You lighting your pipe calms me. If you light it, it is because you have decided to listen to me. I have, I now know, time. The time it’ll take you to smoke that pipe. As you see, gestures speak. The signifiers hurt. Acts can scream. But let’s speak plainly: the most powerful signifier in this room, between you and I, is that Luger. And who has it ready to hand is I, not you. I knew very well where to put it, where it would be security to me, and a temptation to you. Is it, for you, a temptation? Does anyone imagine Master Heidegger throwing himself on a Lugar and drilling the arrogant, insolent son of one of his old disciples? I assume, on the other hand, something: more than a temptation to attack, the possibility that the Lugar gives you is that of defense. If I decide to grab it, you by chance arrive before. Only that would push you to action. Defending yourself from me. You don’t yet know if I’m crazy. We’ve worked together for months. You know all the aspects of my thought, except for my internal chaos. If it triumphs, I’ll grab the Luger. Or I’ll try. In that case you must deliver yourself to action. To find out if you’ll arrive first.[Next]
Let’s not be dramatic: none of that will be necessary. I don’t want to kill you. I want to keep you there, where you are now, sitting, listening to me, smoking you pipe. Let’s be clear: I was wrong conceding to you that the duration of your pipe guaranteed the duration of our encounter. The Luger guarantees it. It decides and it’s mine. Ergo, professor: I decide, because I – even if I don’t want to – can kill you. You – despite desiring my massive destruction – don’t have the material forces to bring it about. Thing being what they are, I propose that this – everything that’ll happen now between you and I – be a dialogue. If it not: if it’s only a monologue, and mine, it will be because of your silence. This Luger is not there to keep you from talking. Its purpose is another. We will, together, unveil it.
I decided to reach you three years after the death of my father. It was November 1951. There were elections that year in my country. Well done, Master, finally a gesture, an expression. Did you notice? You arched your eyebrows. You’ll have thought: elections in Germany in 1951? No, in Argentina. My country is Argentina. I arrived there at the age of ten. We are now in 1968. I’ve been living in that distant land for 24 years; distant to you, not to the Argentinians. For them, you’ll see, not only is it the center of the West, just as Germany was for you in 1935. They don’t even raise the possibility that it is not the center. Whether that of the West, East, of Greenland or Antarctica, it is the center of the world. They are the champions of staring at your own navels. They have a navel, and that great navel is the world. There, in that irrefutable center, they live, unique, misunderstood and ununderstood; neither Indians, nor blacks, nor half castes; nor Spanish, nor Italian, nor Jews nor German. In summary, they are neither Americans nor Europeans; indecipherable, unknowable, a conspiracy of hieroglyphics and dementia, perpetual adversaries of the clear and distinct. There is an adjective used by one of your greatest living writers. Surely you’ll know, the writer, not the adjective. He’s just been taken a definitive celebrity, a new genius of French culture, which devotes itself, as you and I know, to producing stars. In 1966 appeared the unavoidable text from Foucault: The Order of Things. In the context of this conversation, and for me, can I ask you if you’ve read it, or at least, you were aware of its existence? All the philosophical community is reading it. It brings a novelty: the death of man. It found some inspiration in Nietzsche, but above all (just as, improperly, all the so called French structuralist left does) from you. Foucault read with great care your Letter on Humanism, where, there yes, you, who had been doing it for some time, kill man by killing his most essential product: humanism. Wow! I didn’t come to talk with you about this. I don’t have time for detours.
Labels: The Shadow of Heidegger