Perfection of this world lies in its imperfection
Interview with the writer Radovan Brenkus (Touches 2008/3)
P. H.: Today’s world appears to me like a pot of water just before boiling. Don’t you have this feeling, too? Isn’t something hanging in the air? If yes, what is it? What can in the nearest decades happen in this huge pot? Who and what will be boiled in it? What will be the Slovak taste of the soup?
R. B.: Not only me, but major part of the society has the feeling that the Sword of Damocles is hanging above us. It does not present anything abstract – powerlessness, downtrodden dignity, loss of moral values, violence and several other negative phenomena, all these express the behaviour and action of concrete people embodying the social relations. And these are the direct consequences of economic mechanisms of the society. Politicians will hardly change them in the nearest decades, so I assume that such situation will, along with reforms, persist longer. Problems can be only solved by more effective ways of obtaining the financial means and more economic redistribution of the wealth. I remain to be an optimist in these questions, I believe that by entrance to the euro zone, the situation in our country will keep improving, although not everyone will benefit from it in the adequate degree. Globalization will cook a lot of mortals in its pot and I can’t prevent the individual executions. It’s about the repeating antinomy in basic sociological considerations. What is better, rule of the strong average that, sometimes composed of amorphous individuals installed by the capital owners and mediocracy, will finally subjugate the others to the slave, feudal or capitalistic manner or system with the strong organization hierarchy where finally any kind of individualism will be suppressed like in the anthill? Both solutions lead to the same result – to the dictatorships by the form of various kinds of pseudo-democracies. Democracy itself does not exist, each is autocratic. Although the whole history is the fight of antagonistic forces not requiring the first or the second model of the society, their movement finally alternates the power of some towards the others. About anarchy, we know a good deal. Religion, philosophy and works of art remain the spiritual and saving escape for us. Animals can perform the most beautiful dance figures, but for them, dance does not have the sense of ballet. I expect that the Slovak taste of the soup will not be so bitter. Countries in the European Union will certainly preserve their national identity, language and history, although the concepts of the single European culture, according to which the trend of common history will be created, already exist.
Do we create in order not to be smothered by nothingness?
Interview with the writer, literary critic and editor Radovan BRENKUS (Book Revue 2007/21)
Some kind of fascination by mysticism emerges from titles of your works. Is thinking about afterlife important for you? Don’t you feel in this topic an excessive return to Werther’s romanticism?
No, because the theme of afterlife seems to be too remote from the character of Werther, but neither he could avoid considerations about death. In his case, Goethe chose the theme of unrequited love to Lotte, when not only Werther must, because of his nature, die tragically. Basic feelings of futility, which can’t be avoided by any young man in each period, make him an "eternal" character. On the basis of your question I have just realized certain parallel with the short story On the Other Side, where Paul also dies tragically for his unrequited love to Verona. However, similarity is external. Story with ending has another basis, it deals with other matters and by preferring the theme of afterlife Paul, in contrast to Werther, dies happily. Classical literature develops, so the communication with the past can’t be at least avoided from the point of view of collective consciousness. Question is whether the concrete return in literature is the repetition of written or whether it brings an original view. This difficult task remains on the shoulders of literary scientists. Therefore I don’t afford to claim that there is a return to romanticism in my themes, at the same time I, as the author, also can’t agree with some kind of exaggerated return. If I were convinced of it, I wouldn’t release any book to the public. If conflict between desires and reality is considered as one of the fundamental sings of literary romanticism, I don’t exclude that my production includes such an element. But I’m not competent to evaluate own production. Of course, thinking about afterlife is in my opinion useless for the practical life. On the other hand, I realize that we are not here in order to satisfy only own basic needs. In contrast to animals, we are searching for own meaning and in certain phase, afterlife becomes a part of important ethical issues.
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