THE LEMURS ARE COMING
Interview on the SF-Novel of Nold Egenter
By Lydia Frankenstein
Authors like Sartre, Camus and others hinted to the absurdity of the human existence by describing it. But you seem to have a scientifically researched theory on man, a kind of reliable anthropology at hand and you confront it with the actual reality. In this opposition the actual reality becomes absurd. Mr. Egenter, is this your principle, your motive for writing?
Yes, that is very well expressed. Compliments, I couldn't describe it better!
You are writing a novel, Science Fiction, I heard.
I have it in my mind, but not yet on the paper, unfortunately.
Did you write others before?
Not novels, only short stories. But their truth is so terrible that I am afraid of them myself. One e.g. is called 'Florian First'. Florian First is an artist who lives in a clinic. Manic depressive. He speaks for the last time with his psychiatrist before committing suicide . He has a tape-recorder in his pocket. The discussion is reconstructed after his death by his friend. The main point is: Florian First maintains that the whole world is crazy, he himself is the only one who is normal. In his session he explains the doctor his 'evolution theory of god', but, of course the psychiatrist doesn't really listen, thinks in diagnostic terms or about his career and his family. On the other hand the reader may come to the conclusion that Florian First might be right.
And this 'evolution-theory of God' is scientifically founded?
Of course Florian First is not a scientist. He speaks like an artist, jumps from one thing to another, makes bold allusions and analogies, but the theory he presents is simple and not at all new. He refers to the Fetish-theories of past centuries, Charles de Brosses etc.. They survived into the 19th, even 20th century with Wilhelm Mannhardt, James George Frazer and so on. But Florian First interprets it in a new way and applies it plausibly into our so called higher religions.
Now, what is your novel about?
Its original title in German is 'Die Koboldmaki kommen' which is much nicer than the English translation 'The Lemurs are coming', mainly because 'Kobold' in German is equivalent to goblin, imp. You know, the Lemurs, Tarsiformes with their scientific designation, these wonderful little animals living in the tropical jungles of Indonesia and Madagascar. You probably have seen a photo of them. A kind of teddy-bear. They have sweet little heads, small noses but immensely huge eyes because they move around at night. The essential point: they are among the lowest primates, evolutionary close to rodents like mice and rats. Rats, you know, if you put a couple together, within 10 years or so you have a population of some fifty trillions! Somebody once figured it out exactly. They reproduce 6 to 8 times a year. A tremendous reproduction!
W hy do you write this novel?
I think we need a new enlightenment. Our humanities are still in the middle-ages, they are fixed on history, whereas natural sciences and industrialisation develop absolutely off limits. It is now more than 100 years since Darwin stole the 'history of life' out of the Bible and reconstructed it systematically. But the humanities haven't learned anything of that. They still are widely fixed to the historical method and thus feed us with tremendous misconstructions. Prehistory! Archaeology! Built on the naive belief that what was important for the human past can be found by digging it out of the earth! What an illusion: what was really important just decayed. Creation of man decayed! Prehistory was soft, organic handicraft, including God! Our bloodthirsty prehistory of a primitive man, killing and butching for survival, is just a scientifically primitive legitimation of our modern progress! In short: we need a new anthropology where man himself is responsible for what he does. A new type of humanism, an ethical concept accepted by all, one which says what makes sense. It is too absurd today. Science and industries are motivated by illimited profit-thinking, economics as a kind of modern religion, on the other hand we delegate our responsibility to a totally irrational mix of stories: two-three thousand years and 15 millards. Absolutely incompatible. You can't explain the genesis of the cosmos with written history. With our taxes we keep up a salvation army at our so called universities which runs the mediaeval prayer-mill. Tremendous nonsense! The ideological motor of the papamobil and his worldwide missionaries.
So your novel is not really fiction?
I have been working for about 20 years on that. But a holistic theory on man runs against all these boxes called disciplines. If e.g. you become aware that religion was art and art religion, or that the relevant past was soft and rot away, how can you talk to these peoples? Professor still means one who professes, sort of con-fession, 'whose bread I eat whose song I sing', they all stick to their little box of what they think to be their knowledge. Nobody is competent in all the other fields. Nobody has a strategy. You need a strategy to get through all that written stuff! Therefore I chose the form of SF.
Can you give us some ideas of what it is about?
Not by case of course, it happens in the last year of this millennium. North- and South America were strategically wiped out. Burnt earth. A terrible accident called 'flying carpet'. I am not going to describe this here. Europe suffers from a horrible shock. The Americas suddenly wiped out. Shortly after New Year 1999 a small somehow strange report passes on the last page of many European newspapers. But nobody of course realises at that time what came out of that. The report says: (Irkutsk AP). On a routine control a construction worker yesterday found a small animal on a construction site about 3 miles north of the Siberian railway-line. He had never seen such an animal with such huge eyes and gave it to his former schoolteacher, Mr. Swerdlowsk, of whose hobby to stuff animals he knew from primary school-times. Mr. Swerdlowsk is a specialist in zoology quite popular in the region. He immediately could recognise the animal as a Lemur, but wondered greatly how it had come to icy Siberia. "The only plausible explanation" Mr. Swerdlowsk commented his find, "was that it fell or escaped of an animal transport of the Siberian railway which frequently transports animals from Japan to Europe.But it is very mysterious" he said "how could it move 3 miles north from where it escaped? Lemurs are tropical animals and the winter temperatures in Irkutsk are 10 to 20 degrees below zero“. The teacher sent the animal to Moscow where the case will be researched at the primatological institute of Moscow university.
Sounds very interesting.
This opens the dramatic line of events. The next step happens in a toilet of the historical museum of former East-Berlin where an anthropological congress is held. Dr. Stapfer, a young Swiss anthropologist unsuspectingly is doing his business in front of the urinal when a Russian colleague named Kalaschnikoff after anxiously looking around and securing his environment approaches him closely and in an excited voice says: "You read the news-report on Irkutsk? This was not a Lemur. Read my article in the new January number of the Moscow-Anthropologist. But read it between the lines, please."
Dr. Stapfer realises the dramatic context, leaves the congress immediately, flies back to Zurich, procures himself a translation of the paper. No drawings of the anatomical survey. Strange evasive language describing mysterious deformations of basically a Lemur skeleton, but hipbone and feet suggest upright position of the body, hands differ from Lemur scheme, dorsal part of head greatly enlarged, cerebrum greatly enlarged and the most astonishing thing: area of throat very complex. The report didn't give any interpretation. It was mysterious. It couldn't really be a new type of Lemurs unknown until now. The differences of the animal had strongly human traits. Was it the result of some genetic manipulation towards an artificial homunculus? Dr. Stapfer shuddered.
What did Dr. Stapfer do?
Nothing. It remained an insider-knowledge among both. What should they have done? Dr. Stapfer and Prof. Kalaschnikoff visited each other occasional and discussed the matter, but -after some deceiving meetings with some military experts -decided to keep the matter under cover. They only had this one example. Until the exterior dramatic line developed to an extent..
How did it develop?
The next step: a terrible famine broke out in Beijing. It puts
the urban centre of China into total distress. Upheavals,
social unrest, thousands died. Europe brings in food through
an air bridge. Nobody can explain how it started. A huge belt
of the farming population around Beijing just disappeared.
Millions of farmers! No signs where they went.
Just no explanations?
Later another dead Lemur is found a little more west of Irkutsk. It is also brought to Moscow and anatomically checked. The same result. But this time a strange object made of glassy fibres was found near the dead animal resembling a small arrow. Prof. Kalaschnikoff scratches the skin of a rat in his laboratory with the tip of the arrow. What a horror! The rat immediately turns into a large heap of foam. After some minutes the whole animal has dissolved into air, just simply disappeared. No bones are left, no traces of blood or other liquid. Only a tiny heap of teeth.
How should this be possible?
There is a similar sickness called 'Gas brand' in German. Parts of the body become foamy and dissolve. The arrow must have been infused with a highly refined type of bacteria or virus which immediately creates a kind of artificially developed sickness of the 'Gas brand' type.
What a horror story!
In a further step two living Lemurs are found, put into a cage and sent to Moscow. Late in the evening the guard of the laboratory notices that he has forgotten something, goes down to the lab and realises that the two animals are speaking together. He puts a tape close to them and leaves the place. In the morning the tape is listened to, and analysed, it sounds like Korean or Japanese, but one cannot understand what is spoken.
What language did they speak?
This comes out much later: they talk Japanese gangster-language. But we should follow the dramatic line. Two further events make the situation clear. A photographer and reporter of a French newspaper has been in the region around Beijing. He has surveyed the farming houses left by the population. He documents a terrible thing. On the ground inside or outside the houses he found small holes of about 10 to 15 cm in diameter and in the sleeping rooms he photographed tiny heaps of human teeth in the empty beds. This remained a mystery until Stapfer and Kalaschnikoff handed their documents to the press. Now the connection of the two events was evident. But the situation became really dramatic only when the earth near Prag collapsed and thousands of Lemurs were thrown on the surface. Now there was a terrible outcry throughout Europe: the Lemurs are coming. The Swiss were proud of their atomic securities. Many peoples started to sleep in their underground bunkers which they closed hermetically.
It was a war?
Yes suddenly many people realised that the world war III was silently under way. What contributed to the general terror in Europe was the fact that nobody was prepared. War had been so intrinsically been related with technology, with nuclear power, with rockets, star wars etc. But this was on a quite different level: an anthropological war! And what shocked many people: it was prepared in a way that nobody realised anything and even now where it was about to start there weren't any visible signs. All over Europe and Asia political institutions and economical relations functioned normally. An anthropological war, how was this possible?
Very strange, indeed!
It became absolutely clear, when a Korean-born Canadian brought photos he had made in the Japanese car-factory at the southern tip of Korea, near Pusan. He was travelling in the region for a journal on the development of Korean industry. The colourful pattern of cars lined up in the court of the factory had pleased his eyes, so he took some pictures. When looking at his pictures at home, he realised that the cars were unusually dirty. When he passed next time he looked more closely and realised that a small number of workers were busy to change the positions of always the same cars continuously. What further was strange: the hundreds of huge tubes that went into the mountains closely at the back of the huge factory. He became curious, bought himself cloths of the same type like those of the workers, made himself a hole somewhere into the fence and sneaked onto the grounds of the factory. He was shocked by the odour of urine and hay. At night he managed to get through a side door. It was terrible, a huge animal farm. He couldn't see it clearly, there was an unsupportable dust in the air, millions of rats seemed to circulate on several floors according to a strangely planned labyrinth. He avoided to use his flash but managed to take some photographs with infrared light. The pictures brought home showed it clearly: a group of upright standing Lemurs with huge eyes were about to train themselves into arrow shooting in a particular room. They shouted and laughed, talked loudly with each other. It looked like on a miniature military camp somewhere in the north: their natural furs provided the uniform!.
But what happened really in this factory?
Of course it was huge and the photographer had no chance to find out the whole process. This was understood only much later! But at that time the report contributed greatly to stir Europe up into an ambiance of tremendous alert.
What was done as countermeasure?
Parallel to this first dramatic line of events there is another, the second line, which responds to the first on the level of uppermost social strata. Stapfer tries to inform the military relatively early, that there is something going on. But they do not take him seriously. His concept is far out of their own perspective. They prefer to continue to talk about rockets etc. Only after the Prag-incident there are some discussions, but even then the military isn't really interested. Activity and countermeasure rather starts on the political level. The conservative parties don't want to get their economical networks endangered, they rather try to suppress the informations. But pressure comes from the left, from its press and from the street. In France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland socialist papers bring in more and more strange informations. They insist that potentially the whole North-Eurasian belt is densely packed with an army of trillions of Lemurs, anthropologically developed up to the human hunters and collectors stage and very expert in the use of their deadly weapons. Milliards of tons of foodstuff must have been transported and stored somewhere underground on strategical locations. It is however not known how they provide air and water to such an enormous mass of life under the earth's surface. The military suggests to bomb vast areas with nuclear weapons, but others are against this concept, saying that it is impossible to fight the situation with conventional technical strategies. Bombing would also destroy human settlements, would devastate the existential basis of humans. Others suggest to destroy the roots of the new war, the 'car factory' in South Korea, but this doesn't help much according to others. It is too late. The production of the army is practically completed. The Japanese government obviously has nothing to do with the affair, and denies continuously to be connected in any way with the affair. This is accepted by industrial circles in Europe, they say the whole affair is politically stirred up by the socialists. And really, it seems that it is rather a planned activity of a very small circle of persons, doubtless with some economic power. But more and more the suspicions gain ground, that the whole European continent is threatened from a huge system of underground 'pipelines' larger and smaller systems underneath and that here and there milliards of Lemurs are preparing for nightly attacks.
A terrible vision!
More and more the situation becomes dramatic. A European Security-Councel (ESC) is formed. Its first session was in Paris. It immediately set up the 'Urgent Countermeasures and Anthropological Research Program (UCARP, or CARP). Its main points were:
1) The ESC is responsible for the immediate organisation of a global reconnaissance and intelligence System (GRIS).
2) Any public financial support of private or public technical or industrial research is immediately stopped. All public financement goes immediately into CARP.
3) All public or private education institutions of the technical or industrial type at university level have to be closed down immediately. All facilities emptied will be taken over by the staff elected for the UCARP program.
4) All the disciplinary sections of the universities are dissolved. Natural sciences and humanities are regrouped under the one and central theme: what can they contribute for anthropological study of man?
Of course the rigid enforcement of this program shocked the whole European educations system. Thousands of well established scientists lost their jobs from one day to the other or were forced to rethink the purpose of their research fundamentally. For the rest, for the moment the population was asked to sleep in rooms tightened by iron plates at doors and windows. In rural areas it was recommended to place iron sheets on wooden floors.
No revolution of the professors?
At that time the indicators of a potential catastrophe were well established. The ESC had quite some power. Much pressure is put on Switzerland, ironically mainly because it was well prepared to face the feared dangers with its high density of private and public atomic bunkers. Further, the former Federal \pardInstitute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich was requisitioned in a military sense and made the centre of CARP and GRIS because of its central location in Europe, its efficient technical outfit and its strategically positive situation outside the city of Zurich. Switzerland of course felt very honoured, but demanded that - since most of the professors in the humanities had a high military training anyhow and occupied high positions in the Swiss Army - that its military structure would guarantee for efficiency and that the Swiss army uniform would become the standard for Swiss CARP/GRIS members. This was of course seen in a positive sense and guaranteed. Only the Parisian 'Canard Enchaine' several times made fun of the new Swiss Institute, mentioned it - particularly in relation with scandals coming up - as 'Carpette grise', meaning the little grey carp.
It didn't work?
Indeed, scandals were many. Because the new positions were paid tremendously well and were paired with international prestige, mainly those with the best elbows - instead of heads - got into the highest positions. A well known Swiss professor of Japanology hastily had become General, because there were indications that the situation had to do with Japan. With the same reasons Koreanists and Sinologists were quickly chosen and had become Brigadiers. Also, of course proud Theologists, Ethnologists, Historians, Art Historians, even Folklorists were lifted into military functions (note that the professions were now written with capital letters and interpreted in terms of military disciplines: these names suddenly acquired the military mystery. Thus Brigadier of Theology sounded like Brigadier of the Air-Force, or Brigadier of the Navy etc.). and as Switzerland traditionally is very generous in regard to its army, suddenly these Theologists, Art Historians and Japanologists who formerly had chewed dissertations with their students in the sober assistants rooms now had their villas at the goldcoast of Zurich, had several Mercedes with chauffeurs, public servants, bodyguards at their disposition etc. Their lives changed greatly. Further the former Federal Institute of Technology was now stuffed with fantastic telephone-systems, Tele-Fax, ED-Mailboxes etc., a tremendous communications system. They could now communicate with the whole world, send their directives to Embassies globally and became famous. Particularly the world-wide system of Swiss Embassies formed a worldwide system of Espionage and information. The first phase - as long as it remained based on worldwide Swiss-embassies which spoke Swiss languages - it worked quite well. It was found that the Japanese for about 20 years had made intensive research all over the world. Strange research. E.g. the Swiss embassy in Cairo informed the CARP/GRIS that they once came with a staff of more than 100 professors and students, photographed all the objects in the Museum of Cairo, went on to Karnak, and for one month photographed all what was available in the whole Nile-valley. Then disappeared. No publications came out of that. The same was the case in Iraq, Iran, Israel. They always came in large groups fitted with most modern instruments copied and photographed everything. It was mysterious. It first was thought that they concentrated on the Near East and that these cultural studies were cover ups for strategic research. But later Swiss embassies from various states of Africa, South- East Asia and even Australia recorded the same. Well instrumented groups of hundreds of obviously highly trained Japanese had come first to the cities, made visits here and there, brought expensive gifts to persons in high positions and then went into some countryside, studied villages into all details, asked the indigenous peoples thousands of questions which were immediately recorded on tape-recorders, noted into note-books and maps. Nobody really knew what their purpose was. They said they wanted to know how the peoples of the world were living. Nobody had anything against that, naturally. It was thought to be a merely cultural interest. They were classified like the religious missionaries who come in freely and help the peoples. Nobody realises that they fight a war, they too, to establish their godly empire all over the world. There was some astonishment though. Gradually it had come out that their studies were not merely culturally. They had sent similar groups to the well known international research stations of chimpanzees and gorillas in Africa as well as those in Sumatra and Borneo which were devoted to the study of Orang Utans. So the Japanese obviously were not merely interested in culture!
Could 'little grey carp' find out what this was all about?
Exactly that was the problem. They filled up tons of fax papers, an army of secretaries put them into a very expensive file systems, most of the informations were even provided with complex codes and fed into scanners, thus integrated into a data system. But the more informations came in the less they understood. One main problem was language. Most important hints came from local sources and were in local languages. E.g. it came out - and this was a big scandal - that the General was not able to read a letter in Japanese! His Japanese wife had written the books which had brought him into his position! Similarly the Brigadier of Sinology had two weeks to translate an A4 text that came in from China. He spent one week to provide his German translation with correct orthography: he had been a primary-school teacher before he learned Chinese and became professor. Thus with such difficulties really important informations from local observers or sympathisers remained unused, because there were no competent staffs. The humanity system had worked before with its mainly educational purposes, that is to say as long as there were students which sat there in the lectures with their mouths open, but now the situation was entirely different: there were facts which counted in a highly dramatical context! The same happened on all the other levels of humanistic disciplines. The ethnologists were trained in third world assistance before, or urban ethnology or had led endless discussions on social structure, of parental relations etc., now it showed they had no idea of any theories about man. The prehistorians were not prepared to explain why the Japanese obviously didn't care in digging and consequently said they couldn't be interested in human history. Folklorists were completely in lack of explanations when it came out that in many European libraries Japanese had stolen many important books on European folk traditions. When the Swiss embassy of India informed the CARP/GRIS that for one whole year large groups had visited all the Indian hill-tribes and studied their rituals, the Brigadier for Theology gave out a memorandum which tried to prove that the Japanese had chosen these places as resort areas for vacations. But this became ridiculous, because as it was proven later, also in Africa and South-East Asia and with the Australian aborigines, local rituals played an important part in the Japanese studies. In another case the hypothesis came up that the Japanese strategy had to do something with architecture, this too lead to a scandal. The section of history of art had organised a secret session to discuss, whether the Japanese creation of an artificial man had to do with some theories of art or architecture. Names like Herbert Read and Gottfried Semper stood on the program. But unfortunately the brigadier of architecture had no idea of architectural theory. It became obvious that he had managed himself into his position by writing a letter to the school during student unrest, saying that they should be punished properly and thus had become a professor. The same with the brigadier for architectural history, an art historian who for years had built up an institute for the theory and history of architecture. But it came out that he was competent only for the 19th century. It was a complete failure and the Germans, French and Italians realised that they had trusted Switzerland in vain. They had been blinded by its luxury facades, but in fact it was a kind of scientific banana-republic! The discussions at that time were the most dramatic situation during the whole conflict!
What happened then?
The Swiss people at their roots are very realistic. If it comes really to critical situations, a very old, archaic side comes out. They get terribly angry and they clear the table. That's what happened. They cleared the table of all the rotten filth and-they elected a wonderful young lady as general. A new type of Helvetia. She was terribly beautiful, incredibly joyful, horribly frank and extremely intelligent. And she had a wonderful name: Anastasia Max. She spoke, wrote and read fluently Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Malay and of course Indonesian. So she was THE person for the task. Further she spoke Russian, Polish, Tchech, Rumanian and Bulgarian, of course besides French, Italian, Spanish, English, and naturally German which was her mother language. 15 languages in all! Fantastic! Now this woman had not only a tremendous knowledge, she had also an incredible large and differentiated circle of friends: She had access to the most influential families around Zurich, further her charisma and her brilliant intelligence opened her many intellectual circles in and around the city. She immediately put away with the uniform-comedy, set up a staff of very young peoples together, she knew exactly where to place everybody, and everybody admired her. She organised sessions with the best peoples from left to right, led the discussions with tremendous brilliance, summarised long discussions in two sentences, hinted to problematic points, called those who really earned it idiots and ass holes in public, but nobody felt hurt.
An admirable woman, nearly a modern mythical figure!
Yes, some remarkable men even committed suicide. They had irrestibly fallen in love with her. But her most important thing was that she managed to integrate the fourth and thematically essential level of the novel, a very mysterious secret circle which was called the 'Adam's hut'. Many peoples feared them and they thought they were really free masons. They lived in a very strange and sinister place, one of the vallies industrialised from earliest times in Switzerland not very far from Zurich. They lived in wooden houses in pittoresque villages, but the river of this valley was a rigid canal with industrial buildings of the early type. During the day you would see white snowy mountains at both ends of the narrow flanks of mountains, but at night the bottom was flooded with neon lights, machines roaring all night weaving textiles or stamping tons of chocolate.
I have heard about the 'Adam's hut circle. They met every two weeks at full and empty moon on top of the mountain, and they had a long dispute with the local court, didn't they. Yes, one of them, a writer who had lived in the region for quite some time had once bought 20 squaremters from a rather drunken farmer in a restaurant, practically for nothing, a couple of francs or so. Then he planted 12 pine-trees on that tiny piece of land in a circle. Some years later, when the trees had become big, he bound the slightly inclined trees together with a rope, and this was the 'Adam's hut', their meeting place. He had wisely broken some lower branches only, the upper part of the trees were left and formed a huge and beautiful bush. It was a real landmark! But there was an awful man in this valley who was the chief of the district government. He was quite rich because he used his position to scratch all the public projects into the drawer of his own construction company. And the Adam's house-group had spoiled him several projects. Now, of course he accused them of building outside the construction zone. The case went up to the state court. He lost his case. The trees were natural. Architects were paid tremendously for experteses, but, since architecture itself had never taken the pains to define what a building is, there was no chance. The case was very much laughed at throughout Switzerland. He had to pay them a lot of money.
I don't see what this has to do with the monkey-war!
Wait a minute. Now these peoples meet there twice every month, discuss the whole night through, not only philosophical problems, but politics, poetry, art and so on. They speak about the scandal of the philosophers and why they never developed any common agreements. They laugh about the non-sense of splitting the world into natural science and humanities, they laugh about the scientist running all ahead whereas truth quietly sits thousands of years at the rear, they discuss Hegel's dialectics and Marx's theories as flat beer but basically renewable, they roast Jung's archetypes, they dance with Faust and Mephistopheles, invite God as Symbol and make fun of his fear of Diabol, they discuss the relation of the creation to apes nests, analyse Moses as a national hero and what came out of that, cry about the western killing of still-life, discuss why Anaximander believed that man is the cleverest being because he has hands, etc. etc. In short, they somehow give the philosophical background of the 'monkey-war. That's one thing. There is a second function of the Adam's hut-group. There were some elderly ones among them who had been travelling during the glorious sixties. All over the world. Not like they are travelling today, the tourists, with charter flights, surfboard, roasting their skin at some sandy beach. No, they had lived in foreign cultures, had learned their languages, their literature, their thoughts, their history, their philosophy and made friends. Some peoples call them hippies, but that was only cover up. Some of them wrote books, made great discoveries. But when 'Cowboy the Ridiculous' ascended the throne of the American empire all that collapsed. They had to hide. Their books were either pasted with jam and integrated into the 'New Age' or they just accumulated dust in the cellars of libraries. But these peoples had left traces in the countries they had lived. One of these traces is the monkey war, as you call it.
I don't get the point.
One among this Adam's hut group is a good friend of the man who started this war. He had lived a long time in Japan and had studied the roots of Japanese thought. Not with books in the big cities. He went out into the countryside, lived in the villages, studied the farmers culture. At that occasion he got to know a priest with whom he became very friendly. They sat long nights in the holy house together and the priest realised that the foreigner saw his own situation with much clearer eyes from outside than he was able to perceive the structure of his own culture.
You mean by having access to this group general Anastasia Max found out about the real reasons behind this war.
Exactly. This priest was obsessed with the old harmonious spirit of the Japanese. He was tortured seeing the decay of his ancient culture daily in front of his own eyes. Not the aristocratic one with the godly emperor, with the cultural treasures preserved in dusty museums and - last but not least - his extensive administration. This is just an outcome of incapable historians. He felt the loss of the ancient spirit of beauty and harmony that had governed the land before Western thought had come in. Of course it was honey for his soul thirsty of beauty what the foreigner had told him: that the agrarian population of the villages, the neolithic revolution had created the foundations of culture and that the cities with their brilliant shine only exploited this rural culture to control the land. The urban elites used writing to raise taxes and to change the original cult of beauty. They wiped out the gods of beauty and forced the farmers into abstract spirituality which nobody understood anyhow. The truth was in the villages: when man became sedentary his constructive abilities developed enormously. What had been huts, fences, signs to mark his environment developed into sacred signs of aesthetic harmony.
Isn't this a little bit romantic what you are telling me here?
Not at all. The priest obviously had a very pragmatic side. He knew the materials, he knew the farmers culture, their beautiful manmade gods who protected the land. And he had the clue from the foreigner: that man basically was a constructive being. He had built himself, his cognition, his ideology, his environment! No killing, bunching, no survival of the fittest. Man's past had started with building his nest, as it still can be seen among all higher apes! And he was absolutely willing to put these ideas into reality. Now, he had an ingenious plan. And this is the great merit of general Anastasia Max: she managed to clarify the whole concept and how it worked.
Had she been talking to the priest?
Yes, she mediated with him, because she recognised the ingeniosity of his plan. He knew from anthropology that the human evolution is estimated on roughly two million years. The human generation is about more or less between 15 and 25 years, depending on the type of social structure, but anyhow a very long time. Now, if he would manage to reduce this time-span by going down on the primatological ladder, he would meet a higher frequency of reproduction. Thus he came on the Lemurs. Together with a genetician he managed to change their reproduction cycle down on the level of rats. Then he further calculated, since he had a valuable hypothesis regarding the evolution of culture, that, by steering it he could further condense the time. He calculated about 20 years for the whole process. With the help of influential friends he bought the car factory in southern Korea, split it into three categories of outfit, where the animals produced particular things, and it worked.
But what was his real plan?
He was very realistic. He clearly realised, that Europe, the whole west, was at its end. He understood that all preurban village cultures were very similar all over the world. That they had annual rituals which had brought them together socially, that their festivals were artful, had the meaning to renew their territorial demarcation system which was of organic material and therefore not durable. The periodic destruction and restruction of this aesthetically developed system was at the basis of a temporally cyclic and spatially polar cognition system which was intended to harmonise the environmental condition of farming life. This system was essentially centripetal and explains,why this cultural system - compared to later developments like cities and empires - was rather static over thousands of years and didn't leave much traces though it developed considerable spiritual values, aesthetics, ornaments etc. which we know as the 'neolithic revolution'. Unrest started with the first cities and empires, with writing and taxes, the distinction of priests and elites like kings and emperors. Thought became centrifugal. Of course, the city culture always called this the real culture, but this was not so. Slaves had to build ambitious temple-cities, pyramids, and armies had to fight wars etc. Writing allowed to diffuse the thoughts and to impose them on others, the perishable gods of farmers were now hewn in stone, put up in cities, sacrifices required.
He constructed a cultural history from below?
Exactly. He further maintained that the three most catastrophical events in the European history were Platon's and Aristoteles's systematisation of presocratic thought, which split the harmonious concept of the substrate still palpable with Heraclitus into an analytical system. And this was then used in the scholastic school to construct an absolute spirit out of Moses' state program. Moses had just intended to lead the hebraic population out of their Egyptian slavery and to give them an own state. He was a state founder, religion was a prerequisite of a state at that time a kind of constitution. It becomes then rather absurd to use this with the organisational concepts of the Roman empire to construct a spiritual world empire as it is done still today!
This is rather farsighted for a Japanese priest!
I think so. But he saw the great drama in the enlightenment. The mediaeval system entirely based on written history: Jerusalem the first city, hebraic the first writing. This collapsed with reformation, humanism and enlightenment and - important - with the great discoveries of other civilisations of the world. The analytical system of the attic school was now used in an empirical way to discover objective reality, which is of course nonsense. There is no such a system as science. Truth is behind. It split the basis, the aesthetic system, to think in polar categories. Black AND white becomes black OR white. China has long preserved the harmonious system. In modern times it comes out clearly: science splits the world on all levels. The great catastrophes including the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are only the menetekel of the end. These were his ideas and I think there is some truth in it.
And this served him as justification for his terrible experiment?
You forget that he proved something very essential: that man is not this high godlike creature for which he takes himself and with which he justifies his dominance over the world of plants and animals, he might be a very casual happening which lost its existential grounds in a series of tremendous historical or anthropological misconstructions. And particularly the European mind. What an arrogance, over centuries. Wiped out all these marvellous traditional cultures. Maybe the priest Nishida with his terrible experiment - as you say - saved mankind.
But back to general Anastasia Max: how did it finally come out?
She managed to calm him down. By accepting the conditions of Nishida she made him call back his terrible army.
What were these conditions?
There were essentially two conditions: shintoisation of Eurasia, Australia and Africa and acceptance of the Institution of his 'World Law'
That is very strange!
Not at all. Shinto in his eyes doesn't mean the Japanese state Shinto of the second world war. He means the agrarian Shinto of the Japanese hinterland. It is not really a religion in the Western sense. It is a local ritual tradition which ensures man's rights to live and exist in a particular place, the place of his family, of his language, of his ancestors. It implies that life is something which man can never understand, a mysterious force which he has to accept, because he depends on it and he himself is a part of it. It implies further that man looses his roots, if he exceeds his local condition. It is basically also an environmental ethics. It implies that he accepts certain local conditions, local traditions. It has little to do with belief - this is a Western misrepresentation - the local ritual is the message, the local past is 'metaphysics' - in it the Gods are made by man and they are beautiful. They protect the land and taught man how to do things harmoniously, how to behave with respect. God has created man! This type of Shinto has preserved from prehistoric times in Japan, but it is not basically different from what existed as traditional village culture in Africa, Asia and Europe. As local world view it was held and lived also in the North and South of the Alps before Christianisation, it was the pre-urban and pre-imperial culture in ancient Egypt and Sumer. It was the world ideology of the village before city cultures began to write and distort pre-urban realities, before power used peoples to build empires and nations.
And what is the 'world-law'?
This is a high-tech concept which Nishida took over from 'Cowboy the Ridiculous''s star wars. The whole world is regularly traced with a more or less regular net of hexagons according to agrarian settlements. This is programmed into a computer which is called the 'world-law'. It is prepared for the beginning of the year 2000, or more precisely it will be shot into space on the New Year's Eve of 1999 exactly at midnight. From then on it will encircle the world and survey it by means of solar cells and a laser burner which reaches down to earth. From the first second of the New Year it will survey the grid. All weights more than 200 kilos of non-natural materials that cross the grids will be burnt down immediately by laser beam. Thus it will calm down the transportation from one place to another, including trucks, trains, ships and air planes. It will thus give nature the occasion to restore itself. Personal goods in the cities can be emptied on a small scale. But after a period of 20 years it will start to burn down and destroy all great masses of artificial material, steel, concrete and the like. With its energy it is bound to the cosmos. And the main thing: the world law will from the beginning destroy the installations where it was produced and it will also vehemently defend itself: it is built with a precision and with materials of a quality which last at least 10'000 years, maybe 20, or 30'000 years or more, who knows!.
Lets say this all were true, do you really think Nishida saved mankind?
If by interpreting the human past in a different way, in an anthropology from below, you will realise the tragedy of the European or Western mind. Since it came into existence, it split the world on all levels without really knowing what the world was or is. Not conscious of its tremendous speculations! In this sense Nishida saved mankind and its world from going to pieces!
That is a good end, I think, thank you very much for this talk Mr. Egenter.
Thank you Miss Frankenstein.