoral.—However, it is a life that is not governed by any existing laws, but obeys only the The admonitions passed down to us from ancient times.” Is it to let everyone know the life information that is temporarily hidden from them? Is it necessary to bring the emperor before his subjects so that they can understand the empire in which they live? Kafka draws his scathing conclusion – it can’t be, and it shouldn’t even be.
A world where everything is clear is like a pavilion built by a skilled craftsman. It seems to be clearly displayed, but it is actually precise and rigorous. A wise person will see that all boundaries are also connections, and will see the truth of each era from the few words of history. Those clarity that seem to have only a sharp outline, are only attractive to those who like to imagine a wonderful thin world. And a seemingly chaotic world is the world we really live in. It seems that what Kafka, who stands on a high ground, really wants to state may be an extremely objective historical logic. All the lives and fates that seem to be full of gaps are shared by all. A man whose eyes are on high sees the world folded together. All clarity must be unfolded in layers of incomparable clarity in chaos, only in this sense, chaos is clarity. At the end of the novel, Kafka still seems to have a lot to say. Perhaps the logic of history still contains the secret language about human history that is overflowing infinitely, and a new novel needs to be told again. Therefore, the whole novel seems to return to the beginning, the Great Wall under construction is still not completed, it is only partially completed. And what we saw in “When the Great Wall of China was Built” was never the whole picture of the Great Wall, but a seemingly lonely wall, as one of the parts of the vast land, standing tall in a long and deep background.