安部公房の演説 Talks by Kobo Abe

Completely fulfilling jail cell or completely deprived freedom? This is the question Kobo Abe asked in his talk among some things he talked about. In later parts of the talk, he talks about the role of literary works. I really enjoyed this talk,  but it is in Japanese, so I write down some of his points below.

Which one would we choose? Completely fulfilling jail cell, or completely deprived freedom? Our lives are double-crossing of both. We generally choose more predictable situations. Almost all the science are attempts to predict the future. Human thoughts and efforts seek stability. But if everything were predictable, we would not be able to tolerate it. We would kill ourselves. Desire of people who practice literacy works and other forms of arts is to put themselves in the deprived freedom. Fortune-telling has the exact opposite role as literacy works. There is a type of novel that corners people into the deprived freedom. Literacy works are useless things, they are not practical things. But if there is a reason why literature exists, I think bringing people back to the deprived freedom is the literacy works’ only reason of existence.

What do you think? I watched Groundhog Day a few days ago and reminded me of this talk not entirely but a little bit especially when Bill Murray was freaking out because everyday was Groundhog Day. I think “deprived freedom” is what’s essential to develop our individuality and internal freedom. “Fulfilling jail cell” would make us and our minds powerless.

完全に満たされた独房か、完全に欠乏した自由か?予測可能な未来と、次の瞬間が予 測できない状況。我々は両方に二股かけた感じで生きている、実際に次が見えてしまうと人間はそれに耐えることができない。人間は予測可能な状態を自ら選 ぶ。例えば占いなんかは人間の未来を予測したいという願望の現れである。しかし文学と占いは正反対の役割を果たすものである。欠乏した自由の方に身を置く ということが、文学、芸術一般に身を置く人々の欲望。そして欠乏した自由の方に人間を追い込むタイプの文学がある。それは本質として人間を不安に陥れる。世の中のほとんどのもの、自然科学は未来を予測しようとするもの。人間の思考や努力は安定を求める、だけど文学は人間をまた欠乏した自由の方向に引き戻すという役割がある。僕はそれが文学の存在理由だと思う。

といったようなことを彼は語っています。

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