Does God care how we treat people
Dietmar Dath"One can responsibly deal with the intoxicant religion"
The basic idea of his novel: There are things between heaven and earth that cannot be explained. And yet people try to explain these things to themselves. If there are lower and higher forms of intelligent life forms on earth, why should there not also be higher intelligences than humans in the universe? Forms of intelligence that we do not understand and that could be called God? Dietmar Dath interweaves the individual fates of around 10 people and one person who is more than one person. An attempt to understand God or the divine.
Benedikt Schulz: Dietmar Dath, you once said in an interview that whenever it becomes a matter of principle for you, then you get into the story. Was it a matter of time before you wanted to talk about something as fundamental as religion?
Dietmar Dath: Well, first of all, I've always done it in reality - and it's only made explicit here. When you think of "Gun Weather", it is all about how the "Tower of Babel" parable, so to speak, can be carried over into the present. That means whether it is not conceivable that it was not the 'dear God' who confused our language, but that we confused the language of something that is bigger and stronger than ourselves - namely the whole world system, the social world system, in that we live. So that was a religious motif, so to speak, but turned inside out. And here I just roll it up again.
Schulz: Why is it better to talk about religion instead of philosophizing about it or writing treatises on religious studies if you like?
Dath: It's not better at all - I just can't. I am neither a studied theologian, nor do I know anything about doxology, nor do I know about the history of beliefs and beliefs. What I think I know about is how extraordinary characters react to extraordinary experiences under extraordinary circumstances. And if the core religious experiences that mysticism deals with, for example, are not extraordinary experiences, then I no longer know what world I live in.
Schulz: You see yourself as a political author. Is it a challenge to talk about religion so explicitly?
Dath: Well, a really political text deals with the human world, with the social world. And the human social world is not insignificantly shaped by what people tell themselves and what people believe. So at Christmas there are gifts. And there are different degrees of people who believe, because they are still children, that Santa Claus actually put it up, and of other people who want to celebrate Christian agape, i.e. the devoted love of their neighbor, to people who are kind of happy to get a new iPad. But this whole spectrum, so to speak, just interested me in this book because I actually don't believe that the simple classification works: People with religious ideas in mind are definitely somehow to be sorted on the right - and people who have no idea whatsoever about what is going on what they experience every day is definitely left or progressive or enlightened or something. That seems very questionable to me. I am quite familiar with a very cynical, pragmatic, this side-oriented, almost positivist idea of the right - let's say - from the business section of some newspapers. Conversely, it is clear to me that the early forms of socialism were of course messianic and that certain considerations are required, so to speak, that are very far removed from earthly life in order to even get the perspective of what then naturally has to be implemented in the second step and then where it is advisable to orientate yourself on what is available.
"You can understand religious people through simple empathy"
Schulz: Has your view of religion, religions, spirituality and so on changed?
Dath: Well, it has definitely changed me to deal with the characters over several years who, so to speak, have done the opposite of what one understands by research, with me. Research means that I can get a grip on an object by learning how to relate what is not yet known to what is known, by integrating into my existing knowledge corset what new data I get. On the contrary, things that I thought I knew seemed less plausible to me afterwards. Just as the core of meditation may consist of, for example, standing up and saying the name Theodor or the word Teller to yourself until one no longer finds it plausible that there is an object called a Teller or a person who was ever called Theodor. And you always thought you knew what it is, and now you realize there are still a few folds and tears and correspondences in it about things that you would have sorted elsewhere. In any case, that was an experience that I don't want to say in terms of plan and economy that it enriched me, but rather say that it changed me and actually hurt, damaged and remodeled me a little in a good way.
Schulz: That means, for example, that you can understand deeply religious people better than you could before?
Dath: Well, you can understand religious people through simple empathy. Everyone imagines things that, when explicitly stated, are almost religious-like. Like, for example, the so-called everyday superstition, if I can manage that now, then I will also succeed, although there is no relationship between them or anything. What I actually understand better: the idea of religious people, so to speak, of how the world works. That's a little different than understanding these people. If you just take it for granted, okay, there are some orders, commandments, whatever, you have to adhere to them, you understand that immediately. You just have to add up and say, okay, I can't see the person who issued the orders. But that can also be someone who is already dead or something. I don't find that so difficult to stand now. I actually find it harder to understand how, for example, one can live in a continuum between non-thinking and non-feeling up to more than we humans think, more than we humans feel. So when you say that the chair has no soul at all, maybe I have a little more soul and the 'dear God' only has soul or has all-soul. This is something that I promise to have played through, in any case allows me a different understanding of what, for example, language, thinking, feeling, loving, longing for something or someone and so on actually means.
Schulz: You are also acting out that, you just said that objects, solid objects, can possibly have some kind of spiritual properties. In your novel, if I have understood it correctly, intelligences are created or arise from ecological or social phenomena that have become so complex that it can form an intelligence and also make decisions on its own. For example the weather. Is God just a complex system, the complexity of which at some point, so to speak, allowed our own specific action, just as our biological brain can produce a thinking soul?
Dath: Two things. First, when you say the book claims that there are beings who and so on and so on - that's what people are saying. This is how the people in the book explain what they experience. I'm by no means committed to it, it's a little more dazzling, a little more problematic, so to speak. You can come to very different conclusions about that. But the other question you asked, namely, is God just a complex system that can process all the information you can imagine, I would answer with: What do you mean by 'just'? Is there, so to speak, an only that is everything at the same time? I don't know, but the fact is that religion postulates something like that, that there is such a just that is everything at the same time. So, for example, people in a way that is religious, which I like very much again - namely Spinoza, who said: Deus sive natura - God - translation - nature.
Schulz: One of your characters begins to understand the emergence and behavior - I will now simply call it the gods for the sake of simplicity - at the moment when she leaves out a limit of human imagination, she says, namely that time is always only linear into one Direction is going. And leaving out the usual barriers of thought - isn't that also the way to believe in the afterlife or, if you like, in a heaven or something similar?
Dath: So in fact one of the thinking barriers is experience. That means: What the farmer does not know, he does not eat. That definitely applies to the knowledge of everyday experience that we have. Indeed, if I can imagine other things, I can believe other things too. Only there I think again: there is a difference of necessary and sufficient condition. So it is necessary for me to imagine something, but that does not mean that I also believe in it. Proof: There are a lot of science fiction authors who have told much more plausible stories than the Church of Scientology, for example, believes and who nevertheless, although the stories were more plausible, did not fall into the trap of believing in them.
"If I already know what will come of it, then I'm a poor pig"
Schulz: Your novel also revolves around the question, or rather the problem: If there are gods, can one communicate with them or how do we understand God? Is that even something we should strive for?
Dath: The difference is that if I ask something of my fellow man and say that a power that is not accessible to you has commanded me to tell you that you have to do that, then I am the one with whom the buck is right lies. Then the other person may rightly ask me: Why should I believe you? So. Something completely different are the so-called mystical experiences. The moment when the penny falls, so to speak, is something completely different. I can hardly imagine that you can lead a life that questions yourself and that deals with art and that deals with possibilities instead of just with facts, without having any experience with the have to do what is called a mystical experience, i.e. without having moments in life where you say, wait a minute, this condition that I have always assumed is not like that at all or the world is much bigger, that The world is much smaller, the world is completely different. And for me that would be communicating, so to speak, with that which goes beyond me, that one should strive for, and that any communication should be continued with an open mind. That means, if I already know what's going to happen in advance, then I'm a poor pig.
Schulz: We still have to talk about the evil. All religions have dealt with evil in some way. If gods are indeed complex systems who have learned to think in some way ... And an example you mention is the international financial market, of such a complex system thinking. Can such a being be evil or good at all?
Dath: Bad or good in a way that is amenable to evaluation, I would say people are initially. So - a bad hurricane - well. But I think in connection with higher degrees of organization, higher beings, higher powers, higher - yes - excuses sometimes too - I think that if you ask me about the most general definition of evil that plays a role in this book, then it is actually that Sentence: I only followed orders, or: What should I have done? That means relinquishing responsibility for something - even if it is possible to prove that it exists - of which it is claimed that it did it for me - I think that is - if not sufficient, then at least that necessary condition for what I call evil.
Schulz: There is a journalist in the book whose name happens to be Dietmar Dath, and at the end you make him think a central sentence - namely: "These people and people like them are the only hope a person needs." He speaks of friends. Is it that easy? We need good people, friends around us. No hope of immortality, of a meaning in life, of anything beyond?
Dath: No, it's not that they have no hope of anything. Because the people he says are the only hope are at the same time people, as this section of this book says, who do something on many different fronts to ensure that it doesn't stay as shit as it does is. That means, what you need are other people who make you feel like you're not the only one who says you can do better than it is now.
Schulz: That means you need people and not God?
Dath: I don't know if that's a contradiction. So I don't know whether whoever needs people can also need a God. I mean, there are people who need people and heavy metal records at the same time. There are people who need people and drugs at the same time. So, so to speak, if Marx is right and it is opium, then you can say yes, only a dogged Puritan would say that it must automatically be forbidden because it is opium. One can certainly strive for a responsible use of intoxicants. So, I see this contrast, you get along with people and you get along with gods - whether they exist or not - not so central. But I do see a contrast between people who say that the most important thing is what nobody can see, and what you can see, I submit to it. And I definitely take other people who say what you can see seriously, because what you can see include other people. And when I act shit to them, I hurt people and I don't want that.
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