This book is a record of a talk in Munich between Ende, Michiko Koyasu, a Japanese germanist, Fumi Koyasu(her daughter who had graduated from a Steiner school in Munich, then student of Japanology, and currently does her activities as a basist) as her assistant, on Monday, July 22, 1985. The excerpt is published on "Asahi Journal"(one of the then leading opinion weekly magazines in Japan), but in this book some happenings are included. This was the first time for the three persons to meet, but from then Michiko does dozens of works on Ende(translation into Japanese of his books, interpreter for Ende when he visited Japan, and so on). On this books I focused only on Ende's words, but it'll be necessary to take Michiko's words into account, for her words also sometimes makes up Ende's ideas.
The talk begins with Michiko's question of why Ende came back to West Germany after Hoffmann's death. Ende, who bought a house in 1971 in Genzano, near Rome, decides to go back to Germany because of no German speaker in his surroundings after her death, because "my language will have some problem if I live too long abroad." For Ende who makes ends meet by publishing various works as a writer, it mush be avoided that his German, that is the most precious asset for his carrier, becomes worsened in a life alive with Italians, and he leaves Italy where he spent 15 years to go back to Munich where he spent his youth. Ende says, however, that his life in Italy is fruitful: "it was necessary to go out of Italy once to see better my mother tongue and my country's culture. It was necessary for me to see them from others' eyes and listen to them by others' ears: To see inside from outside. But now I must be back, or I'll forget bit by bit my own language." And that's why Ende was back in West Germany and sums up his sentiment for Italy as shown on the title: "'Momo' is a tribute of gratitude to Italy and also a confession of love."
And the three reaches the hotel Ende lived then as a temporary home, showing Koyasu family various versions of "Momo" and telling them of the omission of Marxentius Communus "Red King" in Russian and East-German versions. After chatting for a while on Ende's works Michiko gets into the economy Ende had told on "Fantasy, Politics, Arts," and Ende shows the current economy's structural problems as follows:
"I regard today's whole world are under the capitalist regimes, including Marxist ones. The only difference is that the West is now private capitalism while the East is nationalist one.": usually we tend to see that capitalism and socialism are opposite regimes on the modern society when we discuss economic system, but Ende sees little difference between them. What's necessary to run the capitalist economy is workers, consumers and capitalists, the former two are the same also for the communist nations(workers are employed by companies to do their duties, consumers use up the products and services offered by such companies, and there's no direct connection between them), and only the last one is different; in communist nations governments played capitalists' role to try to avoid the exploitative management(to make workeres engage in long-hour-and-low-paid works) capistalism tends to do. And what would happen after this talk is that due to the governments, which is both entrepreneur and consider first of all the nationals' welfare, the efficiency wasn't seen as important, which would lead to the communist nations' collapse that took place only four years after the talk.
"The current system will force us to think again what is the fundamental error. The reason we are fed up with discussing it is because .. we do our discussion without touching the base of our lifestyle even in case we handle spirits and culture. For instance, we discuss the economy without seeing what money is for us, the principles of the current financial system." The capitalism has survived so far thanks to our general assumption that eventually everybody will be able lo live an economically-better life despite the superficial ups and downs, but in fact the difference between the riches and the poors is getting bigger and bigger both in the developed countries and in the developping ones, and the riches waste their fortune for so-called "bubble economy" that broke down in Asia and Latin America, which has brought to the financial crisis in these regions, forcing companies in difficult situation to fire quite a few employees to make ends meet. But isn't it necessary to ask if we should go on this current economic system. My words described the economic situation in 1999, and we must pay more attention to Ende who left such review before the end of the Cold War.
"A fifth of the world population will get richer and richer, while the rest will get poorer and poorer. The riches send money or some aid matter into the Third World, but this won't change the fundamental problem: Nonsense." After all we have a huge exploitation system called capitalism, countries are sorted out into the two categories: the poorer ones are always exploited with the minimum salary while the richer ones enjoy the enermous fortune thanks to the poor's labor, and a little of aid matter, even they may help the poors to live a bit longer, changes little of their situation. Isn't it more important to delve into the structure that makes so many people poor than sending them some aid matter?
"The Darwinism, which are still authorized today, justifies the capitalism's structure by applying the natural science's method for the economy: Its theory, that says that weaker animals will be prey for the stronger, is applied for our economic life, ... spiritual life and culture is reduced to nothing but an 'extravagance.'": What's stressed when we talk of the current capitalist economy is the "importance of the free competition," but this concept is a mere application of the biological theory into our economic field and is perfect in the respect that the fittest one will survive. It's true that the free competition gave rise to the effort to improve the products' quality, and that had brought us the current so-developed technology. Companies and those who work there, on the other hand, have been obliged to make the continuous effort to become the "fittest," spending everyday with less free time and in a nervous mood. The most severe problem, however, is that that theory shows no interest for the "non-fittests" that will lose the competition. In the nature the losers will die out and disappear on the Earth, but we can't apply the same principle to the economic "non-fittests": You can't tell them to die only because they're proved to be "non-fittest" for the economic free competition. The current economy urges us to do our utmost, but punishes the losers mercilessly. Once you lose your occupation you have no way to gain money, you'll be evicted from the appartment when the money runs out, and homelesses will suffer further social punishment(stones are thrown to them, bullying, arrests and imprisonment). If we go on this way all the culture, such as music, literature and arts, will be nothing but 'extravagance', or things of no value in the free competition's framework," and only the winners are entitled to enjoy them.
Ende talks another story in Zurich. When interviewed by a radio caster and asked if Zurich's streets are beautiful he gave a synical reply: "Of course it's a neat and clean city. But it won't be so pretty if you imagine the dead human bodies produced in the whole world by the Swiss military industry," but the bodies aren't being "produced" inside the Switzerland but in politically-unstable zones like South America, Africa or South-East Asia, concluded by Ende that "this is the result of the capitalist we live on." What's important in his following words "This can't last forever. Not only because this is againt our moral, but because this system is unsustainable." is his analysis from not the moral but the economic viewpoint. It's quite easy to say aloud "Stop killing because it's against our moral", a lot of such comments and political demonstration have been done until now, but oun of the reasons that prevent us from doing wars is the correspondence of the egoism of the military industry and that of the clients. For example, in zones with social unease or in a severe conflict with the neighboring nations nations or guerrillas need to keep the government by menacing people, more armament is required for them, and for the military industry such nations and guerrillas is one of the biggest clients. Such governments and guerrillas try to expand their military domination, and what's on ice is where the money paid for the purchase of such armament comes from. Especially the developping countries have to pay a bigger part of the budget for the armaments, which reduces the amont of money for the infrastructure or the elementary education. This makes it more difficult for the poors to get out of such poor a life, which sometimes leads them to get into contacting with guerrilla to keep their life or resorting to crimes as thefts or assaults, making the military industry even richer. But from the economic viewpoint such industry only exploits the precious fortune of such low-developed countries, and it's very probable that such poor countries will be out of the money even for such expenses.
Ende's another interesting comment on this chapter concerns the "self-recognition": "The psychoanalysis has no end... The true yourself, however, is outside of yourself," showing us the idea that our identity isn't based on the psychoanalysis, that looks for something bizarre inside yourself, but on the relation between the external world and yourself. Ende says that this idea is Steiner's one, but I find a similarity between it and Ortega's "I am me and my circumstance." Usually we tend to regard ourselves only as a composition of your body and mind, but in fact such ourselves are always in close touch with our surroundings("external world" by Ende's words and "circumstance" by Ortega's one), and part of your life is determined on it. For example: a good math student will be a computer engineer if he chooses to work for a computer-related firm, while he'll be an economic analyst if he works for a bank, which means our surroundings forms part of ourselves. We must be aware of the fact that even Sartre, who said "we are condamned to the free punishment," wasn't free from his surroundings that made his a philosopher.
This chapter begins with the suit on the movie "The Neverending Story." Spielberg's realization became a big hit, but the script for the movie was deformed, ignoring the author's right. Ende filed a suit but lost on it, and had to pay a big amount of money for compensation.
Next they'll discuss the current education which gives children no chance to make mistakes, and Ende gives a comment on human beings' growth and imagination, comparing it with the cause-and-effect theory.
1:"The current world is totally built up on the cause-and-effect theory. Techonology won't work well if it doesn't rely on such theory.. However, this idea can't be applied to us the human beings. We have some aspects that are incomprehensible from such viewpoint... If we try to analyze ourselves we'll exclude our capacity to 'hunch.'": A fact is being made clear here: that our hunch, which exists inside our consciousness, comes up from something out of the cause-and-effect theory. Ende goes on telling them his idea on 2, after showing the hunch's character as follows: "The hunch never comes from the cause-and-effect theory... But this doesn't mean that it surges without premise."
2: "It's the question of whether our freedom is recognized or not. If there's a freedom, you'll be unable to explain all our acts by the cause-and-effect theory. On the other hand, if you apply such theory for human beings, there'll be no freedom and no creativity. Our creativity is to produce something utterly new without being tied to the cause-and-effect theory's restriction... And I believe it's inside such creativity where human beings' values are." Not all the acts we do are on the cause-and-effect theory, and what are born out of it will produce a new world. Ende says this is true in the sense that even Einstein can't tell us how he hit on such extraordinary scientific theories(See "Einstein Roman" chapter 5), and we should accept the fact that our spirit has some characteristics that are against the cause-and-effect theory.
3: "Bees never makes up a pentagonal hive... Science is surely ruled by the cause-and-effect theory. But something the most humanly of the human beings, or our potentiality to produce something new from our inside and to work on the whole world from out of such theory, or something called "creativity," will be taken away if such theory is applied for us. Once we begin analyzing us after denying perfectly such potentiality we'll be more and more aggressive, for we feel ourselves confined into the internal prison. We grow violent because we feel our freedom is taken away. These days all the human beings are generally more and more aggresive, but I suppose it's a reaction to resist to such viewpoint based on the cause-and-effect theory." I suppose his idea isn't perfect because the Nature has already proved that a kind of monkey lives a different lifestyle on different regions, but nobody will doubt our creativity's power that has so far built such great civilizations. Such creativity, that derives from our free spirit devoid of the cause-and-effect theory, will eventually form furthermore new humanities, but once it's denied we can't enjoy such freedom, the dissatisfaction will be break out as violences like the cases in which children shot at school, and I suppose he'd foreseen such tendency more than ten years before.
The theme moves to Bastian's failures in "The Neverending Story," and Ende confesses his ambivalence: "I'd thought of my certain decision as a failure. But after a couple of years I found it right and five years I find it a failure. It's quite difficult only to know if your act is right or wrong," meaning that there's no evident criterion to judge what the "success" is and what the "failure" is. I suppose this idea can be also applied for the whole human history. For instance, Nazi left a huge traume on Europeans' hearts by their ethnocentrism, but "thanks to such fact" the Declaration of Human Rights was approved and now Europeans are trying to build a reciprocal relation on a community called EU, and we can't miss such positive following results. This fact reminds me of an Italian mayor's great decision: After the collapse of the Fascist regime people tried to remove a Mussolini's statue, but after all it was preserved thanks to the mayor's comment "Nobody can't change the history." Whether right or not the history will remain and it's important for those who live in the following times to accept what's really happened as a past facts. Ende says he came to know the importance of the failures on his experience for a theater: "Above all the practices on the theater are done to do as many failures as possible to make clear what's right," meaning that seeing what act brought you to the failure will lead you eventually to the success.
However, the attitude not to be afraid of failure(called "the desire for the pathos" in this book) is less and less shown by less and less people in today's world, followed by Ende's explanation: "In the modern society build on the cause-and-effect theory, we are forbidden to run the risk and feel ourselves in the middle of an impasse. The only way to do so nowaday is to become antisocial. The only sort of pathetic persons are gangs.. Every employee in big companies has to do their own duty and mustn't run the risk," and "It seems that the real power of growth, that turns us human, is now punished by the modern society, discouraging us more and more. We don't dare but adapt ourselves to the surroundings. Look at schools. Twenty years ago students are still rebelious. Now they don't even resist... They don't think of the direction they are heading for," pointing out that the current education system, turned into the factories to make up the human resources "useful" for the ongoing capitalist society, is now robbing us of our creativity.
Ende starts showing us his idea on arts after the talk on Koyasu family's quarrel. "Surely the post-war literature has so far spread away the idea that authors must illuminate readers and let them know the unknown facts. In short, authors are teachers who give readers lessons. However, I find it an arrogance," denying Brecht's idea to make use of arts for educational goals, and Ende tells how difficult it is to rebel against such trend of these times that trys to make us understand all intellectually: "What's really difficult for me was to avoid doing analyses in my own works. It was tremendous to forbid and erase every word that may seem explicative" Then he tells the arts' role: "Is there something I have to understand when I listen to the music? Maybe yes, if I majored in musicology and knew how to compose, I'd be willing to analyse it. But to understand? You don't need to understand music. All you have to do is to experience it. When I go to a concert I listen to a wonderful music. On my way to home, I'm filled with the happiness to have done such a good experience. But I never think I'm a bit more clever than before," telling furthermore that the arts' role for human beings is to "do a homeopathetic treatment," or to give them the immunity to a certain poison by injecting them a little of the same one, and that "Mirror in the Mirror," seemingly pessimistic, must be read from such a viewpoint. And he adds that arts are totally separated from our daily life as follows: "When you walk on a street you find a guy punching a woman. At the moment you're forced to do a moral decision. You can both ignore it, run away from the scene, or to rush toward the guy to stop the violence. This is the real life. When you see a theater, on the other hand, you see Othello killing Desdemona, you aren't forced to rush toward the scene but you can even enjoy the murder. In other words, at this moment you're out of the daily moral world to get into the arts' field. Arts and daily life are two separated areas," and that's why "The real arts depict unbearable vice or crimes. The best tragedies are really unbearable. But on the theater it evokes a reverse power in spectators' hearts by a homeopathic way. This power makes spectators even fine. This is the arts' secret."
At the end of the chapter "Mirror in the Mirror" is discussed, and Ende gives a comment on such a mysterious title. We tend to think that nothing is reflected on the Mirror in the Mirror, but in fact the infinite copies of a certain image is reflected on it, and such image is very similar to the process that happens between the book and the reader: "What two person read when they read the same book isn't the same, I believe, becase each of them brings themselves into the book on reading. They put their imagination, their way of thinking, their experience, and their sensibility into the book. So you can say books are always a mirror that reflects the reader themselves. In case the same person reads two different books, they lose their difference, even if they are written by distinct type of authors. When books are read by the same reader they share something, because the reader who sees the mirror is the same." Above all the contents in a book is seized differently depending on the reader's spirit, and maybe reading a book is reading what's inside ourselves.
This chapter begins with Michiko's question on why Ende opposes to the nuclear powerplants' construction, and Ende gives his unique reason to her: "What's the issue for me is more essential: our current economic life based on wasting the precious natural resources' energy as much as we like. It may run out in only 100 years all the oil we could favor us for milenia." Ende begins to ask us if we should go on increasing our energy consumption more and more, abd "IT(such a meaningless energy consumption) is tied up to the current consumption society's 'growth' system that has no limit. It's eager on iwasting more this year than last one. Our society itself will be unable to last if we go on this system, but 'more profit!' is for us a menacing obligation." condamning the current economy system that forces such "meaningless energy consumption." And adds Ende: "For me the question on nuclear powerplants' safety is less important." In shoty, what's more important for him is how to stop the limitless increase of energy demand, not how to satisfy it that never decreases. Ende sums up his idea in the following few words: "How to set people free from the economic growth's obligation."
Ende criticizes the current economy that takes the non-assured calculation into account: "The battle in today's economic world is not to increase the productivity but to enlarge the market. It's not about how to make but how to 'throw away' the products. Why is the U.S. more and more friendly with China? It's only because China has a big potential market," pointing out the economic battle on how to get the profit by selling away their products, and "But who buys such products? There must be those who want to buy and that can afford to pay money. A new 'perfect' thoery is established here. 'Let them first prosper with their emerging industry so that they can make enough money to buy our products.' - thid id the non-assured calculation which would be proved to be logically wrong: Because its self-conflict is evident," predicting that their intention to enlarge the market to sell away products would be a failure. We shouldn't forget the fact that Asian countries' economic growth in recent years, that favored the U.S. for enlarging their market, was realized thanks to a lot of debt that are now affliecting them with the financial crises(especially Thai and Indonesian ones). countries
Ende's economics goes back to Adam Smith's times. He thought that free maket would realize a balanced economy, but Ende says "It was nothing but a fantasy," telling that this current system has a critical failure, and explaining that "The conditions that enable this system to last forever are as follows; first of all, the existence of colony where exploitation is possible. Secondly, the existence of socially weaks, or labor class, that high class can exploit." Surely the British economy in the 19th century succeeded in supporting their own industry with British capital by selling their products to peoples in their colony for an extremely high price, but it's clear that this is far from the true 'free market' and is nothing but a economic system established thanks to the politic and military asylum called imperialism. In this current economy the market is now being assured, but it's necessary to get a cheap workforce to produce at a low cost, and the workforce is exploited in the developing countries. Ende says that as a result "Let's see Ethiopia for instance. This country has to export all the meat produced in that country only to pay the interest of the debt from Western countries." In other words, Ethiopians are forced to export the meat they were supposed to eat only so that those who live in the First World can enjoy it," naming it the "criminality in our economic system."
What's worse, however, is that nobody is aware of the fact that we're living in such economic structure. "Ah, how poor the Southern children are. Ah, they're dying of hunger with so empty stomach... We must help them. Let's send them some medicine, Let's collect money: But we're unaware that due to us they are hungry," criticizing the reality that we're unaware to see the relation between us and those who are deprived of their forture by the complicated international economy.
The next topic is far from economics: On St. Francis of Assisi, Italy. Asked "What would you do if you knew the world would end next week?" St. Francis answered that "Even so I'd go on seeding." Ende spoke of such episode on "Fantasy, Politics, Arts" and Michiko asks on it, and Ende explains that this is a "supernatural" human virtue that is innate to the European theology; "belief," "love" and "hope," because such virtues emerge "despite." For instance, hope is the psychology that supports you to survive with a determined minde despite you're in a sever situation the war obliges you, love comes out of the logical dimension(nobody can tell you why they love such person), and also as to the belief you can't get any answer that satisfy the causal way of thinking even you ask bishops why they believe in God. Ende suggests that such virtues set us free from the materialism and cause-and-effect theory to live a more human life.
Now they talk on Steiner's ideas and on the anthroposophy. It's well known that Ende spent his last year of Gymnasium in a Steiner school, but Ende says it impacted him little: "After graduating I was rather far from anthroposophers." But after such distancing "I came across a question. What 'study' tell us of living things and what has its own soul?," he began to ask it by himself, began to read various books. and came to read Steiner due to numerous quotation on him. And Ende alarms us on how to read Steiner's thought: "When reading his works you can't read them as ones of a professor of a modern university," telling us not to read it logically as other theses, making the contradictions on his books clear: "His words come from a recognition with a long process. It's nonsense to cling to them as though they were golden law... To read Steiner is to urge readers to do their own process to create on their thinking." We can't forget what's important on reading Steiner's books isn't the result but the process that gave birth to such result.
Ende says furthermore, on the fact that more and more people are interested in Steiner's ideas, giving the example of a Scotch garden that succeeded in increasing the harvest by collaborating with fairys: "Isn't it necessary now for us to collaborate with natural spirits(Geist in German)?," posing a question on us. Ende says it's necessary to have such reform of our consciousness, or the attitude to live together with the nature that are inpercible from the materislistic viewpoint(See "Einstein Roman 6" for detail), but such consciousness "shouldn't try to go back to a certain period," or "we'll experience another Nazi or Khomeini." What's important for us now is "To think over, by ourselves, the hypothesis that separates the whole world into the subjective and objective ones to see that such hypothesis is false."
Ende wishes "I hope that Eastern world and Europe have a true talk on the artistic and cultural issues," because "Both of them have their own great tradition while European one is distinct from the Eastern one, so the talk between them will be very fruitful." In fact Ende is very familiar with Japanese culture, talking various times on the difference between Japan and Europe and the potential cultural fusion, implying that on "Goggolori" he'd apply a Kabuki method, but I'm not sure if he managed to do it or not.
In this chapter what Ende realizes by his works is talked. He says "What I always try to do is very similar to the alchemists or storytellers in the Middle Age, i. e. to translate or transform the external world's representation into the internal one's figures... All the cultures in any region or any time are nothing but the formation of the external world by the internal one's criteria," telling on the problems the 20th-century culture is with that "It'll sound you extreme, but we'll lose our whole culture if we are unable to make the external world and internal one to be mutually-permeable and circulable with reflected figures appearing on both mirrors," alarming the crisis we're potentially going in for by the modern age which has already separated the external and internal ones. Aren't we already in an urgent situation if we(especially those who live in cities) have already lost something indispensable for human beings by living surrounded by inhuman buildings?
After that they move to "Momo" and Ende, after telling that the men in grey, symbol of the measurable thinking, are unable to seize the unmeasurable quality, gives his comment on his own works: "People think I suggested them to live less hasted a life, but I tried to say something more," followed by his confession: "The more time people are deprived of, the more life they are deprived of, and there's a some power that promotes such trend. There's another one, however, that gives us a healing way. I tried to imply in my works." The act of confessing his intention on his works is against his own philosophy, but is typical of Ende.
And they get into the moral, which is the theme of this chapter: "The true moral doesn't obey to the criteria given from outside but occurs as one's own spontaneous decision," implying that human beings are supposed to make a moral decision in any moment of their life. After that Michiko asks him how she must be as a literateur, and he gives the answer that it's to make the quality that rests inside the literary works clear. And the literateurs' role is to tell readers the quality that exists despite its unmeasurability. I suppose both moral and quality are produced by our own spontaneity, but what do you think of my idea?
On VI Ende's youth is talked, and I won't tell you about it because this theme is far from the one I treat on this page.
At the end of the talk the three go to a Japanese restaurant in Munich where Ende tells of his experience of good courtesy by Japanese women in a Japanese restaurant on his first visit to Michiko's country, concluding that "Japanese society is controled by men." This idea is nothing but his mere opinion based on his experience, but they began to talk about the mens' and womens' social position. Ende comments "Men and women are different, fortunately. / The result of so-called woman-live is nothing but to prove that women can do everything men can. Isn't it the true liberation movement to find and appreciate womens' values?," afraid that women lose their own characteristics by masculizing in the situation that women gain the same right as men in public cases.
And Ende finishes the talk with an interesting observation: "I suppose human beings have two wonderful phenomena: one is 'memory,' and everybody is aware of it... The another is the act to 'forget,' and I suppose this is even more important than memory," evaluating our act to forget and explaining the reason. "What you once memorizes is forgotten.. Do you know where it goes? To our unconsciousness. It becomes the base for my life's whole continuity... Usually everything is transformed in the depth of the unconsciousness, which will eventually form our own personality with a huge amount of other unconscious memories." And "The more memory you forget, the richer personality you'll get... The more past you have in mind, the more future you'll have. Not only the past you remember consciously, but also the one that are sunk into the bottom of oblivia will be deformed and reflected in your future," telling the importance of subconscious memory. Ende's such attitude to believe in the consciousness' positive effect is against Freud's one(the trauma you got in the past has been an obstacle that prevents you from succeses," and I have to beg you a pardon because with so little knowledge on Ende I'm unable to compile on such ideas.