Word Count: 531
Position Paper on the Relationship between Fiction and the Government of the People
I fully agree with Liang Qichao’s opinion that works of fiction shape a nation (Qichao 74). Man’s nature to envision a world beyond his own makes him particularly susceptible to be crafted and altered in thinking by works of fiction (Qichao 75). Moreover, our own inability to fully explain what it is we feel and our thoughts on the feelings themselves, we are poised to like works of fiction that align perfectly with our inner thoughts. Fiction therefore gives a form of expression to what we cannot say (Qichao 76).
Qichao goes ahead to elaborate on the four powers of fiction as ways to influence man’s ways.
- Thurification is explained as being the ability of works of fiction to completely envelope a person’s mind eventually changing how they think. This effect is spread to the masses when more people read these works and are constantly thurified by it (Qichao 76).
- Immersion: engrossing an audience so deeply that they are absorbed into it. The longer a person is exposed to some material, the more they are influenced by it. Immersion works in this way to change its readers with time (Qichao,77).
- Stimulation: invoking uncontrollable feelings within the audience immediately they read the works. If a person is more sensitive, they are more easily affected by stimulation. The reader is however aware of the change, contrary to immersion and thurification (Qichao 77).
- Lifting is the fourth power. It works differently from the others in that it does not affect the audience from the outside in, but, is rather a feeling of inner transformation emanating outwards. The audience is able to relate with characters in these works in such a way that they transcend their own lives becoming the characters (Qichao 78).
Any writer possessing these four powers is so powerful that they can benefit or curse the masses as evident in their ability to transform the minds of men. The works of fiction, as numerous as they are, have influenced all nationalities and so most of the current social norms and ideals can be traced back to them. Even if one could argue that not all of us read these novels but they are indirectly influenced by them. Since these works of fiction, from birth, have already molded the entire society these altered social mannerisms are still contracted (Qichao 79).
The Chinese people have been negatively affected by fiction. Superstitious practices emanating from works of fiction are still being practiced today (Qichao 79). Additionally, positive virtues are neglected in favor of ambition. People are now more selfishly driven towards getting honor and rank. The youth are now more occupied by deep feelings pushing them towards immorality thus infecting the entire society. Fiction has caused some political disasters by influencing to act against their nation in favor of their own ambition (Qichao 80).
The article has not lost its meaning in translation as it still communicates the author’s ideas on fiction. Fiction has been portrayed, as a powerful tool in the shaping of society. As such, any attempts to change society must begin with changing the fiction.
Liang, Qichao. On The Relationship Between Fiction And The Government Of The People. 1st ed. Print.