One of the finest essayists from the Balkans reveals, among other things, why he killed Franz Ferdinand.
Predrag Finci is a Sarajevo-born writer on Philosophy who lives in London. Before this book he had published fourteen books, most recently Personal as Text (Zagreb, 2011) and On Stations and Travellers (Mostar, 2013).
His Applause, and then Silence, a selection of ten essays, was also published by Style Writes Now.
You are one of the rare philosophers able to write in such a way that everyone understands, not only those from the world of science. Your essays are often filled with memoiristic story-telling. Have you thought about writing your memoirs one day?
In my opinion, if a research problem or a topic meets the clear vision of an author, then he can convey his thoughts clearly. I also believe that every philosopher's text presents him as a person, tells about his main interest, his point of view with regard to the phenomena being dealt with, while the things he discusses make up his own world and himself. In that sense, all philosophers (and as it happens I may be notable in this regard) write down their “unconscious biography of the soul”, to use Nietzsche's phrase. In some of my books, for instance in A Sentimental Introduction to Aesthetics (Sentimentalni uvod u estetiku), 2004, The Art of the Destroyed (Umjetnost uništenog), 2005, and A Text on Exile (Tekst o tuđini), 2007, my personal experience is intertwined with theoretical insights and thus my books sometimes have the characteristics of meditative prose. I am a story-teller of ideas. That is why I hope, if time and strength allow, I will perhaps write some sort of “intellectual autobiography” or a memoir, a kind of afterthought-diary, in which I will revisit the most important events of my life.
What was it like to shoot the Archduke, and be part of a historic event? I am referring to your acting career, prior to writing books, which you spoke about recently in a BBC program on the occasion of the centenary of the Great War.
I was first really an actor, at the end of my studies at the Sarajevo Drama Studio, so I knew how to get under the skin of a character and when acting in this role, I thought just one thing: how to kill my enemy. I suppose that's how Princip thought too. But I only thought and felt that way as a character in a drama, because I am essentially always inclined towards the Central European cultural mindset and values, and thus I personally felt the very act of killing to be alien to me. Maybe that was precisely why as an actor I could not accomplish completely persuasively the role of the assassin.