Sunday, June 10, 2012
[Start][Previously on]

The Shadow of Heidegger

Everything was fast and clandestine. It was on a Sunday, it was at night and it was after leaving a cinema. It was cold. I was ready to wait for a mini-bus. A tall man, with an overcoat and a wide brimmed hat – so wide as to shadow his face without exceptions – stopped by my side and said, with a harsh and slow whisper, some words in German, the necessary. “Professor Müller, we need you.” I looked at him. “Don’t look at me”, he said. He was a man accustomed to giving orders. “We are men of the Fourth Reich. We were, many of us, your students. We want to have you once again amongst us.” I tried to say something. “Now is not the time to talk”, he said. “We respect you, professor. So much so that we do not offer you options. Especially one: that of saying no. Do not avoid answering your telephone tomorrow night.”

He left.

I wanted to leave many things behind when I fled Germany.

It was useless.

Now they were returning for me.

The next day, half an hour before midnight, the ringing of my telephone startled me. I no longer waited for it. I had, to calm myself, two or three hypothesis. 1) It had been a madman; knowledgeable, but crazy. 2) It was the Argentinian police. They were following me and wanted to recruit me. The colonel, in 1948, was already president of the republic and his adversary insisted in his being, immutably, a Nazi and a fascist. Perhaps he needed some lessons on the philosophy of the Third Reich. How else but me could he reach out to? 3) It was a case of a madman; of some other madman, of me. The man in the overcoat and the hat with the wide brim had never existed. I, confused, imagined things. Things I feared or desired. Perhaps I desired to convert myself in the Heidegger (not into the Rosenberg, by God) of an ominous Latin American Fourth Reich.

I answered the phone.

My extravagant hypotheses crumbled.

It was them.

I again doubted my mental steadiness. (One lives in a state of dementia. That was a thought I had entertained in recent years. Dementia is, always, there. Sanity, heroic and even astonishingly, persists. The voice that reached me from the telephone was familiar. The man speaking to me now had spoken to me before. I avoided mentioning those circumstances.

We set a time, a location.

They would come for me.


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