We spoke with Vytautas Landsbergis on November 28, 2018 in Vilnius, for the conclusive chapter "The Absolute Truth" of the documentary "Three". This interview was video recorded. The text originally appeared in Lithuanian language on the blog "Maratono laukas" on March 2nd, 2019.


I will start freely asking you: in general, do you remember situations where you had a feeling of knowing the truth when you felt you knew the truth?

The truth is, you are asking me this in a very abstract way. So, to think about the truth in general to me is a bit of an empty thing, or some kind of theoretical, scholastic, philosophical-theoretical matter that may be applicable to reality, but it does not come from our reality problems.

But I inquire about the situations. If you remember, I imagine how a person's perception of truth reflects on their daily lives — what does he do, how does he behave?

Again, you speak of a truth as a thing that you can take, flip through and apply or not to apply to yourself. I don't understand this.

For me, it is actually an abstract term — about "what". You are saying "a sense of truth". There is no abstract sense of truth, there are questions of existence that we may ask ourselves, or therefore entire mankind occasionally asking those questions: "Why are we?" or "Who are we?"

Once, I put together a poem about a monkey: when this monkey came up with the question "Who am I?" and then the rest followed: "Why am I?" then human existence began.

I will read one verse of yours, which, it seems to me, can be suitable here:
Through Cataclysm of Atrocities
Cheering healthy optimism:
When a man will stop prevailed —
All the beetles will remain

Here, after all, is there some truth in this?

Well, it's a high hope that beetles will stay after us. [Laughs]

There are such simple-minded people on this planet, not philosophers kind, but thinking about life kind; they have come to the conclusion that we are not a planet of people — Earth is the planet of insects, beetles, because there are many more of them, and they make up the bulk of life, somehow biologically inhabiting, and the man is a casual and possibly temporary accessory, which itself already promises to self-destruction, but beetles will remain eventually. I would think, man, will not be able to make a planet Earth completely uninhabited like Mars.

Such mockery exists in those ranks you read. “When a man will stop prevailed” — he actually disappears, humanity diminishes, man becomes more and more "human-less" no matter how outrageous and snug he can be, and the whole limit of his powers is self-destruction. I think it will not destroy a planet with all beetles — hence my optimism.

Beautiful. Although sad, but beautiful. Maybe you would remember your conversation with Ravi Shankar ? Also, about the truths, because he was asking all kinds of truths here, you would ask him, he would answer you. Have you managed to figure out something with him?

I would have to think now, to recreate each other exchange of thoughts from memory, but I think we would spend too much time on this here.

Well, it is not necessary, if it is not viable, then let’s just leave like this. You can better tell us what you pondered or prepared for, almost without knowing where you are going and what we are going to talk about here.

I’ve been talking a little bit about it already, how you’ve phrased it, the truth, especially since the absolute truth is even wider abstraction; because if absolute truth exists, then there is non-absolute truth, partial, and conditional truth as well, all sorts of truths come out of that as if they are placed in some sort of shelves or shells, if you will, however, they are content free. Those shells or frames are used to fool someone or you can place something in them. In fact, you could tell the truth exists as a question, however unlikely it exists as a subject or an object. There is the truth about something or someone’s truth, I would say, what truth, about what, whose truth? Suddenly we are confronted with all sorts of smart thinking: your truth is this, my truth is that, which means that there is no truth at all, there are only partial, relative, and so forth truths. So, if you wish, we can talk about a relative or pretending truths, however, there is no point to talk about perfect, abstract truth.

Professor Algis Mickūnas , with whom we all had dinner together, was sitting here, and he said that there was the truth, timeless, eternal, well, at least as I understood it, mathematical... The triangle exists regardless of our view of it. "Mathematics does not exist in our consciousness, whether we look at it or not, it will be no matter what" — he said so. It seems to me that maybe... that you, for some reason, I have a suspicion that you feel, it is more than mathematics?

First of all, to me, the truth is, if we talk about it, something that goes through a man, from person to person. Even if the truth of one person, another or third person, is a shared truth that may be common to all mankind, then my question is "What is a man"? Are we talking about all the people, is this the person we are talking about and does the "whole" person has any truth? Does he know and lives by it or just knows? Then there is the entity that has the truth, and not some kind of cosmic formula that no one even knows about. If Mickūnas knows it, he is already the realizer and bearer of the truth.

Yes, but he testifies to that knowingness through his presence, his life, his actions as he shares the truth he knows. And if everyone did that, would the world be different, humanity would be different?

First of all, you could say, the truth is that knowledge is what you believe in, and you can have it as a gift, as a revelation. You received it and you know it. Then, such knowledge can be called, perhaps, the truth. But in other cases, truth is derived from some other knowledge, or a lot of new truths come out of it, and that one truth, let's say the truth about being, and if a person is the one who uses concepts and wants to understand something out of them, then he is the master or the perpetrator that in general there is a question of truth. Man is to blame for that.

After all, it didn't come from the stars, some kind of geometric triangle; a man had to think that there is such a triangle and he is responsible for coming up with that triangle concept. I think so. It might be interesting to discuss this with Professor Mickūnas here. But since it passes through the human being, it is always possible (or I prefer that way) for the term "human being" to be seen in both dimensions — the individual and the whole. Otherwise, we may be roaming for a hundred years.

Individuals have millions of all sorts of opinions and thoughts. Or don't have, but could have. And that man, who is just a creature on this planet, well, he has something in common, and that is the knowledge of that universal man, let's say it is. Yes, he can extrapolate it to a deity that it is God who said it was. And who is he? Hindu oldest wisdom says, "I am what I am." And I do not need to explain — "I am". And then this "I" is then as universal as, let’s say, the consciousness in which the perception was born, the self-concept that I am, and then all the subsequent questions arise.

Like the monkey that suddenly thought, "Who am I?", "I was scratching, and scratching the back of my head, it was itching or something, there might be beetle breeding there or something like that, and all of a sudden I was like, who's scratching that the back of my head?" How do you look at yourself from a distance? "Who am I?" The question arose, and then human existence began.

Then he asks, "And why am I?" And the more meaningful question is: "Who am I? Does anybody need me?" This is one of the main questions these days. When I talk to young people sometimes, I advise not to think "what I need" but "does anybody need me?". And if so, who/what needs me? Perhaps there would be smarter answers. Not just a desperate question of an egoist, "What else do I need?"

Yes, but you need to ask questions to get answers.

Yes, you need to ask. But if you only ask, "what else do I need?" you can take a shovel and go dig a pit for yourself. And dig yourself in there. Basic knowledge begins with that, and here it is the fundamental thing — knowing that you are. I know that I am. I realized that I am. I am something. Or maybe I dream that I am? For centuries this question has been raised. Ancient thinkers thought that maybe it was just a dream. Is that really the case? How are we acting, being, arguing, talking, fighting, demanding — is it a reality or just a dream? And perhaps it is God's dream about us?

And does it matter to you to find out the answer to this question?

I don't think that possible answer even exists. Are we ourselves or does anyone dream of us, and we just think we are? It cannot be guaranteed. Maybe we are part of the project. Whether it's deity or nature, the cosmos — after all, name it as you like it — is still about the same. Some kind of project is happening and we are part of it.

I agree. But then, no matter what the project is, whether somebody dreams here, the way the monkey snapped and realized, started to think, ask questions. Still, getting involved with that project is important. It seems to me, that... and you said a few things right now like this is what unites all people. It is not obvious to everyone, others think that they are not connected by anyone, they only think of themselves, there are several, but not…

This is what unites them to make them so stupid. And it connects them. Here is their communion, their destiny, their misfortune. Maybe they would not feel eternally unhappy unless they thought they were by themselves and they did not know where they came from. Some great philosophers have said that existing is a disaster. We are thrown in here. Neither we asked nor we wanted, thrown us in and we have ground for a while. [Laughs]

And then that time runs out and then there is no problem. But again, the question is: if you dream that you are, maybe you are just dreaming that you are, then your dream is also a presence or a way of being — to dream about yourself, for example. It means a certain presence, state. And then you receive a simple truth that, nevertheless, you are, you dream.

There is another such phenomenon — suffering. There are also philosophies that claim to be overshadowed by suffering. It seems to me that it relates to what we are talking about. And in your case, again, I may be wrong, but I have the feeling that you have found a very good relationship: you do not deny it, but at the same time somehow tame that existential suffering and you can talk about serious, painful things calmly, even with a smile. And that is interesting, it is an exceptional thing.

When we think and talk about that simple truth, there is a possibility that you are dreaming about something and it is either scary or crazy to me or disgusting to me; I want or don’t want it to continue — because it is so disgusting or so beautiful. Maybe it is so beautiful that I don’t want it anymore? In order not to disappear... Anything is possible. Or, of course, it can be so disgusting that I no longer want to exist anymore so that feeling of disgust would go away.

These are the extreme cases of humanity, the same suffering here. I am scared. Because I am frightened, it is hard to respect myself and everything can look gross. And the very existence — suffering, "a hill of tears" — is a saying that comes from old age. I don't think life is a hill of tears. It can be understood in a completely different way. Life, that piece of time, that you have (here you are or dream that you are) is a gift. You received a gift, so why should you feel disgusted? Even if all kinds of ugly things are mixed in there or something like that, there is never only just ugly things. There are both beautiful and joyful: there is joy, there is love, there is what a person supports himself with!

So, everything fits in the same presence. You are, you exist, you are already... we have agreed that we are, and that is a fact. You can say that THIS is the truth. I would like the truth to be any fact which we acknowledge. There is no denying that we are, even if we are only dreaming. But still we are that way, we have the ability to dream of ourselves, or maybe we truly are, I do not deny it, but we are for a while.

That fact of existence is usually rooted in all sorts of facts which we already regard as facts; that is, well, things, events are also facts, facts of existence are certain events. This is what the whole self-concept consists of, even beginning with the biological self-concept, we could say the bio-concept. Here is an item to eat! I realize: I can eat it. Here is a woman I can have. Here is a man who can have me if I am a woman, but I can have him, and anything else can come out of it. Such biofacts, truths, very simple truths, all of it is the biological state of, say, existence itself. You're like an organism, but you already exist, and some ideas in your head come out of that. That would be bio-state and bio-truth, which I named here. Biological truths, that’s the actual truth, I was able to do it and I did it.

And then — is the fact that there is drinking water in the glass here, or is it true? Is that the truth or the name of something? We can use names; we don’t know otherwise.

But you made the most of it, and now, even though we started with abstractions, we moved on to specifics, and, I think you put it very nicely. And then I want to ask you this thing: you can be accused of all sins by many people, but surely no one can accuse you of being a coward. In most cases, you proved that you are, were a brave person. And then, I'm sure you had to rely on some truth, am I mistaken?

This question becomes secondary if fear is related to your destiny. Destiny is nothing compared to those beetles. But there may be the destiny of other people or people close to me. The fate of many people, well, I would say fear for them, but in some cases there is a sense of responsibility and you can feel the responsibility that your actions depend on their fate.

You may feel fear and escape, retire, give up all duties — live as you pleased and just leave me alone... Well, nowadays I have such thoughts sometimes. When I am asked, "What do you really want?" I respond "I wish I would be left alone". [Laughs]

But there was such a time, and generally, there is always a time when you can do something and then you are responsible. You think you are doing the right thing. You are trying to help someone or protect, defend, and someone tells you that you actually did something wrong, so it ended up being worse. But you can't argue. It's just that "calculator" — a higher power, that will count whether it went any worse, or whether my presence and functioning had some meaning, perhaps a little positive.

That is the hope when you live with hope. If you didn't have the hope that your presence makes sense, well, you would be endlessly sad and probably not want to exist. You would continue with that hill of tears and look at the clock: how much misery is there left for me? [Laughs]

There is another truth. You’re holding a picture album. When it comes to aesthetics and beauty, this is where the term "taste" comes in. There are art critics who set canons, and some people feel beauty more than others. Are there truths here? Is there some sort of measure by which beauty is measured?

Well, beauty is again a separate issue. Is this a problem or is it fictional again? Perhaps the truth itself is fiction, and beauty is also one of those fictions that gives meaning to our presence. What are we excited about? Something that is beautiful to us? Like it or not, we like to rejoice. It is a natural thing if we are such conscious organisms that have even begun to think about ourselves: "Who am I? And why something is beautiful to me?" Well, yes, "something" is nice to me, and now I realize that there is a difference between what is ugly to me — either visually ugly or morally ugly.

I don't want to be like that! I cannot change my appearance; I may not like myself in other respects. And if those things are subordinates to me, maybe I can be better? There should be a question for every person. And God is trying to remind us about it, that you can be better, do not be like that — wretched, nasty, harmful to others; be helpful, be a brother, not a wolf. [Laughs]

Well, here we are... We move on to simple concepts, but there is a certain entirety. Again, I mean, man is not the only one who is a wolf or brother to anyone, they are all — the man, his whole. Well, as one man is, so this entirety, maybe, is meant for someone and has a meaning. If that meaning is not for anyone, does it even exist?

I once came up with a very heretical idea, which I would probably be condemned by theologians, may be burned to the scrap in the old days: that God had to invent a man, otherwise He would not have a meaning. He needed to have something for himself to see. Then, God himself would see that He is something, that He is needed even if He is intimidating or hated, but He exists for someone. And if for nobody, then does not exist.

Self-reliant finding.

If there is nothing, no one looks at nothing. If no one is looking at anything, they are not even looking, because there is nothing — neither the viewer nor the object. And here I am holding a picture, with the viewer in it. That picture is called "Thought". If there is a thought, even the thought of existing nothingness — so it exists, so it is nothing. We are related to that.

Then there is that monkey’s question: who has that idea anyway, let's say, nurture it somehow, ponder, bring it with them, try to share — who? It means we have the answer here — there is "Who". Not that there is nothing at all... Nobody brought and shared anything with anyone.

I mentioned that Ramayana philosophy: "I am what it is." There are three elements in this sentence: first, "I am" because if I am, I really am, otherwise there is no other than that "I", and if I am not, there is nothing. I am. And "I am what it is" — as entirety.

This level of consciousness already leads us to some attempts almost like the monkey is trying to get around himself. "I am" in Latin is "sum". Ergo sum. The philosopher René Descartes said the famous formula: "cogito ergo sum" — I think, therefore I am. Today we would say that when you are thinking, it is not yet known whether you will reach the truth. You can think of the nasty things to the point of self-destruction.

There is another attitude: "I love, therefore I am." And herein that truth, you can't destroy anything because "I feel" is "I am". Who feels? The one who feels.

Then we conclude what the Teacher of the last 2000 years has told us. It answers to your question. There was an eternal question: "What is the truth?" One came and said, "I am the truth." For this, he was crucified. Too simple.

Man needs to suffer, for some reason the Creator allowed him to be not just a biological beetle, but to have this calling to seek answers, to think of all kinds of questions, otherwise, there is no meaning. He learns, complains, responds, gets angry with himself, kills his neighbor, and eventually kills himself. Or rejoices when he realizes: "I scratched and scratched the back of my head and I came up with some ideas." That is me, and I may be worth something. Something that I didn’t have before, arises from me. Nobody had thoughts in the past, and here's the one... He must be satisfied, he starts comparing himself to God.

You mentioned artists. A regular artist, like a scientist, let’s say, Einstein , does not necessarily equate himself with God, but sometimes feels like God's tool, God's pencil. It is not me, who writes formulas, but those formulas are written through me so that "they" know how to receive the message. The same is true with artists — they report. By the way, everything is messaging. What we do, what we eat, what we talk about — everything is the message to others. For those who are capable, who have a membrane or antenna, receive a wave and accept the message. And we release and release those waves. Sometimes it may seem hopeless.

Back in the day, there was a movie called "The Day After" . After the nuclear war, one of the last ships sail in the ocean and is looking for the remaining people. Somewhere in the distance, they see one signal, and they swim in that direction to search. And it seems to me they're discovering California, San Diego, some cities — all ruins, nothing present. But there is a machine, hanging on one of the ruins and it releases out a signal when the wind blows, and they thought there were still humans out there.

This is how we also allow signals to be triggered, probably even when we cease to exist. Our thoughts, our deeds, our descendants, our children — these are some of our signals that extend our existence. Assume that there is a meaning in this. Such a thought, that everything is meaningless, should not be entirely ruled out. Is it really all meaningless?

It has been done so much and still continues with research, and common person is happy to see the probe launched there, the probe has landed successfully, soon it will descend into the sun itself, and people are glad that they can, they still are capable to achieve. All right, they see the meaning in that, and there is the meaning of their presence. Here is the painting that also has a lot of questions. Well, let's take this one. You can show it to the camera.

Mhm.

Someone has a thought, so it speaks about the thought. If there is no initial thought, then there is nothing, we have nothing to talk about. But if there is a thought, and there is thought between us, we share it, then there is something. That "something" is needed to make a thought. And the thought is required for anything to exist. Because if there is no thought of something, then that "something" does not exist — nothing exists. Here is the alternative: either nothing about nothing, and then we just cool our mouths unnecessarily, or however — not really about anything and not really anything. Then you have such a strange question about the truth. Truth and alternative — "untruth". Then, we move to a very basic level — a lie. Lie — you speak untruth or you think untruth, maybe you have been told an untruth. You think this is the truth and you can kill for it: "No, it is the truth, I would rather kill you, but that is my truth!" At that point everything is nonsense.

I agree. It is also possible that the alternative to knowing the truth or the truth is ignorance, a doubt. Just like you said — some belief in nothing or fear of knowing something…

Doubt is the belief that there is something, I already have something — I have doubts. Right now, I have, I go with my doubt. And I can go on for life. And that great Human and humanity go with their doubts. Doubts are reflected in artwork, philosophy, poetry — wherever you want. I remember one of Heinrich Heine's poems from my youth days which later I read it from memory to my students, which Balys Sruoga very nicely translated, perhaps in Stutthof or immediately upon returning. I’m shorting it from memory:

At night by the sea, the desolate sea,
Doth a young man stand,
His head full of doubt, his heart full of anguish,
And with livid lips he questions the billows:
'The Riddle of Life, oh, read me,
That world-old tormenting riddle,
O'er which have been addled heads without number,
Heads in strange hieroglyphic bonnets,
Heads in turbans, and barret-caps black,
Heads in perukes, and a thousand other
Plagued and perspiring heads of mortals—
Tell me now the meaning of man!
Whence comes he coming ? Where goes he gone ?
Who dwells up there in the golden starfields?'
The billows but murmur their murmur eternal,
Still blows the wind, the clouds still go sailing,
The stars go on twinkling, indifferent and cold,
And a fool waits for the answer.

So not the answer is your breakthrough, but your presence with the question. Your gift even suffering. Thank you for that suffering, you should say. I might not be there at all, or I might just be one of those beetles. Or maybe they also think something? We don't know. Sometimes it turns out that plants feel and they might think. We don't know much. As Shakespeare said, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

I was reminded of one dialogue between Buddha and Ānanda when Ānanda asks the Buddha whether it is easy to think of nirvana . The Buddha replied, "Yes, it is very difficult to think of nirvana, but a thousand times more difficult to think about thinking."

Yes, thinking about it can be a pointless thing at all. Čiurlionis wrote in a letter to his brother: "Don’t suffer! Thinking, especially about yourself, you will never find good". It doesn't make sense. It's the same as, well... He used that word; I didn't find it anywhere — "wszechbyt" — presence. There is no answer there for what it is.

You can turn grey while overthinking this, but I do not advise. Maybe for the sake of life, you can do something useful, beautiful, or give someone happiness, reaching out to someone instead of sitting like a Faust and torturing till old age, forgetting that there is still a life.

There is life, there is art. You are not only researching music, not just playing, teaching others. What is the most important for you?

One old educator, a music educator, has written very nice thoughts. I found it, and there is the idea that "No one can teach music. But a student can and does learn by hearing his or her inner voice". It would seem then that the teacher is unnecessary if he cannot teach. But can that inner voice be slightly awakened? Here the task of the teacher and his mission, if he sees that he is a little lucky, that something was born in another person's soul.

You had to meet at least one person to whom you awaken that voice — Rokas Zubovas .

No, everybody awakens inner voice to one another, and somebody also awakened mine, maybe not always successfully, but sometimes. I remember different things, I carry that within me, I try to share, and I know that I will take many, many things with me without sharing, it will only be mine and no heritage. Or maybe through some intermediates or someone else.

But this action (or result) also depends on the recipient, who you share it with.

Yes, but you share what fate has sent you. I remember my pedagogical work with very untalented people too, where you could say that it’s almost pointless, but there is always a meaning. It was possible to joke like this while talking at the Conservatory for students centenary. Maybe I was in the final year already, maybe not, maybe the final year colleagues were doing a performance and there was a scene with Professor Balys Dvarionas

Played him?

Yes. And Professor Dvarionas said there on stage that working with a student doesn't make sense: if he is gifted, he knows it anyway, and if he is talentless, you are talking to a wall. It is a humorous and extreme attitude, but it is never a "wall", however, you get to interact with what fate has brought you. Maybe you will appear to them, scanty, loser and somehow just a jerk. Doesn’t matter if something will or will not come out of that, but you exist. And as violinist Livontas , at the conservatory, when he was asked "How are you? How do you live, maestro?". He used to say: "Functioning". "He was not a party functionary [Laughs], but no matter what you do — you’re functioning.

Well, that's also a relationship — you do the function.

Yes.

And who else do you care about from poets or writers?

Rabindranath Tagore was a very valuable, very close to me, and made a huge impact in my young days. Also, Heine . I read, quoted and translated a lot of his work. All kinds of things remain.

As you mentioned the boundary that ends an episode called your life, probably biological, then maybe some social, spiritual, there is still a limit to such possibilities. The thought from Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" stuck in me. There was a rural philosopher or rural hobo who impressed young people traveling by car in America with a broken car — about death. He shrugged: what is there, there's nothing to talk about: when you die, you're dead, and that's it.

But if you take that formula, you still are. You’re dead. And you may be dead because you lived before that. If you had not lived, you would not even have died. [Laughs]

Well, you provoked me.

All right. No, we are glad we provoked, but there seems to be no harm here, there will be something good. We will show you what we have assembled, we will discover what we have got, even here we have received far more than we expected, thank you very much.

It's okay if I'm not sentenced to die. An old man was sentenced to death for stigmatizing youth.

Yes.

By giving them doubts and questioning authority. And by the way, he was the one who said, "I know that I don't know anything." But he knew the most important thing. [Laughs]

One of his researchers said, "Well, modern man would not endure more than ten minutes of conversation with Socrates." [Laughs]

There is nothing you can do, how weak that modern man is. Compassion is always needed. But probably Socrates abused it a little, so he received a decent reward, and accepted it as if it was well deserved, or just because he was tired. After all, he was offered to flee, and he said, "I lived here, I fought for Athens, I did what I could, but for Athens. And if Athens decided that I should die, why should... "

He might not have said "betray them", but if he ran, he would betray both Athens and himself.

Yes, it is beautiful, there are his beautiful thoughts of it also. It is also beautiful about the immortality of the soul, "Faidon" where there was a conversation approaching the verge.

He said so simply what was very acceptable to me, and when asked what I think about "afterwards" I answer, much like Socrates, "Why would I think — I will find out right away." And the best part, there is no wrong answer. Or I will find this kind of sleep without dreams, without feelings, without the pain you can dream of, that you would sleep like that. Or you will find lots of acquaintances, strangers, you would have liked to have met, but now you have met them, which is not bad either.

Looking forward to new conversations.

I can just assume I will meet mom. Perhaps a lot of people consciously or unconsciously think so. And that monkey, the first thing he, probably, realized was that it is good for him — it's good to be with his mom. Maybe this is where the man started?

Man — yes. We had here a biology professor last time, the truthful man, Rolandas Meškys . We explored the difference between living and non-existence, where the boundary is. The boundary is unclear. Even now, science has come to such an extent that there is disagreement even within Life Sciences Center. People work… Some agree that the boundary is here, the others — a little bit there. Nothing affects that — they continue their work. Their work does not interfere with this disagreement.

Modeling is happening as we speak: whether I am, is this just a dream. It creates life as well. And everything happens, let's say, looks like life is happening. And molecules are similar to molecules, and they reproduce similarly…

Well, there are similarities, but then there are times when, like, say, intelligence, well, the phone already has intelligence. Okay, some people are happy with the intelligence that comes with the phone. It's the same with some moving…

The phone is some sort of very distant product. Being a phone yourself. When you realize you are a phone, even if you are talking to yourself, you are there already. But for those who talk about a separate phone, they greatly ease the task for themselves.

Well yes, thought tracking is a challenge. Yes, here is one of those words which are a challenge.

It got hammered, from either inside or outside of the brain, or from outside you got a hammer through the skull — hammered anyway.

Yes, but you notice it, you can't deny it.

Even if it hurts, if you are a human being, you are ... running away from it, pulling instinctively. These are nerve signals, all kinds of things, but you are wondering why it hurts, maybe not just by running away, how to avoid that. Or does that pain make sense?

Then the sages have come to the conclusion that pain is a signal. Very simple, but it is a signal. Not the pain itself is wrong and evil, but there is some evil that sends a signal; you need to be concerned. That monkey had a very long way to go. To the harp, so, my God! [Laughs]

To the harp. All right.

And still a monkey left, but already has a harp.

Yes. And he has already taught other monkeys...

And where did the harp came from? I was doing music history, and I used to tell the students. One of the monkeys, when he came up with the idea while ​​throwing an arrow, knocking something off, starting it off a string, starting a tight string, it was a big invention. And then he noticed: wait, that string makes a sound! I let go of the arrow, and the string still sounds — a by-product.

Do you think that it was still the arrow first? It wasn't that…

Well, the first one was hunger. The creature had to be slaughtered and eaten. You throw a stone, you come with a stone in your hand, but you can launch from a distance — great inventions here. And when David had cast out the stone, he bumped off Goliath himself. You know, it's like a nuclear weapon here.

Here, our drummer Vladimiras Tarasovas showed how he played the oldest drum in the world: somewhere in Azerbaijan he found a stone with a cavity and he beat another stone in several places for a long time, two hours pounded, filmed it — everything is beautiful. So, I thought, maybe before that stone was thrown, that person or that monkey was beating and admiring the sound?

No doubt, no doubt. After all, there are natural percussion instruments like the ground you hit with your foot and it makes a sound. And when it's still rhythmic, what a sound! This is where all kinds of Jamaican barrels come in, you know, the sea throws empty barrels, people fix and play them, and they get off very well. Or I remember Tarzan , it was such a very impressive book, and I remember that book or some other kind of jungle where those big gorillas or orangutans beat their chest — the chest is a drum. And the great commander who punches in his chest sends a signal: here I am, here are my lands, here are my wives, don’t get close, bum bum bum. [Laughs]

Now is just like that.

But still — for the harp. And if it is hypothesized that the monkey would first make a string to...

Play?

Listen to the sound first, and then let go of the arrow?

No, that hypothesis is highly inconclusive. [Laughs]

[Laughs]

From your own experience you are so reluctant to believe it?

No, no, no. But Friedrich Nietzsche has said about the last man who forgot the sound of his bowstring. Behold, from the first to the last man. He forgot that the string was making a sound. [Laughs]

But it sounds. And what is the most important thing you understand in life?

Again, a question from the field of abstractions and theories. If I knew what was most important, everything else would be less important. And anyone can say that everything matters. And that the most important thing is in every single thing. Because if you ask a beetle, it will say, "I am the most important. And what else have you come up with for me here?"

Beautiful, I really liked this one. [Laughs] Then again, you have some grand grandchildren, right? And you're probably talking to them…

Not on topics like that, no. [Laughs]

No? It would be interesting to hear how you explain to your child…

Of course, it is by chance that a topic like this can come out in that direction. But would you bother people with your abstractions? And I did not come here to share what I care about. You provoked me.

Yes, of course. I imagine kids asking; like, "What's out of space?" or "What is after death?", well, all that sort of thing. And you have to talk to them. Maybe you remember an interesting episode, because this is understandable, that it is very lively.

Well, I have listened to kids, not to my kids, but at kindergarten or first-grade level, and it seems to me that I have found and then repeated at some meetings, exactly what people want and what, for example, children want. And children, being fooled, wish their parents to have a lot of money to buy for them: this and that and that, they want all those material things. So, I ask them, "Do you want your parents always be together and not be divorced?" They start to think. "Do you want your parents to love you and always love you? Is this more important or gifts?"

Of course, it matters more, there is no question what is most important. So, the kids know the difference, they don't need a volume of philosophies, they have the answers.

One of my great-granddaughters, probably a year ago — she was three years old, maybe? — dropped me the sentiment — "What they're talking about is ridiculous." Well, you may think, but very likely, that might be it. [Laughs]

Well, okay.

Okay, so let's just laugh it off what we talked about here. It was fun, thank you very much.

You are welcome.