I can see God in front of me

Interview with German Sadulaev
September 17, 2011
What can you see in front of you right now?

I can see God in front of me. Now and always. Because there is nothing here except God. But I, like you, see in front of me only his lower energy, matter. It is also called ‘the illusory’. But not in the sense that it is by itself illusory—all emanations of God possess an element of the real. And matter is also real. This is easy to prove: there is a wall in front of me, it’s real, I’ll feel it immediately if I knock my head against it. One can, of course, solve this contradiction with a bit of sophistry, saying that my head is an illusion too, like the wall. But all this postmodern stuff about extreme subjectivity is absolute crap. These bits of sophistry don’t make your head feel any better, the bump doesn’t disappear and the pain doesn’t go away. This energy is illusory in the sense that my notion of it and of myself in relation to it are an illusion. I think that I am a god, that I am the owner of this flat and of this wall in it. But in fact the flat belongs to some other person, and he pays its mortgage, but the bank does not even own itself, and the shareholders of the bank, they also think that they own something, but tomorrow the state will take their shares or the market will fall, although the state only exists in the form of our notion of it, and there really is no market anywhere. So all that is left is God—he is both the owner and the object.

What will your next book be about?

I’m going to write another book?

Who do you think is the best writer of your generation and why? You don’t need to name anyone in particular.

It’s good that we don’t have to mention a specific name. It would be even better not to mention a specific generation. Which of them is mine and why? And I don’t know who is the best; I don’t even know what it means to be the best. There are writers who I fall into sync with as a reader. For me they are the best, and for me they are my generation. However, if we are being specific about which of us, the authors of my best, is the coolest—then it’s Elizarov. Mikhail Elizarov is the coolest.

What story can grip any reader?

A story about the reader themselves, of course.

Is there really something special about Russian literature, or is this just an excuse made by people who are only interesting to Russian readers?

In Russian literature there is something special, and this, no doubt, is an excuse made by people whom no-one, not even their fellow-countrymen, finds interesting. The Russian world is very large. It’s twice the size of Russia. More than a hundred million Russians live here, and about the same again all over the world. If we could write something that would interest every Russian, then it would interest the whole world, there’s no doubt about that. But do we even find ourselves interesting? We find ourselves boring—so why should the rest of the world find us interesting. The rest of the world continues to read Russian literature in which there is something special—Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

Originally published in Russian on Afisha. Translated by Academia Rossica