Title: “What would you destroy in order to protect yourself?” by Leon Redler

Dora wrote...

For Klau Mich blog, from Leon Redler


Title: “What would you destroy in order to protect yourself?”

Toward the end of the Klau Mich show on June 8, the opening day of documenta13, the talk show host, Jan, recalled the artist Gustav Metzger saying:

“The idea is to destroy things in order to protect the individual.”

Jan then asked all of us, present and/or watching on live TV or the internet:

“What would you destroy in order to protect yourself?”

The question was left for us to think about.

Given the context of the question (near the close of an event on documenta13’s opening day), I think the question is also asking:

  1. What might or ought the artist and her/his art seek to destroy, in the service of protecting, or opening up, a vital space?


  1. Do we not each share in the responsibility of finding ways to be creative destroyers, in the service of that which we value, like: love and truth, wisdom and compassion and/or the joyful flourishing of the human spirit, in harmony with all that is, and of a justice for all that, against the odds, may one day come to be? (Whew…long sentence!)

All the terms of the question are ‘up for grabs’! We can’t take any of the terms for granted.

To respond to that, I’ll start with myself…what do I need to destroy to protect myself? But what is ‘my self’? What does it mean to protect myself?

My self-centred ‘me’, or my  ‘ego-ic’ self, is  what we usually seek to protect. Yet that may be precisely at the root, or a root, of what causes us and others suffering and misery. That narrow‘self’ gets in the way of high quality awareness and love, and much else that we claim to value. And are not such qualities what need protection from the materialistic, mindless and heartless forces that are so prevalent and pervasive in and through much of our societies and cultures?

And ‘I’ am caught up in all that and collude with that, knowingly or not. It’s not separate from ‘me’.

So…I would like to destroy, but really better become free of and liberated from that; be released from unnecessary attachments and aversions, fed by the prevailing cultural forces; become free of what’s got a hold on me and release, let go of my diverse ways of holding on to unhelpful me-centred ways that keep my heartmind more closed and my way of being more up-tight than there’s any need for. I’m on the side (when I don’t lack courage) of letting it ‘self-destruct’ from lack of being ‘fed’.

I’d like to find he clarity, energy and persistence to let go and/or get free of all of that  holds me back from opening heart and mind…from love, from enjoyment that can be shared, from profound responsibility for the Other, from responsibility as caretaker of  the garden entrusted to me (borrowing from The Wind, One Brilliant Day by Antonio Machado…see below), the garden entrusted in my care, including mother earth, life support systems, and all my fellow creatures and things.

So I’d like to destroy the power of diverse kinds of Ignorance, Mis-taken Identities, Fear, Cut-off-ness, Deception  (of self and others)….Laziness, ‘Heaviness’ that precludes lightness and joy….to ‘name’ a some of the fundamental  “What”s that I’d like to destroy…creatively and in joyful and playful  collaboration with others, when possible!

So there’s the beginning of a response to the important question put to us.

What do you think?




The Wind, One Brilliant Day by Antonio Machado (translation found on the internet),

The Wind, One Brilliant Day

The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.

‘In return for the odor of my jasmine,
I’d like all the odor of your roses.’

‘I have no roses; all the flowers
in my garden are dead.’

‘Well then, I’ll take the withered petals
and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain.’

The wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:
‘What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?’