entrevista com Diário de Notícias
Isto é uma entrevista que dei ao Diário de Notícias de 22/5/10… não é fácil ler o artigo assim, mas o texto também está aqui… As fotos foram tiradas num daqueles dias de chuva em maio – e estava muito frio – deve ser por isso que parece que tenho uma cara de enterro… *sorriso*
(edited text courtesy of Daniel Cardoso)
29 Replies to “entrevista com Diário de Notícias”
Ah, but to say that he discovered the subconscious would be to say that it is as objective as, say, an atom or a stone. And then you bump into a gigantic problem: yes, it’s true that there are mythologies everywhere, but it’s not true that they’re all the same, and even when you get to explaining the similarities between them, you fail at explaining the differences. All those universal taboos Freud mentioned are highly disputable, and anthropological research has been constantly showing how non-universal (and therefore non-objective) the Freudian subject is. Freud told or came up with a tale to explain the world, and the self in the world – by doing so, he created that self. If identity is fictional, then the self that constitutes it is fictional, and thusly not amenable to objectifying analysis.
Amongst other things, that book does a critical historiography of psychology and all the other psy disciplines, showing how they have established themselves as one of the main tools for the creation of individuals; really interesting (and really foucauldian too *grin*).
The existence of the subconscious may not be as objective as a stone, but, arguably, as objective as an atom – the existence of which can be inferred – though it can’t really be ’seen’… There is much that has been considered objective that has been proved to be, at best, provisional…
I think Jung and, after him, Joseph Campbell, make a good case for the universality of mythology and thus a strong argument for the existence of the subconscious. I would argue that mythologies are all the same – at least on the level of symbols – and, perhaps more importantly, in that the level of symbols is universal. The differences seem to me to be window-dressing…
As for Freud’s taboos, I couldn’t give a hoot for those. There are parts of Freud that seem to me to make sense, and others that reflect his own obsessions and hangups. For example, I am not convinced at all about the primacy of sexuality. I claimed only that the subconscious exists, not some of the tottering towers of conjecture that some have built upon this. Besides, increasingly, experimental evidence is appearing that there are parts of our brains involved in executive functions that are not available to the conscious mind…
I’m afraid that I haven’t read enough Foucault to be able to comment on this issue of the creation of the individual…
*grin* I believe the atom is see-able, now…
But the universality of mythologies and the objectiveness of a specific configuration of conscience/subject is a total non sequitur. Yes, there are symbols everywhere, we’re symbolic as a species. But that universality speaks more about similar issues and problems to be solved (and all religion is an attempt at problem-solving) rather than a specific structure that is impossible to ascertain.
How to explain the difference between Buddhism and hedonism? How to explain the different conceptions of what it is to be human, to be a person, if we are structurally all the same?
Check out the first paragraph of page 188, right here.
just knew that you were going to pick up on the atom *grin* In fact I don’t think it can be seen in any strict sense… We can see signs that it produces – using different frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum – but all we are actually ‘seeing’ is a region that contains what we infer it contains…
Jung didn’t consider it a non sequitur. It’s not just that the symbols are everywhere, it’s that the symbols are, in so many places and so many times, the same… Of course, the similarity of these symbols does come down to our common humanity – but it does seem to be clear that these symbols do not operate in the conscious mind – thus, they must operate elsewhere. There is much evidence to suggest that the conscious mind is only a portion of our mind. Everything from the experience – which no doubt you have had – of going to bed with a problem and waking up with the solution, to brain scans watching areas of the brain ‘lighting up’ when conscious is not present. As for the difference between Buddhism and hedonism: all kinds of dishes can be made with the same ingredients… As for your link: I’m not denying that we are partially formed by our external environment. I don’t see how this invalidates what rises up from within us…
Quoting from Wittig:
“There is no doubt that Lacan found in the unconscious the structures he said he found there, since he had previously put them there.”
Because of the academic background and the formal way in wich someone is trained in a second language, it just isn’t the same; although somehow I do seem to have a knack for it.
I was thinking exactly about the “salvation through suffering” part when I wrote the last comment. I see much more of an Aztec background on your take on “suffering” when it comes to gods, and shamanism also. There isn’t much contemplative restraint going on in the Stone Dance. Even the Wise are constantly and very hiperactively doing something to their bodies, even their ascesis is through manipulation (in the direct sense, through their homunculi) and ‘intoxication’.
Yes, I do dislike dualist systems: I’d rather there aren’t any other halves of me, otherwise I’ll always be found wanting, lacking, wounded from an anxiety that leads me into a quest by and for neediness. Dualist systems are inevitably reductionist. Following Georg Simmel, going from two to three or more elements in a social situation is highly relevant.
“knack” – you see… a word I can’t imagine most non-English speakers coming up with…
there is a lot of Mesoamerica in the Stone Dance, certainly the blood sacrifice – but don’t forget how much the Franciscans were amazed by how much the religion of the Aztecs resembled their Catholicism… The Wise perhaps resemble more the priests of the Canaanite Astarte, or those of Ishtar… who, of course, in many ways, they are…
a problem with Dualism – and there are many – is that it automatically sets up two armed camps, like the two sides in chess – this leading to exactly that situation in The Third God – inevitably… Of course, one interpretation of two becoming three are parents and their child – a very psychological interpretation, but then the Stone Dance is deeply a psychological work…
Thanks, then. All I know is that each time I go to London (for 2/3 days), when I do get back people here say that my accent is (even more) posh. I actually wish there were more occasions for me to speak English, which is something I do in an intersperced way with my partners and some of my friends…
Duality when it comes to parenting is one of the reasons why there are so many disfunctional families. Parents and/or “kids” not being able to let go, to be independent of each other when the time comes. And from then on, a slew of psychological phenomena ensues, and is then projected onto the social level. Governments and corporations are addressed as motherly of fatherly figures, which come to replace our real-life care-givers and provide a sense of security and belonging, where fear actually plays a big part.
I always wondered why is it that the Chosen needed such a detailed and laborous form of control, and reading TTG, I understood that their own actions from the distant past haunted them continuously, and so control was the way to deal with that anxiety. A way from preventing them from having the upper hand was through hubris. I just thought about it: hubris is a central concept in creating the Chosen, isn’t it?
I shall to listen to this posh English of yours sometime *grin*…
I wasn’t really using duality in the sense of the ‘nuclear’ family – but in the natural duality that there is in father and mother. I agree with you that children are healthier brought up by as wide a diversity of people as possible. I explore some of this in my books. Agree with your psychological analysis.
In some ways, the society of the Chosen is oedipus written on a massive scale. And, yes, hubris is a central concept in the Stone Dance – and it has a rather classical tragic structure (in a Greek sense) – to which the Greek mythological reference system somewhat points…
Well, last time I was sorta thinking about speaking in English, but not wanting to make a fool of myself, I stuck with Portuguese, to be on the safe side *grin*
But most if not all psychoanalytic theories are derived from the nuclear family. Freud et al. take the nuclear, heterosexual family and set it as grid of interpretation, a way to decode the subject (I shall refrain very intensely from refering Foucault again :P). That’s why I gave a concrete example and then moved on to empirical consequences on a macro-social level. Though obviously I can relate to what you’re saying.
My first contact with the concept of hubris was indeed when studying Greek theatre. And we all know the promiscuity between Greek theatre and psychoanalytic theories, don’t we? *wink wink*
These small details about those books as your personal form of therapy are always fascinating to me. It’s an écriture de soi: you wrote yourself so you could read yourself. And as a by-line, we all got to be amazed by your wonderful imagination/subconscious mind.
I would say that psychoanalysis links to Greek mythology (which Greek theatre contains much of)… On one level I would suggest that the ‘founding fathers’ of psychoanalysis were all classically educated – and so would reach naturally for two systems of imagery: the Bible and Greek/Roman mythology… Beyond this, though, there is that fact that Greek mythology, like all mythology, is essentially a direct product of the subconscious… no?
Indeed, but then psychoanalysis sets itself up as a lens through which we understand ourselves, it forms the language that builds our humanity. In a way, Freud invented the subconscious – not its definition, but its fundamental existence. The triadic division that psychoanalysis contains is in itself a mythology – a story that uses other stories to tell itself.
On a very much related note, I think you might enjoy reading this book: “Inventing our selves“, by Nikolas Rose.
I don’t think I would go as far as to say that Freud invented the subconscious – rather I would say that he discovered it – the existence of mythologies everywhere seem to prove that the subconscious has been a going concern for quite some time *grin*
If by triadic division you mean father-mother-child then I think I know what you’re getting at. I’m not sure I would agree that it IS a mythology, rather that it is subject to being mythologized… Seems to me that, from one specific point of view, it certainly is ‘real’ and that point of view is that of the child located at his/her corner of that triangle…
Your book recommendation does look interesting – I will give it a try, thanks
You may want not to publish this comment, but since I can’t help with translation right now, I thought you might appreciate some editing done to the post, since it’s already in Portuguese. 🙂 Hope you don’t mind.
Isto é uma entrevista que dei ao Diário de Notícias de 22/5/2… não é fácil ler o artigo assim, mas o texto também está aqui… As fotos foram tiradas num daqueles dias de chuva em maio – e estava muito frio – deve ser por isso que parece que tenho uma cara de enterro… *sorriso*
of course I don’t mind… but I’m not going to pretend I can write Portuguese as elegant as yours… and so I’ll use this, while making it obvious where it came from… thanks, Daniel :O)
My bad, I fubared the date (doesn’t end with 2010 as it should) and there’s an “I” missing from “Isto”. And thanks for crediting. With or without editing, I really do enjoy the extra effort you make to write in Portuguese.
I really want to move as close as I can to my readers – I try and write in Portuguese because I can, to some extent, as a sign of courtesy, and because I’m not assuming that all my Portuguese readers can read English – though Editorial Presença seems to think that they can… (I’ve made the corrections you suggest, thanks)
It’s collonalism, but with a linguistic twist *grin*
(In this case, submission to collonialism, by Presença)
ah, but is it true? Do most of my Portuguese readers understand English?
Students here get to have English as a possible language from the 5th grade onwards (now sooner, but still too flaky of an implementation).
So I would posit that many of your readers would have at least some understanding of English, though probably not the necessary one to read your books in their original language.
From what I can observe from being a University teacher, having been taught English and having learned it are two wildly different things.
But all in all, I don’t actually now how to respond to your question without any demographic data. Can we argue that the complexity of your books attracts mostly those whose IQ average/school grades/intellectual competence is higher? Then, the answer would be “yes”. But if this is false-to-facts and the demographics of your readers are within the average for the Portuguese population, then answer would lean towards “no”.
Anyone else care to comment on this?
I meant “I don’t actually know“. Damn the type-os that get through the spell check. -_-‘
now you’re just making me guilty about my ‘fuzzy logic’ approach to Portuguese spelling… *grin*
Guilty? Why should you be? Guilt is such a christian feeling, let go of it *grin*
In your effort I see concern and consideration. I applaud you for it. 🙂
not really guilty, just impressed by the clarity and accuracy of your English… As for Christianity, though I am an atheist, and not really brought up religiously, I drank in many aspects of Christianity ‘through my mother’s milk’… It’s obviously there as a foundational level in the Stone Dance…
Well, you can always take some time to notice some of the mistakes I make while typing, and my apparent inability to keep the linguistic level set at “conversational” rather than at “complicated” 😛
And although one would have to have been born and lived on the other side of the planet to diminish the influence of Christianity, let it also be said that it isn’t that much of an inventive religion… So while I can see why you say it’s there at a foundational level, your multicultural approach to world-building makes it much more detailed, refined and complex than, for instance, the first part of the Silmarillion, which is a partial copy/paste job from the Bible.
why is it complicated – because of your academic background?
the Christian influence is deeper than that – particularly such things as salvation through suffering and perhaps some notion of original sin… Still, you’re right, there are many other levels there – including many that are pagan – and others that are really rather modern in outlook – not to mention the influences from other cultures… I like your “copy/paste job” *wide grin* it is definitely one of the aspects of Tolkien that I grew to increasingly dislike: the Christian duality – black hat/ white hat – a duality that I expressly demolish in the Stone Dance – seeing it as just as pernicious a view as monotheism, that I also attempt to demolish… In this way I’m far more Moorcock’s ‘child’, than Tolkien’s… No doubt this plays right into your ‘poly’ philosophies :OP
I agree what most of what is being said here. The Stone Dance of the Chameleon, from what I can remember, didn’t initially attract much publicity. Which means that the people who bought and read the books, probably did it because they discovered them, mostly, by themselfs.
And due to the nature of the themes that are portrayed in the books, which aren’t typical of fantasy and don’t involve many of the elements that make it so popular, elfs, swordfights, magic, fantastical villains, I would also agree that they would attract people whose academic skills tend to be higher.
That being said, my best bet is that most of us, fans of the trilogy, do understand English. But there’s still a big difference, between understanding it and actually reading literature in English. I think I understand English pretty well, yet I bet that I would not enjoy reading the books in their original language.
“I am a creator of worlds!”
I know it does sound a tad pretentious – sort of setting myself up as a kind of anti-Shiva *grin* – but I was describing something that is technically accurate – I am at least as much a ‘creator of worlds’ as a writer – perhaps more so – that is what I spend a vast amount of my time doing… An alternative might be: “I am an explorer of invented worlds”…