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Monty Cantsin Interviewed

You are frequently supposed to have spoken of your "life" as a "labyrinth." Could you expatiate on this?

Monty Cantsin:
In fact, I do not recognize either term. A labyrinth may sometimes function as a magical mirror suggesting a center, an abundance, a signification; therefore, when you enter it, you will expect to undergo an initiation rite, like in the Theseus myth. This symbolism fashions every existence that, through many afflictions, strives for its own "center," however realizing this "center" just in doing so. At first, I thought I had to either escape or find "the thread," although I didn't tell myself "I am drifting through a labyrinth". Later, when I was aware of that trope, I rather paid attention to the way, and, since it seemed a trope, the potentials of its reversals and permutations, the question whether and how I was subject to it: If the suggestion of the labyrinth was not so much whether there is a center or not, but that every such suggestion was, at the same time, a suggestion of the opposite.
Every Neoist makes the same experience. But, while making these statements, I also have to acknowledge that life doesn't exhaust itself in a single labyrinth: the afflictions repeat, and speculations multiply.

In recognizing this, have you arrived at your own center?

I sometimes thought I had come close to it, but upon thinking so, I was just drifting away. It's the Neoist condition: to be neither archangels, nor archons, nor true heroes. You will constantly come across seemingly new labyrinths. Our conversation, for example, appears to lead me into another one.

You speak of moments where you "re-recognize" yourself. What face did you see then? Is this a secret?

Yes, but it's easy to be guessed.

You once wrote about a feeling of your continuity and profoundness.

I made this experience several times, and it simultaneously marked the peak of a crisis. I thereupon acknowledged the importance of recollecting myself periodically, as the condition of multiplying my subjectivity. Once when I took a walk along the Department of Classics in Chicago, I suddenly felt the transparency of time and multiple forking paths between my lives in India, Prague, and so on. It was a consoling experience: everything seemed both there and forgotten.

So nothing was bad?

Of course, I saw many errors, shortcomings, even backlashes. But perhaps I am still reluctant to acknowledge their immense necessity.

How do you judge your overall work?

As usual, I am right in the middle of a work that has not yet begun and is already finished. You may judge about it by considering what you may suppose to be its entirety, or you may pick out what you may suppose to be some fragment, and nevertheless end up with always the same and always the different.
It's just the same as with any other work, be it some Goethe, the Thousand and One Nights or some drunkard dragging his tail in the mud, and then reconstructing the influences of one on the other.

Do you think that our conversation could nevertheless lead you in the trap of a "definite totality"?

Just on the contrary, these conversations have helped to create countless new obstacles. Your questions forced me to rethink certain problems and resolve them with even more complex ones.

Here we may resort to a saying of Aquinas: "If you ask me what the question is, then I don't know it; but if you don't ask..."

...then I will." Yes, that's definitely the best reply.