Sunday, September 16, 2012
[Start][Previously on]

The Shadow of Heidegger

Excuse me for comparing you to a popular poet.

Popular or not, he was a great poet.

And you, perhaps as few in this century, know the divine condition of the poetic word. I have read your lecture on Hölderlin. The one you gave in Rome, in the Rome of the Duce. In 1936. The one you gave the day you ran into Karl Löwith and didn’t concede him, that brilliant and Jewish disciple, the compassion of removing your armband with the swastika.

I have read it more than once, master Heidegger. It is unique, it borders on the sublime.

Couldn’t you, you too, be inextricable?

Once again: 1951. I decide to seek Heidegger, get to you. I want to tell him something. Tell him how my father died. My first idea is – although apparently it is not – practical. I don’t ask myself if I’ll travel towards you by ship, airplane or in a canoe. Crossing the Atlantic, anyone can do that. Afterwards, arriving in Germany and traveling to Freiburg are not impossible feats. The impossible is to reach you. That’s my practical question. I don’t delay in solving it. I will be a great philosopher, or, if it is enough, an important philosopher; enough, so as to reach one of your seminars.

It wouldn’t be hard for me. I grew up in the spiritual climate of your philosophy. As a child my father took me to some of your lectures. I am the son of a philosopher. I am German. The son, furthermore, of a philosopher who was on the faculty at Freiburg and who is remembered for his caution, his soberness, and for an early withdrawal from Nazi Germany, negating or, at least, fed up with it. Let’s see a simple, yet powerful, aspect of the question: the party monthly dues. My father, by leaving, in 1943, stopped paying them. You – and how much I reproach you this, Master – paid them until the end.


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