"Signs of life"
Exclusive interview with the Best-seller author J.R. Dos Santos
by Ingrid Vaileanu et PhD. Florin Paun
Photo : Le journaliste Dov Alfon, Vice-président APE et organisateur des Rendez-vous littéraires APE,
José Rodrigues Dos Santos et Paola Sandoval, Présidente de l`ÀPE (Association de la Presse étrangère à Paris)
Interview Francophone : What is the role of writers in the 21st century? And what is the place of the imagination in today knowledge economy?
José Rodrigues dos Santos : Art is what artists decide. This is a conclusion of the 20th Century artistic movement that I expect will still be true in the 21st Century. The big challenge in the future for artists will be Artificial Intelligence, for I expect computers to develop creative imagination. It may sound crazy today, but surely not that crazy within 20 years. How can human art thrive when machines become independent? All bets are off.
Interview Francophone : How does the fiction inspire the scientific work and scientific discoveries feed back the imagination of writers, artists?
José Rodrigues dos Santos: Science and art are more connected than we think. In fact, it was Argentinian novelist, Jorge Luís Borges, who first suggested the concept of the multiverse that is so popular today among scientists. On the other hand, writers do take cues from scientific advances and present possibilities based on these advances. See, for example, the way Aldous Huxley wrote about genetic manipulation in his dystopic novel Brave New World. George Orwell, commenting on his major work Nineteen-eighty-four about communist totalitarianism, explained his novel was not a prophecy but a warning. That´s what artists do when dealing with scientific issues. They present possibilities that are warnings.
Interview Francophone: What is your signature in the literature of the 21st century? How would you resume the work of the writer J.R. Dos Santos?
José Rodrigues dos Santos: It´s not for me to explain what is my role in literature, for I have no such presumptions about myself. I just write novels that try to be entertaining and simultaneously express truths about ourselves, our world, our history, our society or the universe itself. I believe the noblest role of literature to be one of expressing deep truths using fiction. The Process, by Kafka, is a major literary work because it expresses a deep truth about disturbing aspects of the judicial system, for example. Great literature is not about words or experimenting language, it´s about truth.
Interview Francophone : You are already a well knowns international writer. You speak more languages and you have this extraordinary empathy to communication with all cultures…What is your connection to France, Latin countries? What to do think that theses cultures like the more in your books?
José Rodrigues dos Santos: I am a writer of the world and I try to write to everyone, regarding gender or nationality. Of course, I understand Latin culture better than any other culture, for I am Latin and the only major Latin language I do not speak is Romanian. Writing for far away cultures is hard, if not outright impossible, but some issues are universal. For example, in The Einstein Enigma I deal with real scientific discoveries concerning the existence of God, whereas in The Key of Solomon I deal with what science discovered about what happens when we die. These are universal issues, liable to interest anyone from Europe, Africa or Asia. Having said that, different cultures value things in different ways and inevitably I reason in an European way. It cannot be avoided.
Interview Francophone : What represents the 21st century for you as both writer and journalist?
José Rodrigues dos Santos: To put it shortly, a major challenge. For one, because this is the century when I will die. Also, because everything is quickly changing in both my businesses.
Interview Francophone : What is your best experience as writer?
José Rodrigues dos Santos: Being read. Do not believe in what some writers say, that they don´t care if they are read or not. Of course, they care. Otherwise, they would not have published their books, they would have written and shelved them. The most important in art is, as always, people.
Interview Francophone: What is the biggest challenge for the future?
José Rodrigues dos Santos: I believe somewhere in the future humankind will be replaced by Artificial Intelligence. This is what is implicit in my novels The Einstein Enigma and Signal of Life and that is what I really believe. As for books, they will be around in the foreseeable future, though they´ll have to adapt to changing technological and sociological conditions.
Interview Francophone: What is your advice for those who want support the evolution of our societies by being inspired by the 21st century books?
José Rodrigues dos Santos: Knowledge and power involve responsibility. If you are in a position of changing the world, you should be responsible.