Lately, I have been asked this question on several occasions. “Can our humanity really survive?” “Am I an optimist or a pessimist?”
My replies vary, as I don’t think there can ever be one single answer to this most urgent, the most important query.
Sometimes my answer gets influenced by location: where I am at that moment, or where I have been recently? In a Taliban-controlled village in Afghanistan, on a rooftop of a whorehouse in Okinawa while filming deadly US air force bases, or perhaps in an elegant café after visiting an opera performance with my mom, in Stuttgart or in Paris.
Whether I have been injured on a battlefield or in a slum, or have been applauded (most of the time, hypocritically) at some event where I was invited to speak? Have I been doing something ‘forbidden’, insane and dangerous, or merely processing my visual or written materials in Japan or in Bangkok?
Depending on the circumstances, I can sound negative or cautiously optimistic.
But the truth, the honest truth is: I am scared.
Not scared for my own life, or my health or even my well-being. My work and my struggle: nobody forced me into it; all that I do is my own choice. I want to do it and therefore I do it. And while I do it, as it is often not safe, I have to understand that my life may end, prematurely, or that something else, very unpleasant, could happen. I have to understand, and I do understand. Shit happens! Unfortunately, it happens often. But that’s not what makes me scared.
What truly frightens me is something else, something much more essential: this beautiful ‘project’, this incredible, gigantic experiment called humanity, could very soon end in ruins and up in smoke.
What scares me even more is that, perhaps, it is already ending although I sincerely hope that it is not.
I have no religion, and I have absolutely no idea whether there is some sort of afterlife or not. Afterlife, God: what I am absolutely certain of is that no one on this planet really knows any answers to these so-called big questions, and those who claim that they do,