Sunday, April 01, 2012
[Start][Previously on]

The Shadow of Heidegger

It was my first visit to Paris. But don’t expect me to dedicate a single adjective to the Eiffel Tower, favorable or not. That tower, for me, would have meant something – and there would certainly be a place for it in this letter – if, from its top, I had hurled myself into the void. It would be more than hard to comment on the result of that decision. No one can describe themselves splattered on the paving stones or pavement. Not even the pavement of a city like Paris. Dasein, when it dies, isn’t. Dasein never is dead. Being dead would mean to be dead. Dasein, dead, is not. It ceases to be.

As far as the Tower goes, I could explain why I went up it to throw myself into the void, because I used it, because I chose it for that decision, because I granted it existentiality or historicity (historical happening) by doing so.

But I didn’t do it. So there’s no sense in me telling you about it. If I did so, I would assume the doltish look, exterior, already interpreted, of the tourist. The tourist sees what he sees not, from a existential pro-jection that includes the seen as pro-jection, but as inert exteriority. His gaze slides over things, without including them, ever, in his life. He sees landscapes. That’s why the gaze of the tourist is always a look driven, directed, focused by others; by the tourist guides. How could a guide not be necessary, like the blind need an effective and faithful dog, to someone incapable at looking at himself? The condition of the tourist is the impeccable outcome of inauthentic existence.

Once, an ordinary event reclaimed my attention. A German soldier, perhaps because of the level of the curb or some other circumstances, tripped and fell on his face, hard. Three Frenchmen ran to help him. They put him on his feet. Spoke with him. (I avoid in what language. Perhaps they had forged their own, common one. One took out a handkerchief and cleaned the wound on his face. They continued talking. They smiled. The German soldier composed himself. He thanked them. They shook hands. They never, quite possibly, saw each other again.

Through the night, and it didn’t surprise me, one continued hearing the cries.


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