In his first published work, Língua e Realidade
[Language and Reality] (1963), Vilém Flusser
states that: (1) language creates reality; (2) poetry
creates language; (3) poetry creates itself
out of itself. Poetry is a kind of sufficient cause;
therefore, poetry can be compared to God.
Flusser was not a religious man, but the concept
of God is central to his philosophical fictions.
In the book Natural:Mind (2013), Flusser recalls
people’s attempt to prove God’s existence by referring
to nature. However, when an uncle took him
fishing, he realized that this attempt failed. His
uncle xed a worm on a hook, an act which makes
the Creator hideous. Either God created the world,
and it is a cruel world, so He is therefore cruel because
He enjoys seeing both worms and children
suffer. Or God is good – and, therefore, He did not create this world. Our Christian mindset admires
nature because every bird has its worm and every
kitten its mouse. Nevertheless, we ignore the perspectives
of worms and of mice. In reality, nature
is cruel: all creatures sing, growl, and grunt not to
praise the Lord, but to praise hunger.
Vilém Flusser used to say: questions are only
meaningful when they cannot be answered.
“Does God exist?” is a question which cannot
be answered. However, this question still needs
to be asked. Flusser believed he lived a life without
religion, but at the same time he was always
in search of religion; he believed he lived a life
without God, but was always in search of a God.
He saw this unfulfilled search as the very definition
The switch from religious passion to the profane does not lead to greater rationality, but to the worship of money, the State, the media, chemicals, and drugs. One must go back to João Guimarães Rosa’s fiction in his novel The Devil to Pay in the Backlands (1963). Flusser thanked the God of languages who created Riobaldo, the main character, who said: “God exists even when they say He does not.” (Guimarães Rosa, The Devil to Pay in the Backlands, 1963 p.48)
Original article by Gustavo Bernardo Krause