Plowshare of Evil

4 Apr 1993
Heiner Müller
Heiner Müller


Citing Nietzsche, Müller defines intellectuals as the "ploughshares of evil," whose task it is "to create chaos, to destroy conceptions of order." Not "trace elements of reason," but rather chaos can perhaps bring about enlightenment.

Godard's Weekend is, according to Müller, the "best description of the war in Yugoslavia." Men from Belgrade drive to Bosnia on the weekends to shoot people. Müller, who is expecting a child, asks how he is supposed to explain such conclusively apocalyptic scenarios to his child. He speculates that perhaps the loneliness this question of explaining the condition of the world occasions in him is a cause for hope.

The conversation then turns to Müller's artistic perspective for the Berliner Ensemble. Rather than just mechanically reproducing the repertoire, theater should be a place where history is written. Müller sketches a project in which historical figures (Rosa Luxemburg, Marat, Stalin, Lenin) appear in a discotheque and deliver their own original texts.

A poem by Müller thematizes the sensitivity of Lenin and Napoleon, both of whom were already monuments to themselves during their lifetimes.