Sunday, November 11, 2012
[Start][Previously on]

The Shadow of Heidegger

But the pistol was where it still is: on the desk; enough digression about it. I grab it and bury it angrily in the pocket of my overcoat. I go towards the table with the local wine. He didn’t want to have any with me. He didn’t want to share it. Alright, I’ll have some alone.

I looked for a cup in in the cupboard and filled it almost to overflowing. I laughed. Was it a morning of excesses for me? Yes and no. It was a morning when everything could happen and – perhaps – everything had happened. I took the cup in one or two draughts, no more. I felt dazed. It was a thinking wine, serious; a wine that threw one with violence and the immediacy of a Bacchic exaltation. I filled another cup.

And what if – let’s suppose – I took him the photo?

Here’s the other point.

I emptied, the second cup, half way, or more, or less, about.

Consider Heidegger and the photo of the naked man going to the gas chamber.

This possibility required even more courage than the first, the one with the Luger: to lock oneself in a study for days, weeks, and look at the photo, to record it, under fire, in the soul. To be that man, dream with him, imagine his life, and rebuild it, a thousand different ways. Because that life – by not being nothing – could be reconstructed as that of a German and Aryan social democrat, or as that of a communist, or as that of a homosexual, or as that of a Gypsy, or as – of course – that of a Jew. Each reconstruction would take the Master months. And every one of the days of all those months he would suffer through the ignominious death of that man, because if he invented a vocation for him, let’s say: chess player, he must know that the chess player had been annihilated in his possibility of being such and of continuing to be such. Just like all the others. If he invented him a son: that son had lost a father. If he invented him a wife: she had remained alone, widowed, forsaken. If he invented him a father: that father cried until the end the death of his son. Whatever minimal vital event he gave the man in the photo condemned him to see, there, in that photo, in that moment, the moment that uprooted him.
It was, for him, for Heidegger, an infinite torture.

But he had not taken the photo. The naked man was now on Heidegger desk, going, from there, to the gas chamber.

I emptied the cup and it fell from my hand. It shattered loudly into infinite pieces that scattered across the room.

Then someone opened a door.

It wasn’t the door Heidegger had gone out through.

It was the other one, the door into the Master’s study.

A loud, angry voice, crossed with indignation. With rash, excessive indignation, it said:

What are you waiting for to leave?

It was Elfriede Heidegger.

An old woman, possessed by such an intense vitality, that, I dare assert, I believed impossible, or fictitious; only literary, so to speak.


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