Oklop Transcendent | Lissa Tyler Renaud | Scene4 Magazine - January 2017

Lissa Tyler Renaud

Readers of Scene4 have come to know Yugoslavian writer Mika Oklop’s blend of highly personal memoir, social critique, and political protest. In the piece that follows, we hear him in his role as public thinker. Oklop’s thinking on important matters was followed by many who first came to him through his ground-breaking novels, who then stayed with him also for his intrepid commitment to humanistic values.

In this elegant piece, Oklop takes us along on his journey outside time and place as we “know” them, to a dimension of pure consciousness. From that vantage point, beyond national boundaries and history’s relentless traumas, he can see that what’s at work is essentially benevolent. That “cosmic knowledge” is what releases us from what poet Theodore Roethke called “the dreary dance of opposites,” connecting our innermost selves to what empowers us most. Oklop’s reminder that we can, and must, turn darkness into light ourselves rings both a note of confidence in our abilities, and a mandate in unsettling times.

The year Oklop names, 2007, is the year he died too early. This piece is surely among the last things he wrote for publication, if not the last. So he ended his life with the injunction: “the truth must be repeated… in a thousand forms.” I imagine that Mika, who repeated the truth insistently as long as he could, would be gratified if, in the New Year, we keep going where he left off.

Oakland, California, 2017



Milan “Mika” Oklopdžić

Ever since I was a boy I have been in the habit of disappearing now and then, to restore myself by immersion in other worlds. My friends would look for me and after a time write me off as missing. When I finally returned, it always amused me to hear what so-called scientists had to say of my “absence,” or twilight states. Though I did nothing but what was second nature to me and what sooner or later most people will be able to do, those strange beings regarded me as a kind of freak; some thought me possessed; others endowed me with miraculous powers.

So now, once again, I vanished for a time. The present had lost its charm for me after two or three months of war, and I slipped away to breathe different air. I left the plane on which we live and went to live on another plane. I spent some time in remote regions of the past, raced through nations and epochs without finding contentment, observed the usual crucifixions, intrigues, and movements of progress on earth, and then withdrew for a while into the cosmic.

When I returned, it was 2007. I was disappointed to find the nations still battling one another with the same mindless obstinacy. A few frontiers had shifted; a few choice sites of older, higher cultures had been painstakingly destroyed; but, all in all, little had changed in the outward aspect of the earth. That is why I am not, as many of my friends and enemy suppose, a pacifist. I no longer believe that world peace can be brought about in rational ways… I believe in cosmic knowledge. This is the knowledge that, starting from the innermost point, we can at all times transcend all pairs of opposites, transforming white into black, evil into good, night into day.

What I am saying is self-evident. But just as every soldier shot to death is the eternal repetition of an error, so the truth must be repeated forever and ever in a thousand forms.


Cover photo - Care of the Oklop Estate

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Lissa Tyler Renaud - Scene4 Magazine

Lissa Tyler Renaud, Ph.D. is director of InterArts Training (1985- ). She was co-editor of The Politics of American Actor Training (Routledge), and Editor of Critical Stages webjournal 2007-14. She has been visiting professor, master teacher, speaker and recitalist in the U.S., Asia, Europe, Russia, Mexico. She is a Senior Writer for Scene4
For her other commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2017 Lissa Tyler Renaud
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine




January 2017

Volume 17 Issue 8

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