Herzog on the jungle

Of course we’re challenging nature and it hits back, it just hits back, that’s all, and that’s [the] grandiose [thing] about it, and we just have to accept that it’s much stronger than we are. Kinski always says it’s full of erotic elements. I don’t see it so much [as] erotic, I see it more [as] full of obscenity. It’s just… nature here is vile and base. I wouldn’t see anything erotic here. I would see fornication and asphyxiation and choking and fighting for survival and growing and… just rotting away. Of course, there’s a lot of misery. But it’s the same misery that’s all around us. The trees here are in misery, the birds are in misery. I don’t think they sing, they just screech in pain… It’s an unfinished country. It’s still prehistorical. The only thing that’s lacking [here] is the dinosaurs. It’s like a curse weighing on an entire landscape. And whoever goes too deep into [it] has his share of that curse. So we are cursed with what we are doing here. It’s a land that God, if he exists, has created in anger. It’s the only land where creation is [still] unfinished. Taking a close look at what’s around us, there is some sort of harmony. It’s the harmony of overwhelming and collective murder. And we in comparison to the articulate vileness and baseness and obscenity of all this jungle, we in comparison to that enormous articulation, we only sound and look like badly pronounced and half-finished sentences out of a stupid suburban novel, a cheap novel. And we have to become humble in front of this overwhelming misery and overwhelming fornication, overwhelming growth and overwhelming lack of order. Even the stars up here in the sky look like a mess. There’s no harmony in the universe. We have to get acquainted [with] this idea that there’s no real harmony as we have conceived it. But when I say this, I say this full of admiration for the jungle. It’s not that I hate it, I love it. I love it very much. But I love it against my better judgment.

Werner Herzog

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