Transcript

Title
The Garath Interview with Heiner Müller
Running text
Excerpt from a seven-hour interview / The noise level of the "Wende" penetrates the theater / "Taking leave of the Hamlet principle in favor of the free market economy" / Impressions on the 4th of November on Alexanderplatz / Why Brecht never spoke of a people, but only of a population / "The armored train of the revolution"
Kluge
Say, what have you done there to your hand?
Müller
It's quite simple. I attempted, with all of my natural-born technical ability, to fill a lighter.
Kluge
You burned yourself?
Müller
Yes. When I lit it, so much lighter fluid had dribbled down the sides of the lighter that my hand was engulfed in flames. It looked really great.
Kluge
And what is that elegant dressing you have there?
Müller
This bandage? That was done by a surgeon here with a Japanese name. Apparently it's a Japanese method. And of course he's right, yesterday I still had my whole hand in a single bandage, and naturally it's better to wrap each of the fingers separately. Then at least you can . . . but otherwise, it's no problem.
Kluge
But don't you write with that hand?
Müller
Yes, I do. But I can write with either hand . . .
Kluge
Are you left-handed or right-handed?
Müller
Left-handed, actually.
Kluge
Tell me, how many interviews have you given since October/November of last year?
Müller
It's appalling. I don't know how many, I wasn't counting, but it was really difficult to avoid them, especially when one can be reached at the theater every day. It really helped me, though, to have to do this production now, during this time period. That was really very strange.
Kluge
Hamlet - how long is that?
Müller
It's now seven and a half hours with three intermissions. With one long intermission and two short intermissions.
Kluge
And what all have you included?
Müller
Hamlet is the longest play in world literature, in terms of the quantity of text. And we cut almost nothing. Because almost everything in the play is important now. And that was also what I was thinking about in '88, after The Scab [Lohndrücker], whether I perhaps needed to do another production in order to hold the Ensemble together, because of course this so-called "Wende" was already long underway and had made itself known. And already in '88 it was clear that these ensembles would fall apart if one didn't do something about it. That was really the idea, to do another production so that at least a few good people would remain together, and Hamlet was really the only thing that occurred to me, because I had the feeling, this is the most relevant play at the moment in the GDR. I would really have seen absolutely no reason to stage Hamlet here in the Federal Republic, no ideas about why and how to do it. It makes no sense.
Kluge
But wait a minute, "Relevant"? - in the sense that Hamlet is coming from Wittenberg? He's coming directly from the pastors.
Müller
No, I mean something much simpler. This is a play about a young man who happens to be a member of the ruling class and who has also become an intellectual on account of his time in Wittenberg. And it deals with a rift between two epochs. And he founders on this rift. It's also interesting that he views the old order with suspicion, of course, although it also has something compelling about it, namely the father figure. And he also doesn't care for the new order. That's why this blind massacre takes place at the end, it's a kind of flight into blind praxis. The actors read every newspaper each morning and listened to all of the news broadcasts, and for that reason it worked at first. It was often very difficult to go on working in a concentrated manner, but these difficulties were then incorporated into the work . . .
Kluge
The actors were probably also politically active, weren't they?
Müller
Yes, this demonstration on the 4th of November arose out of a proposal by actors at the Deutsches Theater. In 1988, in the period immediately after The Scab, Schabowski made an appearance at the \ Deutsches Theater \ at the end of which he could only shout, because nothing else occurred to him. It was already clear what was coming. Really, it could hardly be prevented any longer.
Kluge
How would you describe Schabowski? You saw him up close.
Müller
Schabowski is a late-Roman type, a provincial Caracalla, but interesting, very resourceful, not dumb.
Kluge
But please describe what you saw him as, during the time he was District Secretary in Berlin.
Müller
I never saw him in person before the 4th of November, when we both appeared on the podium along with others. His turn to speak came long before mine, and he gave a very interesting speech. There were gigantic protests against him, choruses of boos - and then also against me, although for different reasons - and lots of whistling. Actually, though, he endured that with a really good demeanor. I remember that we met in a café beforehand, right on Alexanderplatz. He greeted me, we had never met in person, but it was important to him that he meet me on the 4th of November. And naturally, he still saw himself as the man of the future there on the 4th of November.
Kluge
What do you mean when you say "Caracalla?" What does Schabowski look like physically? Is he fat, thin?
Müller
There's a kind of . . . what I mean by "late-Roman." A kind of soft lower face, and a little bit smug.
Kluge
. . . like an American senator.
Müller
. . . and also a little dyspeptic. The eyes are also a little apoplectic, a kind of mixture of brutality and softness and perhaps even sentimentality.
Kluge
Even sensitivity?
Müller
There's sensitivity too. The face is not at all inexpressive.
Kluge
How did he end up in this position?
Müller
He was probably one of the few intellectuals in the politburo. Previously, he had been the editor-in-chief of Neues Deutschland, and that involved frequent trips abroad, including to the West. He was often in France. He was not as narrow-minded as the others. The others are all manual laborers in terms of their mentality and their education.
Kluge
If you were to characterize the political line for these few weeks during which Schabowski led the press conferences, if you were to assume for a moment that he had actually become the new leader. What would his line have been, roughly?
Müller
I believe his line would have been that of Gorbachev. The rehearsal began every day at ten and went till two, and from time to time there were also evening rehearsals.
Kluge
So you were sitting there in the dark interior of the theater. When did you find time to get out of there?
Müller
In general, I didn't. It was a really interesting time, though, even, or especially, in the rehearsal space. During the whole rehearsal period one heard police sirens from time to time, and helicopters. All of these noises provided a lot of the inspiration for the tapestry of sounds in the performance.
Kluge
And now your associates, in the first instance the actors, report to you what they have heard on the radio, what the latest news is. Would you then discuss that immediately?
Müller
Yes. For this reason, the rehearsal almost always started late.
Kluge
Did the actors make demands for this to be immediately transposed artistically into the production? Or did they work, afterwards, in a disciplined manner?
Müller
Neither the one nor the other. They often made jokes with the text. Twisted the words in ways that had to do with their isolation.
Kluge
How did they do that? "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark?"
Müller
No, for example, a passage like the following would lend itself well to these purposes: A gentleman, not referred to by name in Shakespeare's text, appears and brings Claudius news of the popular uprising, and then says, "the crowd cries: 'We vote." That was a tremendous gag, these two words: "We vote."
Kluge
Did you emphasize that, then, and elaborate on it, or what kind of reaction did you have as a director?
Müller
That becomes an obscene text, then. "We vote." Naturally, the actor does that on his own initiative. This was a very politically engaged actor who, furthermore, was also in the PDS both before and after and wants to remain there. And of course he then played out these possibilities, when he quoted the people, for example, crying "Laertes shall be king, Laertes king\!" And then he considers whether it isn't better to distance himself from Laertes before it's too late. He walks away once, comes back, looks, and leaves again. One understands immediately what he means, that he is switching parties out of prudence.
Kluge
Can you refresh my memory of Hamlet? What is the plot of Hamlet?
Müller
The elder Hamlet has died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. One doesn't really know exactly what happened and how he died. There are rumors and speculations. His brother marries his widow, and thus becomes the new king, even though, according to the constitution, Hamlet would be the successor to the throne. Hamlet has come from Wittenberg for the funeral and also arrives just in time for the wedding. Then Hamlet learns that his father is still haunting the place as a ghost, and hence clearly wants to impart some kind of information. Then Hamlet encounters the ghost of his father, and the father tells him that he was poisoned by Claudius. And now he's faced with the problem that he studied in Wittenberg: Can one trust a ghost? It could be some kind of devilish deception. There's also a split that is never fully clarified, a kind of confusion of protestant and Catholic ideas in the play. That also plays a role. What's most interesting is really the lack of clarity in the play. It's not a perfect play. It's very much confused.
Kluge
How does the play end?
Müller
The play ends as follows: Claudius has arranged a dual between Laertes, who for his part started the popular uprising against Claudius, whom Claudius, though, has won over to his side. And Claudius has informed Laertes that Hamlet has killed Polonius, Laertes' father, which happens to be true. He sees to it that Laertes gets a poisoned sword, and he sees to it, furthermore, that poisoned wine is also on hand, a cup of poisoned wine, so that it will be possible to kill Hamlet by one means or another. But during the dual they of course switch their swords or daggers, so that they both die, Laertes and Hamlet. And Hamlet can then, at the last moment, still kill all of those around him whom he hates. We naturally staged it such that he kills almost everyone on the stage in a blind massacre. But it's not a matter of calculation. Before, there was always this back and forth about whether he should take revenge or not take revenge. And the first time he does something, it's actually something blind and something uncalculated. It's no longer a plan, it's just blind praxis at that point.
Kluge
And you also integrated a large number of texts of your own?
Müller
Yes, texts from Hamletmachine. That also resulted in part from suggestions by the actors. It depended on the situation, for example, the actor playing Hamlet felt the need, at the very beginning, after his first lines, when Claudius says to him: "How is it that the clouds still hang on you?" In other words, why are you so depressed, embrace life. He suggested that he say his final lines there, specifically, from "I die, Horatio" to "The rest is silence." Hence, he says the concluding lines already at the beginning. And then interpolations from Hamletmachine keep appearing in specific scenes.
Kluge
Why is it called Hamletmachine [Hamletmachine]?
Müller
That was quite simple. Over the years I translated and adapted a few things by Shakespeare, and naturally I kept using it again and again as material and as theme. Especially in times of flagging inspiration, it's a blood transfusion to occupy oneself with Shakespeare. I had planned these volumes here, which are now coming out, Shakespeare-Factory, and Hamletmachine was supposed to be in the first volume. That was still supposed to come out with Suhrkamp.
Kluge
Ah, so you imagined a factory, so-to-speak, in which works of literature, which repeat themselves in any case . . .
Müller
Yes, and I didn't have a title for the text, and the title Hamletmachine then emerged out of this context automatically, namely as a part of this factory, this Fabrik.
Kluge
Do you mean that this Hamletmachine - one could also say Oedipusmachine - and one could set the basic dramas up in an endless loop . . .
Müller
Yes, they are machines, to which one can always hook up additional machines, or into which one can send ever new people. From the very beginning, without knowing exactly why, or without being able to explain it precisely, I knew that Fortinbras could not appear. That is to say, I didn't have anyone for the role of Fortinbras, that was the first real difficulty. I didn't know any actor who seemed to me to fit the role. But that is also the main question for every production or interpretation of Hamlet: Who is Fortinbras, what does Fortinbras stand for?
Kluge
But he really only appears very briefly, he arrives at the end with his troops.
Müller
When Hamlet is traveling to England, he meets him, and he's on his way to Poland. And at the end he comes and cleans up, he's the liquidator. For Shakespeare it was simply a matter of removing the bodies from the stage, of having an ending, so that one could do the next play. But it's always a problem, how to evaluate this Fortinbras figure. Very frequently, he's been played by a child . . .
Kluge
. . . in order to represent hope . . .
Müller
. . . but he was always a military figure. And because we didn't have anyone to play him, that also related automatically to recent events. And then at the end the man who played the ghost appears - the ghost is basically naked except for a couple of pieces of armor - with a gold mask and in a tailor-made suit. To put it very simply, one could say that at the beginning the ghost, the father figure, was Stalin, and at the end it's the Deutsche Bank. And he calls the dead Hamlet back and holds a golden black board in front of his face. And then comes a text that isn't by me and also isn't by Shakespeare, but which I found exactly right at that time: a text by Zbigniew Herbert. It's a speech by Fortinbras to the dead Hamlet. So it's a leave-taking from the Hamlet principle in favor of the free market economy. It's just as direct as one makes it these days. This is what it says in the speech: Hamlet, you believed in crystal concepts and - accordingly - you could not live, you could no longer breathe properly. But I have to design a new canalization project, I have to make new laws for the prostitutes and beggars, etc. It was a new social order. Naturally, that comes out of the Polish experience, out of an Eastern European experience, this text. And precisely Hamlet, the intellectual, who had ideas . . . I am sure I told you about this before, I really enjoyed this immensely, in Munich on the building of the Deutsche Bank, this brutal saying: "Ideas become markets."
Kluge
Does it actually say that on the building?
Müller
It says that on there, yes. That is one of the most brutal formulations of its kind I've ever read.
Kluge
What does "crystal concepts" [Kristallbegriffe] mean?
Müller
Well, it's a kind of poetic formulation referring to idealistic conceptions of reality, for instance if I were to presume to make demands on reality that then prove to be unrealizable.
Kluge
When you give interviews, do you have a specific technique? How do you behave in interviews?
Müller
I'm probably much too much of an actor and for that reason enormously dependent on the interviewer, on the person who asks me questions, and there are people with whom I become completely mechanical or don't feel like doing the interview. The worst thing is the eternal repetition of the same type of question.
Kluge
Give an example of the type of thing you're asked.
Müller
Tell us, Herr Müller, what's your view on the revolution in the GDR? What's your view on reunification? What's your view on the currency union, or how did you, as someone with privileges, experience the period of the GDR, and what is your opinion of the fact that you could travel, you could always travel after all, you had privileges, other people couldn't do that, and how did you experience that, how did you feel about that, or questions of that kind. Voyeuristic questions, really. And completely different ones, it depends on the mood. Or on the interviewer. It's very difficult to take it seriously. I mean, you can ask me if you want, and then I can answer you, that's a completely different matter.
Kluge
What's your view on the revolution in the GDR?
Müller
It was clear to me rather early that if people say, "We are the people," then that turns very quickly into "We are one people," and that turns just as quickly into: "You shall have no other peoples before me." And then I came to understand very well why Brecht was so distrustful of the word "people" [Volk].
Kluge
He never says "people."
Müller
He never said "people," only "population" [Bevölkerung]. On the other hand, you can't inspire any masses with the saying: "We are the population." That's the problem. For that reason I'm suspicious of mass movements on principle. But that already comes from my childhood. You were asking about Alexanderplatz. You stand up there and speak to 500,000 people, and you know maybe a hundred of them. You really have nothing to do with the rest. It's a completely abstract situation.
Kluge
You end up speculating?
Müller
Yes, maybe not even that. Here one sees the problem politicians have. That they have to deal with strangers, with masses of strangers.
Kluge
And this problem gets worse the moment they don't have Alexanderplatz in front of them - because for them, too, that's a rare event - but what is not rare is television.
Müller
Exactly. That reminds me again of a text by Ernst Jünger, excuse me, but it's really interesting. In Gardens and Roads [Gärten und Straßen], I believe, the war diary from France, he describes how he's riding into a battle at the head of his company or whatever. One sees the battle, one hears the battle, and it looks rather violent, alright, and sounds violent, and very dangerous. But the whole time, he's not thinking at all about the battle, but rather only about an article in the Völkischer Beobachter that contained something negative about him. And then he describes the difference between courage in war and courage in a civil war. Courage in war is a question of training, whereas courage in a civil war is something exceedingly rare and tied to the individual person.
Kluge
What kind of a speech did you give, concretely? You read from a paper that was given to you beforehand in the café? You made yourself into a messenger?
Müller
Yes, yes, clearly.
Kluge
You also were not introduced. Were you also taken to be only a messenger?
Müller
That was a technical lapse, because I simply went on before he could announce me. I screwed it up. For that reason I was taken for a messenger.
Kluge
Well, that's appropriate to the level of the message.
Müller
Yes, yes, that's okay. I found that completely alright, that most of them didn't perceive me as an individual person.
Kluge
You represented a constituency that didn't have any chance of winning majorities in the GDR.
Müller
Primarily because what was important about the whole thing, the whole movement, was that the speechless speak, and not that the speakers of the nation now speak for the speechless. That was the great error of the intellectuals, as so often, that they once again had to make themselves into the mouthpiece of the zeitgeist. And that no longer works. That role is over.
Kluge
What did it look like, exactly? Was it evening, or was it during the afternoon, on Alexanderplatz?
Müller
It was a morning, a Sunday morning. And it lasted eight hours, and one had to wait a long time.
Kluge
Were there musical performances?
Müller
No, no music, just speeches.
Kluge
And people held out for eight hours?
Müller
Yes, but at that time there was still a real hope, that was what motivated the people, for a different GDR, for an alternative to the Federal Republic. That was the basic consensus for most of those people.
Kluge
And where were the urinals?
Müller
There are urinals in every subway station. There are two or three subway entrances there, there are hotels on the Alexanderplatz . . .
Kluge
That's a lot of people.
Müller
It was no problem.
Kluge
Who opened this event?
Müller
The first speech was by an actor. It was Ulrich Mühe, who is now playing Hamlet in my company. He was the right person for the beginning because he had done a reading from Janka's book at the Deutsches Theater.
Kluge
And then writers appeared?
Müller
Yes, well, they were all very happy about the people and about the uprising and all of that. It was actually very sad, because it was already foreseeable what the outcome would be.
Kluge
How does it come about, really, that one expects some kind of political enlightenment from literature?
Müller
That's a leftist illusion, I believe, of the last decades of European intellectuals or especially of writers, that there could or should be a community of interests between art and politics. Art is ultimately not controllable. Or it can always escape control. And for that reason it was almost automatically subversive in such a structure.
Kluge
It really is that, incidentally. It's always been subversive, but whether it's progressive or not . . .
Müller
It gives up its subversive quality, of course, the moment it attempts to be directly political, that's the problem. And that was the general error, that was the trap.
Kluge
And who spoke next?
Müller
Who all spoke there? Christoph Hein, for example, Christa Wolf, Stefan Heym. Christoph Hein, at this demonstration, proposed calling the city of Leipzig the "city of heroes." He has since come very much to regret having said that.
Kluge
What did the sky look like?
Müller
The sky, I believe, was rather blue. And less gray than usual. But I mean, I can only speak for myself. There's a point, this is why I spoke about courage in war, courage in a civil war: this half awake, hallucinatory condition, like in a war, isn't there. One sees parts of this mass, one sees banners. I, in any case, felt very strongly the impossibility of speaking with 500,000 people. I can't speak with 500,000 people simultaneously. It was rather the feeling, this is not my people. I was almost relieved when they booed and whistled at certain sentences. It was clear that that too was organized. There was a state security bloc on one side. On the other side - perhaps - a workers' bloc. There were different reactions. One is naturally startled at first, when out of 500,000 people maybe 20,000 yell "boo," but then it's suddenly also fun, then it becomes war again, then it's good. And, in general, war is a fundamental question in all social encounters and relationships. And perhaps one ought to reflect on that at some point.
Kluge
What is war?
Müller
The fact that the war has not really stopped. In The Road to Volokolamsk [Wolokolamskeer Chaussee] there's this sentence: "In my head the war no longer stops. If one has experienced it once, it no longer stops." A war is, in the first instance, a conflict of interests. And it was completely clear to me that I was standing there as someone who experienced the last decades of the GDR as a privileged person. And I knew very well that the majority of these people down there had absolutely no reason to like me, because I had had something for decades that they didn't have yet on this 4th of November. They first got that on the 9th, the opportunity, as one says in the vernacular, to "see the West." That's a common expression.
Kluge
What does something like that look like visually, such a mass of people that disappears in the distance and hides the buildings?
Müller
There's naturally something animalistic about it.
Kluge
Like a pasture?
Müller
It's not a pasture, no, it's more like an animal, something that has a few ripples and breathing motions.
Kluge
Is the animal powerful?
Müller
Well, maybe that's one side of it, but the other aspect is that you naturally get a feeling of power with such a sound system, and that it then becomes a confrontation when this crowd reacts against you with its normal sound, and you have this electronically amplified sound. It's even a game. Now I understand very well this megalomania of pop singers. There's really something to it when you have such an instrument, with which you can overwhelm masses.
Kluge
Have you ever written a story based on news reports?
Müller
Never, I believe. No. But what I mean is that art really arises only from acceptance. That's this point Horkheimer made. No art arises out of polemics. No. Also not out of closing yourself off. No, also not out of closing yourself off. You have to accept even violence, cruelty, so that you can describe them. What others do with that then, and make out of it for themselves, is a completely different question. But without acceptance even of brutality, even of violence, you can't describe them. That's certainly a problem that one can talk or argue about: whether art is even humane. It's not. It has nothing to do with that.
Kluge
How would you unpack the expression "humane," if you were to say some additional words about it?
Müller
It would be humane, for example, if one were to have consideration for the interests of the people who are being made into art. That would perhaps be humane, but from the perspective of the person making the art, it would be immoral.
Kluge
Because it's no longer authentic? In other words, I've softened something with sentimentality, and I've behaved like a merciful God.
Müller
Exactly. And then I've lied, and I've neglected something that only I can do in that context. Even if I resist it myself, sometimes resist texts, sometimes resist sentences that I find awful, I have to write them down if they occur to me.
Kluge
Now, you once said a sentence: "What really speaks against Auschwitz, if it's doable?"
Müller
Yes, yes. The whole problem of our civilization is to develop an alternative to Auschwitz, and there isn't one. There is no argument against Auschwitz. So if you take Auschwitz as the - well, "metaphor" is a very barbaric word - but the reality of selection. And selection is the principle of politics globally. There is not yet an alternative to Auschwitz. One can vary it, mitigate it, differentiate it, whatever.
Kluge
One can set oneself the goal of insuring that it will never happen. By this means, it will happen in precisely the unintended place. When you sing, does the emphasis lie on the word "doable"? So that you foreground the concept of doability, which underlies genetic technology, which underlies Chernobyl, which underlies the policy of apartheid in South Africa, which in the hidden currents that will someday invent something or other . . . in other words, "the womb is still fertile?"
Müller
I mean simply that everything that is thinkable is doable. And everything that is doable is done. In some manner, at some time, by someone.
Kluge
And you have to clothe that in a sentence that's undigestable. Because otherwise it's treason.
Müller
Yes, yes, yes.
Kluge
And this is exactly what a pluralistic society can't stand. It demands sentimentalization, for example in the way it represents industry, and in the way it wages popular war.
Müller
I've spoken about that often recently, but really without being qualified. How favorable this backdrop of dictatorship was for theater in the GDR, for example. Now for me, it is a double backdrop: I grew up in one dictatorship, grew into the other one, and was able, by way of my need to take revenge for my somewhat demolished childhood, to identify for a while with the second one, even though I knew everything about it. That was a very primitive impulse for revenge.
Kluge
A revenge scenario.
Müller
When I think about it now, the process was as follows: You have a wall that's impenetrable, this feeling that one really can't do anything. You're constantly ricocheting off of it, and you get a velocity in your own work by means of this ricocheting. Somehow, you become a projectile. The texts become munitions. And the cannon or rifle out of which these munitions are fired is not you. It's the public. One could say that, yes. But that also already happened last year, and perhaps ten years ago. It always happens. But certainly never, or rarely, as manifestly as at the moment here.
Intertitle
Excerpt from a film by the Berlin-based documentary filmmaker Gregor about the rehearsals for Hamletmachine.
Actor
My drama, if it were still to take place, would take place during the time of the uprising. The uprising begins as a stroll. Against the traffic regulations, during working hours. The street belongs to the pedestrians. Here and there, they tip over an auto. A slow drive down a one-way street towards an irrevocable parking spot surrounded by armed pedestrians. Police officers, if they stand in the way, are swept to the curbside. When the procession nears the government quarter, it comes to a standstill at a police cordon. Groups form, out of which speakers emerge. On the balcony of a government building a man appears in a badly fitting tailcoat and likewise starts speaking. When the first stone hits him, he too retreats behind the door made of bulletproof glass. The call for more freedom turns into the cry for the overthrow of the government.
Müller
[from his speech on Alexanderplatz on the 4th of November, 1989]. We may not let ourselves be organized any longer . . .
Actor
The crowd starts to disarm the policemen, . . .
Müller
We must organize ourselves.
Actor
. . . storms two or three buildings, . . .
Müller
The prices will rise, but hardly the wages.
Actor
. . . a prison, a police station, an office of the secret police,
Müller
The thumb screws are to be applied.
Actor
. . . hangs a dozen government stooges up by their feet . . .
Müller
The coming years are not going to be easy for us.
Actor
. . . the government deploys troops, tanks. My place, if my drama were still to take place, would be on both sides of the front, between the fronts, above them. I stand smelling the sweat of the crowd and throw stones at policemen, soldiers, tanks, and bulletproof glass. I look through the door of bulletproof glass at the advancing crowd and smell my own fearful sweat. Retching with nausea, I shake my fist at myself standing behind the bulletproof glass. Agitated by fear and contempt, I see myself in the advancing crowd, frothing at the mouth, shaking my fist at myself. I hang my own uniformed flesh up by the feet. I am the soldier in the tank turret, my head is empty under my helmet, I am the stifled cry under the chains. I am the typewriter. I tie the noose when the ringleaders are hung, pull the stool away, break my own neck.
Kluge
You once wrote "the armored train of the revolution," as a metaphor. What is that? What image does that evoke?
Müller
Well, it's the same, only perhaps with a difference. I would eliminate the speed in this case, the armored train is slow.
Kluge
Because it's a train, it gets stopped at every switch.
Müller
But otherwise, protection and prison is right. It's a prison as protection and protection as a prison. That reminds me of another point that has interested me a lot recently: the problem of the relationship between deceleration and acceleration. One can also see what has ceased to exist now, the Iron Curtain and everything that stood for it, the Wall, as an instrument for the deceleration of a historical process. And Stalin then as the last brakeman, and Hitler the great accelerator.
Kluge
Or also a brakeman, one doesn't know for certain.
Müller
Well, I would now see him rather as an accelerator.
Kluge
What term do you actually use to describe what played out in October, and above all in November? Was that - the word appeared in the FAZ rather often - a "revolution"? I've heard a comparison with the "Thermidor," the ending of a revolution.
Müller
I've thought a lot about that recently. There's this traditional notion of a revolution as a moment of acceleration. Maybe that's not right at all, maybe the goal is always to stop time, to decelerate.
Kluge
In the case of the peasant wars, which you mentioned earlier, the goal was deceleration.
Müller
In the Commune it was also a question of deceleration.
Kluge
The old law shall be re-established.
Müller
Shooting at the clocks, for example, stopping time. After all, stopping time also means gaining time and means delaying our demise and delaying or deferring the end.
Kluge
Which is what life does, after all. In that sense, life itself is just one big process of braking. An energy trap that slows all activity on our beautiful, blue planet.
Running text
Excerpt from a seven-hour interview / The noise level of the "Wende" penetrates the theater / "Taking leave of the Hamlet principle in favor of the free market economy" / Impressions on the 4th of November on Alexanderplatz / Why Brecht never spoke of a people, but only of a population / "The armored train of the revolution"