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The Question of the Meaning and
Purpose of Life

PETER HÜBNER: And many of his fellow human beings are also starting to identify themselves and their lives with the unsuccessful acts and/or non-acts of Sysiphus and/or Diogenes, and they tell themselves after two millennia of Christian upbringing: our whole life, too, is similar to the fruitless efforts of Sysiphus.

We start our career in human society with great vigour, but on our way we encounter illness and misfortune quite early on, and in the end we become old, and don’t know where the journey of our life leads us to: we die without knowledge.

And why should we not drop this mad striving for things which have no continued existence, which give us no continued existence either, and, as a hippy or tramp, as a convinced unemployed person, follow in the footsteps of life of that great wise man Diogenes, who keeps seeing the sweaty, groaning Sysiphus arrive in vain at his feet.

Whilst Kcha-tom’s fellow human beings begin to waver in their religious, dogmatic peacefulness, and by means of the visions of Sysiphus and Diogenes recognise the inadequacy of their previous efforts, Kchatom succeeds in recognising in his inner being, the unity of the two life roles of Sysiphus and Diogenes which seem to be so fundamentally different – which suddenly frees him from all worries in life: he recognises the world as a product of his own free will, and his creative imagination.

JOURNALIST: And he is aware of his personal freedom to see a negative devil, but just as well a merciful God, as the creator of the world.

PETER HÜBNER: And that puts him in a position to approach the Creator as if he were a friend, and to greet him as such – that simple person, who, in this work for the stage, is seen by the Christian congregation as a beggar who is heedlessly given hand-outs.

JOURNALIST: In your piece for the stage “Curse or blessing: yes”, you take the sort of understanding as a starting-point that, on the basis of the immeasurable, inexplicable misfortune in the world, only the devil can be regarded as the creator of the world.
And you finally show that, with the same right, a positive God can be seen as the creator of the world.

PETER HÜBNER: The fact that this positive or that negative knowledge of the world is not a matter of the world itself, but only lies hidden in the eye of the beholder.

JOURNALIST: And beyond that, you show the possibility of human development which exceeds this view of a bad world as being the work of the devil, or that good world being the work of God, and therefore leads to a higher world-view, which itself sees the great mistake of an ignorant life in the knowledge of good and bad, in the knowledge of space and time, in the knowledge of light and sha-dow, in the knowledge of shape and shapelessness – useful for creating suppressed educational mechanisms: suitable for the ambitious social climb up the ladder to lead the entire world to the edge of the abyss.

PETER HÜBNER: Yes, Kchatom grows into the role of that blind seer, who is not really externally blind, but who attaches more rights to the very own law of life, and to the very own inner vision of life, and therefore trusts his own conscience and free will more than all religions, philosophies and ideologies which cause a loss of individuality, and in the end only leave the individual on his own, despondently facing the great question of his personal life – eye to eye opposite the unsuccessful life role of Sysiphus or that fatalistic role of Diogenes.

JOURNALIST: You created “Curse or blessing: yes” from 1958 to 1966, and drafted it for the large orchestra, electronic music as well as choir and soloists.
It is serial, thus composed in a further developed form of twelve-tone music.
With “Curse or blessing: yes” you not only advance to the limits of the so-called modern, dissonant avant-garde of the mid 20ieth century, but you open new doors for linking orchestra music with electronic music, in the field of direction, dramatisation, singing, ballet and mime.

In 1968, you then talk about the notational developments connected with the creation of this piece at the Berlin Festival Weeks during the International Week for experimental music.



  Avant Garde Music                                            continued 20