In my case one can imagine three circles, an innermost one, A, then B, then C. The core A explains to B why this man must torment and mistrust himself, why he must renounce, why he must not live. (Was not Diogenes, for instance, gravely ill in this sense? Which of us would not have been happy under Alexander’s radiant gaze? But Diogenes frantically begged him to move out of the way of the sun. That tub was full of ghosts.) To C, the active man, no explanations are given, he is merely terribly ordered about by B; C acts under the most severe pressure, but more in fear that in understanding, he trusts, he believes, that A explains everything to B and that B has understood everything rightly.
Kafka (tr. Kaiser/Wilkins)
I don’t see this parable mentioned too often, but it portrays the most severe internalization of some of Kafka’s obsessions. Everything is internalized. But while we have A, the controlling deity who answers to no one (shades of Jaynes!) and C, the unknowing worker, who is this B? Is it Klamm or the Mayor from The Castle? The father in “The Judgment”? The academy of “Report to an Academy”? Karl, Huld, or Titorelli in The Trial?
Yet it is B that chooses not to share the knowledge B gains from A with C, the very knowledge that would assuage C’s fear, or at least temper it with some sense of duty, responsibility, necessity, anything. Or does B? C does not get to ask B that question. Maybe B cannot explain to C what C does not understand. Maybe B is mediating between two entities that speak incompatible languages: one of command, one of action. Maybe C does not have an option other than to act, and C’s dreams of explanation are meaningless and cannot be satisfied. C only waits for the next order. B’s barked commands may be the only thing that C can understand. B, the messenger and interpreter, can never be sure of being properly understood. And what then of A?
And why is it that we are inside of C’s mind, while B and A are opaque? Are we reading only in C’s language?