Sunday, May 06, 2012
[Start][Previously on]

The Shadow of Heidegger

We passed lightly through Madrid. Spain was a friend country. The Führer had helped Franco win his war, which was, as I’ve always heard, part of ours, and prefigured it. They told, some professors, that the Condor Legion of “Grand Marshall Goering” (so they referred to him) had been fundamental, effective. “A dazzling effectiveness”, was said by, not a philosopher, but a novelist. (Pardon if I’ve forgotten his name. Names like “Camilo” and others are helplessly lost in the German folds of my memory. Others, under their breath, said that Goering’s airplanes had been unnecessarily destructive. And they named a certain city, well known no doubt. I avoided telling them they shouldn’t regret that event. That it was only the takeoff of our historical-spiritual forces, that they would save Europe from devastation and obliteration. But I didn’t have to avoid that phrase with everyone. On the contrary, many were dazzled by it. All the more so when I told them it belonged to Martin Heidegger, from a course on the Introduction to Metaphysics he gave at Freiburg University. “Your heard him? You saw him? You were there?” they asked with a somewhat childish incredulity, or perhaps with an imbecility without redemption.

One of them stood out, and, what’s more, did so intentionally. Oh, Martin, I have also forgotten his name. His last name was, I recall, double. I mean: he had two last names joined by a conjunction. For hours he overwhelmed me saying he had anticipated Heidegger. That he (he was almost this extreme) had written Being and Time, in Madrid, and before 1927. Finally, overtaken by an already painful boredom, I shook his hand and congratulated him. “You are a genius”, I told him. With the abject intention of freeing myself completely, I added: “Heidegger has spoken to me frequently of you. And the influence your ideas have had on him. He regrets not having cited you. But the Master is like that. That’s his style. He avoids citing contemporary sources. Think of Husserl: who was his indisputable master and whom he only recognized in a footnote.” “Deserved recognition, no doubt!” exclaimed the man of two conflicted last names. “Deserving too, would have been to cite you”, I said. “Oh, Professor Müller”, he exclaimed. “I don’t pretend so much!”

A week later we crossed the ocean. I had contacts, of course. I made appointments with Argentinian friends in Germany. They gave me papers, documents, letters of recommendation. But, Martin, you know: this is not a narration of adventures. As Heidegger said of Aristotle: “He was born, worked, and died”, and so I should have narrated my escape from Germany. “I fled, travelled, and reached the destination”.

The country in which I would die (because I won’t die in Freiburg) was not awaiting nor had waited for me. Only, it had become what it was. Don’t try to decipher it, Martin. It will take your life and it won’t give you answers.


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