enowning
Sunday, November 04, 2012
 
[Start][Previously on]

The Shadow of Heidegger

I can’t say there was a single expression on Heidegger’s face. Not even a wince. Perhaps, very subtly, a dis-tension, some form of relief. He knew, as I knew, that everything was over. He pushed back his chair, dragging it noisily, and stood up. He did not look at me. The god of philosophy did not deign to rest his eyes on me. He sighed, I believe, although barely, either annoyed, or tired. He turned, offering me his back, and walked heavily to the door. I thought, honestly thought, that there he would pause, look at me, and say something. Didn’t I merit a sentence? Didn’t Dieter Müller merit one? He didn’t do it. He didn’t stop. He didn’t say anything. He only put his hand on the latch, grasped it firmly, turned it, opened the door, a heavy door, rustic (in it beat the same soul as in the German soil, with a univocal peasant purity), and went out.

It’s worth pausing here. How did he close the door, violently? Did he slam it, could one say, firmly? That is, without violence, without slamming, but assured of his decision, weakly? As if missing the conviction to leave? As if he wanted to leave it open to return? No way. That door, Heidegger closed it, and in a way so as to close it forever.


Solitary, there, in that unique instant, unthinkable and unrepeatable, I was alone in Martin Heidegger’s room. I walked – to say it as he deserves to have it said – so as to wander without allowing a single nook, a single hidden angle to miss my attention. Nothing stood out. Nothing took your breath away. Nothing was exaggerated. It was the room of a rural philosopher, of a man who had made agrarian the first and last of his refuges.

What did I come to look for here?

What did I expect from him?

Or more so: what did I want?

These questions already have their answers. I won’t formulate them again.

And if – let’s suppose – he stopped before leaving turned and said: your father sacrificed himself in vain?

And if – let’s suppose – he said: you are insolent?

And what if – let’s suppose – he was carrying the Luger?

There’s a point to this.

It would have been distinct. There were two modes. One: He left the room with the Luger; I remained alone, here, just as now. In ten or fifteen minutes I hear a shot. Heidegger had killed himself. Two: He left the room with the Luger; I waited one, two hours and I left. Heidegger, disturbed in his soul, meditated his decision. The time for that decision could not be measured, much less supposed. I might take months, years. But Heidegger had, in his power, my father’s Luger, demanding from him. I want to say – precisely: I had accepted taking it. He had accepted its constant demand, its perennial temptation, its discomforting nature becoming more uncomfortable, increasing with each passing year. Without giving him the mercy of forgiveness, given that he would put the pistol in such a visible place that he would be condemned to view it every day and every day ask (himself): Why is it there? Whose gun is it? Ah, yes: it’s Dieter Müller’s. That imbecile who shot himself for what others had done. That imbecile that every day, every blessed or godforsaken day I see that pistol, questions me, in totality, through it. From the absolute act he constructed through it.
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