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Sivosten webZine :: Bernard Werber in Bulgaria: The writer on himself
Bernard Werber in Bulgaria: The writer on himself

Author: Dimitar "Cliff" Stefanov, Saturday, 23 February 2008.

In Articles :: Literature; Propose a Second Opinion

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Last year, June 1st, besides being the International Children's Day, turned out to be the day when we met Bernard Werber. The Matty hall proved too small to gather all of us who have come to see the famous French writer, but me and Simba demonstrated our foresight by taking seats half an hour before the beginning, so we werent among the standees. First of all a few good words about the organizers. Bernard Werber spoke only in French, but all those who didnt understand the language of Balzac were provided with some sci-fi gadgets connected to the interpreters, so there you had your simultaneous translation. Most of the attendees were in their thirties and forties, quite a few obviously speaking French, and our Sivosten couple appeared to be one of the youngest in the hall.

Bernard Werber himself is a handsome, cheerful man, about 40-45 years old.

He opened the meeting with a joke: in totalitarian times, one wasnt allowed to say anything, while in democracy, one can say everything, only no-one is paying attention. After that he went on to more serious topics. He elaborated on his idea that humanity is on its way to exhaust Earth's natural resources and the alternatives before us are to either become wiser and stop/reduce overconsumption, or start colonizing other worlds; however, a thinking like the present one would sooner or later see them depleted too. Or we can disappear. That would scarcely matter to Nature since its strength lies in diversity. Werbers aim in writing his books is to make us think. To look at the world in different way and never stop our searches. The sage is in search for the truth, the fool has already found it. Werber said that when writing his books, he relies mostly on personal observations. While he was writing The Ants (translated as Empire of the Ants ), he "installed" in his apartment an "ant-hill" and often observed the little insects, without interfering in their life. He imagines God in a similar way. Something much higher than us that observes us, but we are not aware of that.

One of the first philosophical lessons Werber talked about was, in fact, observation. We are all the time observing ourselves, the people and objects around us, our future as well. Because, existing here and now, we are almost always thinking what we're going to do next, where we're going to go, with whom And it is so easy to exist in this moment, we just need to remain alone for a few minutes and start asking questions. Who am I, where do I come from, where am I going?... No, these are the complicated ones. We can start with something simpler. What do I see in this moment, what do I hear, what do I feel, and so on For Werber, observation unlocks the doors (of perception) to knowledge. To absolute knowledge! We came into this world with the main purpose of improving and developing ourselves. And if we ponder a while, we will see that all of humanity is developing much faster than it was years ago. This has both positive and negative effects. For instance, humanity has reached a technological level that enables it to destroy itself.

The writer then switched to his new book - The Thanatonauts. Im not going to write about it here, as we are devoting a separate article to it. I will only say that the book touches on a topic that I believe is interesting to everyone death. What happens with us after we die? Is there an afterlife? How about reincarnation? Is it by pure chance that religious teachings overlap when speaking of death? A quite intriguing topic as a whole.

Shortly before time was up, Werber talked about how people used to think that action created the "most material" consequences, and words and ideas came after that (for example, everyone sees the finished house, but few would recall that before it was built, it had been born in someones head and had been described on paper as a draft with explanations). Werber, however, thinks that ideas are stronger than anything, then come the words that give them flesh, and last the actions, which are always provoked by ideas or words. And whereas a material object cannot evolve, ideas have the aspect of evolution inherent in them. As a brief illustration, he pointed out the idea of God, which for the last two millennia has taken on a rather different image from the gentle old man with the white beard. :)

Next the audience asked its questions, and then Werber stayed on signing autographs. As he was signing my copy of the The Ultimate Secret, I managed to ask my questions about his new book and found out that the spiritual teachings that have inspired him as he was writing The Thanatonauts are quite a few, but he has been most affected by Tibetan Buddhism, the Egyptian beliefs described in The Book of Death, and various Shaman rituals.

All in all, the meeting passed in a very pleasant and friendly atmosphere, with a wonderful writer whose strong aura and fantastic sense of humor lingered long afterwards.

Translated by Kalin Nenov

Commentary topic: http://www.sivosten.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=199540#p199540

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