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BORIS NAD: "The space of myth is, rather, a space of restlessness and searching"

Interview with Serbian author, artist and revolutionary thinker Boris Nad (2016 09 10), author of The Return of Myth (Manticore Press, 2016).

Mindaugas Peleckis
2016 m. Rugsėjo 10 d., 16:48
Skaityta: 239 k.
BORIS NAD: "The space of myth is, rather, a space of restlessness and searching"

These days mythology is often put in cathegories (especially, in the West) as something that is even not worth to investigate, kind of legends for children. I wouldn't agree with that, and it would be great to know Your opinion about mythology in general and Your main concepts that You wrote in Your book - first in native Serbian.

"The myth is not fiction, but timeless reality", wrote Mircea Eliade. Let me at this point to quote myself: "Myth, namely – except in special cases of extreme degradation and secularization of tradition and culture – for us, is not a fiction of primitive people, a superstition or a misunderstanding, but a very concise expression of the highest sacred truths and principles, which are "translated" to a specific language of earthly reality, to such an extent that is practically possible. The myth is sacral truth described by popular language."

Modern culture is based on demythologization, on a kind of exorcism of Sacred from the field of culture. Culture in the modern age is not only secular, but openly anti-sacral. In (post)modern era, culture loses its vertical dimension and any metaphysical perspective. It is, in fact, the denial of the Sacred. Myth withdraws and in its place steps history.

Sacred, of course, can not disappear. The same applies to the mythic forces. Ernst Juenger talked about the return of the mythical forces in historic world. They return, sometimes even violent, in one form or another, even in the form of pseudo-mythologies of modern times.

Anyway, the myth is not harmless, is not "naive", because it is hiding "dangerous intuitions". Dangerous, not by man, but by the (post) modern culture in which we live, and in which man is nothing more than the addition to the large technological systems or "economic animal". Here is man reduced to only one shallow, horizontal dimension. In myth and religion he becomes multidimensional, layered and full being.

There are many theories about early civilizations, a lot of gaps in researches of proto-languages, proto-civilizations, but a lot of archeological and linguistical evidence. Is it possible to have at least one strong theory who we were and who we are?  

In the book "The Return of Myth" there is a chapter titled as "Hyperborean myths". This is not a strictly scientific approach, although the scientific facts – archaeological, climatological, geological, linguistic, anthropological, mythological, etc. evidence – were very carefully considered.

It is, in fact, a profound intuition of our origins, which is based on legends, such as one conveyed by Herodotus  and many others. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, in his book The Arctic Home in the Vedas (1903), gives very convincing arguments in favour of the existence of our polar, arctic homeland. Aleksandar Dugin talks about "Hyperborean theory" or "Hyperborean revelation." However, this "theory" is not a proven scientific fact. After all, many insights preceded science or subsequently found their confirmation. But it should be noted that such facilities throughout history continually emerge into the light of day, in very different forms, even the form of scientific theories, which are sometimes accompanied by scientific evidence, and that it is a kind of hidden, secret flow of our tradition. They undoubtedly make our shared "collective unconsciousness" and belong to our ancient memory.

Either way, it is a very ancient heritage, which is shared by all Indo-European peoples, and not just them.

Hyperborea is, therefore, our metaphysical and spiritual centre, the land of the beginning and the starting point, our true spiritual homeland, which is yet to be rediscovered. Like the biblical Eden, it is the exact equivalent of the paradise, the original and ideal state.

Such a tradition is strongly expressed in Serbian literature, and represented by the authors such as Miloš Crnjanski (who wrote the novel "Hyperboreans") or Dragoš Kalajić, writer, painter and geopolitician, in many ways unique personality not only for the Serbian, but also the European culture.

Now we see various geopolitical shifts in the world – starting from Your native ex-Yugoslavia, in the Middle East etc. What do You think, is history somehow repeating itself?

History repeats itself, because the time is basically cyclical, but never repeats literally. There is, after all, something that might be called a "cynical spirit of history."

With the demolition of the Berlin Wall began deep geopolitical changes in the world, a real earthquake in the balance of power. It was the collapse of the bipolar equilibrium and the start of US world hegemony. To recall, these changes have begun with the war in the Persian Gulf and the war that followed in the '90s led in the Balkan, for the Yugoslav heritage.

Among the events in the former Yugoslavia and now in Syria or Iraq, there are obvious parallels. Behind them, too, are the same actors: the West, United States and its satellites and vassals, including the European Union. Then the West encouraged national and ethnic conflicts, guided by the age-old maxim "divide et impera". This was happening, and still is today, in the territory of the former Soviet Union as well.

Globalist utopia in the meantime turned into a bloody nightmare. An attempt to realise this utopia across the globe, was faced with a failure, and on the ruins of "One World" today emerges a multi polar world. Its origin is painful, as every birth.

Events are taking place today in the opposite direction. West weakens, and in its place new powers are coming, such as Russia, China, Iran, India... The era of Western hegemony is ending, and this fact is irrevocable. Dragon has not yet been killed, but it is wounded, and, presumably, deadly.

Chaos, instability, ethnic, class, racial and nationalist conflicts are now moving to the West. The European Union is falling apart, its perspective is a long-lasting civil war. The same is true for the United States.

Is this not an evidence that the presumed "spirit of history" really has a sense of cynical humour?

According to Your Facebook bio, You are a NSK citizen. Laibach recently made a great gig in Lithuania. What do You think about NSK and Laibach, which are the real phenomenons of postmodern world with their irony and sarcasm.

In fact, I am not a citizen of NSK, although I foster certain sympathies for this movement. I do not know what is the current status of the project "NSK State - State in Time". I am only a member of the Eurasian Artists Association, a very wide art movement, which, as much as I know,  have been already talked about on your site. This is a clearly enough defined concept for common action, and a flexible enough concept for individual projects. EAA also allows cooperation of very different artists, with results that are sometimes unexpected.

Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) was created in Slovenia, i.e. Yugoslavia, in the early '80s. But its real driving force was Laibach, a controversial art project, which has gone a long developmental path, which can be described as a path from provocation (but not superficial provocation) to the institution.

Laibach is, in my opinion, extremely inspiring artistic phenomenon. I have here in mind mainly their working method, based on eclecticism, which is depersonalised, and the use of language of politics and disturbing totalitarian contents.

I think it is really possible to talk about the similarity between their artistic concept and my literary work. It was first noticed by Rudolf Seitner. With a proviso: I prefer to use the mythical content, because the intrinsic and the deepest foundation of literature is in fact a myth.

What is the most important question that a modern scholar of mythology should ask himself?

There are only three important questions we ask ourselves: Who are we? Where did we come from? and Where are we going?
Science, as well as philosophy, despite earlier promises, can not give us the answers. Postmodern culture represses those questions, or ignore them. It is reduced to a spectacle of entertainment, to some kind of commercial activity or the trivia of everyday life. In essence, it acts as an anaesthetic or a projection of utopian fantasies of the masses.

The space of myth is, rather, a space of restlessness and searching. The search for the self, the identity, what we call the spiritual dimension of our existence. And that should be the space of art as well, especially literature.

Thank You.

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