by Roland Fakler
I was born in spring 1953 in a small village in Upper-Swabia (South West Germany), early at six o’clock in the morning, above the bakery. My father was an independent master baker. About miracles and signs, nothing was told to me. However, I assume that the astrologers and storytellers will still invent something about it. I have also two brothers, one who is three years older and one who is one year younger than I.
As I felt designated to a higher destination very early in my life, and the noisy atmosphere in the native bakery disturbed my dreams, I urged my mother to send me into a pupils-home to Kempten at the age of nine. My disappointment was great, almost everything had been different, as I had imagined. However, there was no way back. – At least my mother saw it that way.
I had many friends there, even a „bosom-friend“, so the others named us, because we were inseparable. We liked to hear that. My best friend however was later always my younger brother, who followed me into the pupils-home soon. The pupils-home was led by Catholic priests. We had to pray much. That has probably cured me from my belief, because if I was forced to do something, then I did exactly the opposite in order to prove that I must do nothing at all what I don’t want. At the age of ten, meanwhile I was at the high school, I experienced a serious crisis. I prayed, but God didn’t answer. I did downright attempts in order to test, whether this God is really there or not. Finally I came to the conclusion that people only want to have this God. I also sensed that I would find my happiness not in the world but in me, in my thoughts and reveries. If my friends went into the cinema, I often remained at home and dreamt my own film. I dreamt of an island on which I was the king. There I reigned, led wars against enemies, built palaces and had to enact laws. This daydream lasted for months. The friends from the city sometimes asked me, why I did not visit them. I could give no right answer, I only sensed that for me it was more agreeable to stay with me and that I develop this way. „Quiet waters base deep“, a teacher noticed at that time and looked at me. I did not believe anything anymore and I wanted to live different too, not towards the outside world but towards my internal world, however I had to live up to the expectations of my parents and my teachers. Only at the age of twenty-two I was strong enough to go my own way. Until then I tried to suffice the expectations that others forced on me more or less reluctantly.
At the age of sixteen, I left the pupils-home together with my younger brother. We now visited the high school in Leutkirch and lived the next four years, up to the high school diploma, in our parental home again. During this time I have read all the books that had been considered heretically in the pupils home: Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Russell, Feuerbach, Freud, also Greek philosophers like Epikur and Plutarch… .quasi as a counterpoise to what I had behind me. I felt well in this society. I was allowed to buy all books that I wanted and so I did. I was interested in history and philosophy, in art only later. I had the need to make everything conscious to me and for this purpose I began to write a diary with thoughts and aphorisms. Thinking was my first passion. Soon I wrote poems too, because I had fallen in love. However I soon realised that being in love is much more difficult than I had envisaged. My girl-friend had probably not fallen in love with me so much as I would have wished she had, whereas I had fallen in love very severely with an extremely idealised vision of her. The problem lay in me, to solve it, I had to develop. I decided to sacrifice my youth for a higher happiness in my mature years. What was enjoyment for others, for me was pointless waste of time. My pleasure was to work on my perfection, to become kinder and more loveable. I wanted to stay with me and my girl-friend wanted to enjoy her youth to the full, what is understandable for a young girl in the prime of her life. The break finally occurred after four years, when she had already taken up her studies in Heidelberg. That was painful, but also liberating, because from now on I could invest my whole time into my life-goal, developing from a boy to a loveable personality, becoming a human being.
Through the study of history I had become aware that the whole plight of the world history actually is caused by the fact that those who have shaped the world history decisively, the sovereigns, dictators, ideologists and also the artists and religion-founders, have not been great enough to be able making something really good, that means that they have not been great enough that one would have been able to come to them, that one would have wanted to have them. They don’t work liberating but depressing. They don’t work tolerant but dictatorial. They want the force into line of all brains, not the mature human being. I felt strong enough to achieve this goal. Nietzsche gave me crucial hints for it. I had to withdraw from the society into loneliness and had to disappoint all who expected a normal career from me.
At that time also my headaches increased that I sometimes felt already in my childhood if I could not work off my energy anyhow, be it through sport, scrambles with friends or with increasing age through spiritual work. I had to spend my energy daily in order to take the pressure from my head, like as if one lets out the air from a balloon.
The central problem of my youth was: where to do with this energy. I didn’t simply want to row, for this I was disposed too much spiritually. I wanted to use my energy as meaningful as possible, I wanted to be creative and become an artist, because moreover I had feelings, dreams, thoughts, that had to be processed. I wanted to do something meaningful, that would have value and continuance. I wanted to change my strength into personality and wanted to lead an autonomous, independent life like the philosophers in the old Greece. Nobody should be above me anymore, – besides the fate. I did not want to be a trailer but a vehicle with its own-motor, steered by myself, a freethinker, a humanist, a sovereign individual within a liberal democracy. I wanted to take on responsibility and help to shape the world.
I also suspected that my life would turn into a disaster with the armed forces, that now lay before me. Not because I would have had something against the armed forces, but because I sensed that I could not conduct a normal life. It is not suitable for everyone becoming a soldier. One cannot force everyone to become a butcher or priest either. For a profession one needs a suitability and inclination. First I tried to do civil service, however I was not acknowledged. Then I volunteered to the first-aid attendants thinking that this would probably be the least evil. It came worse than I thought it would. The worst was: to accept stupid commands of limited people, or even to have to execute them; eight men in a booth; no more silence for thinking, reveries and learning; Cigarette-stench, drinking and stupid chatter the whole day; killing the time pointlessly; not being able to work on my humanity, on my education, on my development. Continuous headaches tormented me, because I could not work my energy off. To whom should I have explained that? I could not explain it to me. Now, there was a regulation: whoever receives a place in medicine at an university will be released immediately . That was a possibility to get out. I applied for the place and got it soon, because I have done a good high school diploma. With this the armed forces service ended for me after ten months. I had not taken up studies however, but had written three books. I wanted to become an author. Of course there would be financial problems, but money was never a reason for me to do something or not. For me money was a means to the end, namely to the purpose, that I could use all my strength and time on my goal: my development. There is enough money in the world, but there are too few, who can do something sensible with it. For the time being, I would be able to rely on my parents.
At that time, during and after my armed forces-time, the other people began to play increasingly antics on me. The human brain is constructed completely mad. If one is very strong, he causes a tug-of-war. The others try to make him as small as they possibly can. However that is not meant angrily. They can hardly respond different. They react all likewise or similar and it seems, as if they would have come to an agreement or would have conspired against me. A strong man works, – as long as he is not yet great enough, – dictatorial and depressing on others. The problem lies in him, not with the others. One doesn’t want him. And one shows him this. The danger is now that one misunderstands these rejecting reactions, that one feels persecuted and threatened and starts to strike back. That is a desperate situation. But nobody is guilty, if one does not want to blame nature. How should you respond, if all people play you all possible antics, if they run away from you, if you are refused everywhere, if they always do the opposite of what you wish is done, if they give you all possible wrong advises? They did everything to show me how insignificant and null I am and how important and significant all others are. But I do not strike back and cut down timber. I do not even scream, I am thinking and the more I am thinking, the fewer reason I see for screaming. I may not understand these antics as malicious actions but as signals, that want to say: “ you are not yet great enough, one cannot yet come to you, you must work on you even further!“ If one is moderate with ones reactions, also the others are moderate, because usually it is the strong man, who determines the rules by his own behaviour. From the behaviour which others show towards me I can see where I stand in my development, – like in a mirror, because the reactions change, if I develop. Fortunately the human brain is constructed in a way that if it is irritated durable it simply switches off. Furthermore I have a filter in my brain so that I don’t perceive, what doesn’t interest me or even harasses me. They gave me all possible wrong advises and I had to reject them and had to do the opposite. Fortunately I have the ability to do even then everything still in the right way, if I received a price for doing it wrong. Was that the fight of the herd against the exceptions, as I had read it with Nietzsche? Nietzsche had turned for me into the most important philosopher, although he has written much nonsense too. I smelled that I would have a similar fate. I found hints with him how I wanted to live my life. I had to retreat into loneliness in order to escape the continuous squabbling. I knew that even the greatest artists had experienced something similar during their lifetimes (Mozart, Cezanne, etc), many have escaped into the alcohol (Toulouse Lautrec, Modigliani), many have fallen into mental derangement (Hoelderlin, Nietzsche etc) and many have committed suicide (Van Gogh, Kleist, etc). After their death they have been celebrated. Earlier I could not explain these fates to me, now I could. I had to do somewhat different: namely to choose quite consistently the loneliness and concentrate on me; so I develop most quickly. I cannot do anything better for my development, for my breakthrough and for the quality, i.e. the attraction of my products.
Now I was a student in Tübingen, but I didn’t study the subject I was inscribed. Still before the end of the semester, I gave up the study of medicine formally, which was a proper shock for my parents. However someday one must decide the course of ones own life, I thought and acted. Now I have set the crucial switch in my life. The future was completely doubtful. Now I had secured myself the way of life, which I had wished to live since my earliest childhood. It was as if I would jump into the fire in the consciousness to come out again more strongly. Life is not only fun and hunt after the fast pleasure, it also means to take on pains, deprivations, disappointments, efforts, – on the way to a higher happiness. If I had felt not so strong-willed, if I had not been convinced of me so much and if I had had any other choice, I would probably never have dared this step. – And if I had known, how many refusals and disappointments I still had to overcome in the next decades, I probably would have fully fallen in desperation. Nevertheless, I have never regretted this crucial step of my life. It was the only right way for me, I had not any other choice. One could say: that was my fate and I had to take it. I lived in a student-booth leased by a widow. Infinite loneliness and an uncertain future arouse my working-drive.
First I wrote a book about a hero in which it goes largely all about fight, war and death. Finally I myself had to fight just my heaviest fight. My brain was mastered in day- and night-dreams by scenes of fight and force, furthermore I had an extreme megalomania, that was certainly partially caused by the fact, that I had to assert myself constantly. Strength makes self-confident and if one has very much of it, one becomes arrogant. I could not jump this period; I had to go through it. From history I knew that the strong man had behaved like mad man; now I could explain that to me as well. However I vowed to make everything different and better as the „great“ poeple of world-history. I believe that I would also be a very unhappy man, if I would cause such a disaster like Caesar or Napoleon or Hitler. I thought how I should act and fight in the right manner, what should be allowed and what shouldn’t. We haven’t learned that at school. Just at that time the red-army-fraction terrorised the Federal republic of Germany. I was disgusted by the terror of those who claim that the goal justifies the methods. In the end everyone believes that his goal is the most important in the world. If all people would lay bombs in order to realise their goals or crazy ideas, it would be the absolute chaos. A hero just differs from a terrorist that he does not use every method.
In our childhood we have not played Gandhi of course, but cowboy and Indians leading warfare against each other. Somehow the aggression-instinct is inside the human being. The task of the education should be to give it a social-amicable direction and form. At school we have read the saga of the Nibelunges, the Ilias of Homer and in Latin “ De bello gallico “ (about the Gallic war, by Caesar). Privately I have also read hero-legends and Indian-stories in my childhood. Therefore it was only obvious that my first book, that I have written in Tübingen, was also a hero-saga. It was approximately a hundred pages prose that I have written it in few weeks. It was all a sum of what I had learned about literature so far and it was also a biographical work. I have offered it to many publishing houses and got just as many refusals.
My second book was a three hundred page strong epic about Julius Caesar in verses. I had learnt Latin and knew his story. It was an instructive stuff and an interesting life-story. My model was the „Wallenstein“ of Fredric Schiller. However I do not sympathise with Caesar, – on the contrary. He was just one of those „great“ men, who did not manage to turn their strength into personality, but who’s strength and power-greed became a disaster for a whole people and its neighbours. However if he would have waited until one would have wanted to have him, he would still wait today; he was not so great, that one wanted him. He worked dictatorial and depressing, – otherwise one would not have murdered him. He would have remained a relatively unknown man, if he would not have seized the power with force. I looked for a possibility to prove myself, to work off my energy and my aggressions; not with shooting-plays, like the present-day computer-generation but with a book and pithy verses; that was just my type.
My third book dealt with a wise man who lives secluded on a mountain. Model was the „Zarathustra“ of Fredric Nietzsche. It is also written in verses. Today I find that all immature. With twenty-two one can not be a wise man. One needs life-experience, age and many disappointments for it. These now came one after the other.
Now I began to revitalise an old inclination from my childhood and youth again. I started once more to draw and to paint. I realised even soon that this was a much better method to work off my daily energy-jam and my headaches as writing. My anatomy-books, that I had bought for the medicine-study, served me as a model for anatomy-drawings. I bought books to learn drawing and painting. Of course I would have been able to start an official study in art, but then I would have had to lead a quite different life. A life towards the outside world and not towards the inside world. A life with which I again would have had permanent headaches and would not have developed so quickly to a personality like now with my strange, lonesome way of life. Headstrong spirits do not like to be led, that could be the reason for the fact, that so many of them have broken off school or their study and have studied on their own something what they thought is worth to study. I was convinced that the value of an artwork doesn’t depend so much, how good or bad one can paint, but above all how much personality the artist has who has created it. Measured by this value-scale I was on the best way. Otherwise one would have to declare the whole modern art since Van Gogh: Cezanne, the expressionists, Picasso and so on as worthless. Headstrong painters go their own ways and have an own handwriting. That doesn’t often correspond to the expectations of the art-consumers, just because it is new, unique, individual. Of course the pictures I had painted during my fight-, war-, and death-period were not beautiful. I painted as I liked to: gigantic, expressionist oil-paintings. Again it had been fight- and force-scenes. I lived in this world at that time. I simply had to go through. I sensed after all almost daily that something changed with my brain, that everything became gradually more beautiful, better, friendlier, kinder. I was on the right way.
An artist shouldn’t want to be everybodies darling. That would be completely tasteless. I don’t see my destination in playing the monkey for a bored public, but to work on my perfection and to offer spiritual leadership. I want to be convinced of me. If I wanted to please all people, I would please myself no longer. The art-market is a completely irrational thing. There is also hardly another topic about one can talk so shiny and pompous stupidity than about art, – maybe still about theology. One is only free, if one has no necessity to please and to suit. I don’t paint pictures with which I want to arrive somewhere, but pictures that came into my mind. I prefer to remain the one I am, even if being not successful. One must take me as I am, but one must not take me.
In the end it is crucial that I manage to produce a hand-written structure. The hand is steered over the eye of the brain. If I create a hand-written structure, a mark of my current brain-condition is created. This mark changes, if I develop to a personality. It gets more attractive. That is it what makes, in my opinion, the value of my pictures. It is the mudding and structuring with colour that lets me enjoy painting so much. Drawing I find less sensual and exciting. One also should not ask, how long it takes me to paint a picture, one should ask what I had to suffer to be able to paint that picture. Today painting, with which I want to create harmony and beauty, for me is a counterpoint to my engagement in history.
In 1976, I moved from Tübingen to the countryside, to Reusten, a picturesque village. There I found a cheap and quiet apartment with an old and good woman. I did better year by year. My headaches became weaker, fight – and force-scenes lay soon behind me. I painted more pleasing, kinder pictures. I felt how in me an inner warmth and an almost unlimited love grew. I longed for love, from the earliest childhood on. I also often fell in love, but one could not come to me. If I had been normal, there would have been good opportunities to marry, however I was not normal. A woman would have been my end. I would have been no longer able to concentrate on myself. So mostly all passed by with longing gazes and sad relinquishment. In women I always found a crystallisation-kernel, around whom I could weave my dreams. To paint women and to dream of women is beautiful, the reality is rather sobering. To have married the right one, may certainly be happiness but not to have married the wrong, surely is happiness too. I didn’t want to be rejected for my lifetime like Van Gogh or Cezanne. I wanted to be convinced of myself, for that purpose I needed my tranquility. Picasso was not as great at the age of ninety-one that one would have been able to come to him too. With a normal way of life, one has no chance to achieve this goal, as for this quite an extreme way of life is necessary. Everything I am I owe to my loneliness and my iron principles.
With my strange way of life, with congested ears lying on the back, I heard regularly music before my inner ear. I wanted to record this music. I bought a home-organ and studied a course about composition and organ-playing with a new musical notation called klavarskribo. One thing we had learned in the pupils-home: how to learn independently. I composed over 200 melodies, that I arranged later with the help of the computer to songs with different accompanying-tracks and burned them on CD.
Who I am
In the end my breakthrough depends not at all on the fact whether, what, and how I produce something, – I have really produced enough, – but it depends solely on whether I succeed in becoming so great that one can come to me, respectively that one wants me. Only then I will be able to produce something of value and continuance. In order to achieve this goal I need silence and seclusion. I do not develop if I paint or play Keyboard, the opposite is the case; the more I paint, the more slowly I develop, because I waste energy when painting, that I lack with my development then. The strongest possible way of life, that I can think, looks such, that I lie with congested ears on the back and let my thoughts circle around me and my existence. That is also the way of life, with which I develop most quickly to a personality. In this situation my brain is so tense, as it is never the case while standing or sitting. If I lived so, as the artists all do, I would not have the slightest chance to manage my breakthrough before my 100. birthday.
Whether loneliness is something sad or something agreeable depends on who you are. I felt never bored with me. Secluded one experiences the life more conscious, because one is constantly deep in thoughts and is disturbed by nobody. I have had a very restricted and austere life admittedly, but also a very contemplative. I always wanted it so. I have been able to spend all my strength and time on my self-realisation. That is a hard bliss, but that is the true bliss. It is a psychic achievement. It is the price for the immortality. I am capable to infinite perfection, if I only stay with me. Who I am, I experience best, if I live secluded for weeks and feel the best with it. Without loneliness there is no greatness. The best proof for this is that no one has still managed to become so great that one would have been able to come to him. Or whoever has managed that? I can tell no name.
I will bring the concept of the Swabians about working probably thoroughly in confusion, if I do not connect it with gasp, moan, puffing and vehement movements of the arms, but claim that there is done most, if I succeed in developing myself into a personality and that this is done most quickly, if I lie with congested ears on the back and let my thoughts circle. For me it is a success, if I am a greater person in the evening as I was in the morning. The wise man should not follow the search for happines of the normal-consumer but must follow his inner voice. I have the drive to be creative and I feel well in the world, that I have produced. Primarily I forge my work for me. I want to create a spiritual home for me, in which it is pleasant to be, and I would like others to share this world with me. I want to show who I am, not to form others as I am. I want to show a human being and his way hoping that this is a signpost for those, who are created similar, and for those, who want not and cannot go this way – whoever would like to go it – it serves as an enlightenment and explanation. I would less say, that I am a painter or a composer or a philosopher but I am a human being, who paints, composes and thinks. Asked about my occupation and my creed I would say: My full-time profession is to be a human being, exactly to be the „Roland Fakler“; in my confession I am a confident „Faklerianer“, – even if I would be the first, the last and the only one.
The actual miracle is, that I had not become crazy with my way of life, but have become stronger. If Columbus had sailed for twenty-five years without seeing any country, he would have probably doubted his course, – however I have never doubted my course. The ability beating the wrong advises and judgments of other people into the wind was one of the most important qualities in order to go my way with certain steps. Luck is the contentment about a successful, autonomous life. However, everyone probably has the need of acknowledgement through others. Maybe, I still succeed in mediating others the comfort of my world.
Copyright © November 1999 Roland Fakler