Rigor Was His Mark of Quality

Heiner Müller about Stoa, anarchy, experiences with drugs, and the four elements

12 Nov 2012
Ten to Eleven
Heiner Müller
Heiner Müller


Heiner Müller defines Stoicism as an attempt to deal with anarchy. For him, Erich Honecker is an example for "forced stoicism". Müller agrees with the following quote by Goethe: May God save me from self-awareness! For Müller, it represents a stoic attitude. When asked about "patriotism" in the sense of "What would you risk your life for, if necessary?", he can only come up with something "silly" at first: his daughter. But Müller is also a patriot of theater, in the sense of "maeeuticism", of putting-effort-into-it. Either way, Müller can think of "patriotism" only in a limited context, as "patriot of a sentence". Their dismissal from the NVA, and with that the loss of their home country, has made many officers very ill. Are tragedies in the East only occurring on a physical level anymore, because they cannot be expressed publicly? Müller argues that the same mechanism is already at play in Ovid's "Metamorphoses". In the context of transformed physicality, Müller describes in detail the change of sensations and perceptions he experienced after taking drugs: He saw people on rails, experienced the sensation of regression to animals with bodies not fully separated from each other, felt like a big cat etc. Kluge asks Müller about memories of experiences and feelings in regard to the four elements (rain, wind, fire, the countryside). Müller talks about different times in his life: the childhood memory of a building struck by lightning and catching fire, his trips to the USA and Japan with a special permission, the winds in the Grand Canyon and the unidentifiability of wind in Tokyo, and the encounter with a man during a rain shower who tells him about a scene from Sartre's "Huis Clos".