Teofilo F. Ruiz


On his book The Terror of History: On the Uncertainties of Life in Western Civilization

Cover Interview of November 08, 2011

A close-up

Although I insist that no particular way of making meaning is superior to the other—they are after all cultural constructs—I am most fond of the last chapter and the conclusion.

In both I attempt to show how the pursuit of knowledge and the beautiful serves also as a form of escaping history. Since, in writing this book, I too am engaging in a process of making meaning of the world around me, these last pages resonate more with my beliefs (or, more accurate, lack of belief) than other parts of the book.

I am also particularly fond of pages 93 and 94, where I discuss love and love-making (two things that are, strangely, conceived as different in the western world) as one of the best alternatives to the “terror of history.” Although, as I freely admit, I have never been able to give myself entirely to the world of the senses, I am also willing to admit to the power of the flesh in erasing time and history.

Commenting on the Japanese film In The Realm of the Senses, where the characters engage in a deadly pursuit of sexuality carried out to the extreme, I wrote:

While most of us will not take sexual encounters to this fatal conclusion, it is clear that most of us have been, even if fleetingly, there at one time or another. That is, at a point in which the physicality of the act seems to throw a veil over other parts of our lives. In the moment, the moments, in which there is no thought, no reason, no god, no history.