Sunday, November 13, 2011
[Start][Previously on]

The Shadow of Heidegger

We, in 1933, threw ourselves at historicity, at temporality. We sought our star. We attacked and took greatness. That way, at least, was Heidegger in those years. So we saw him. Only that explained his frantic activity. His speeches. His orders. His certainties. "Have you not seen the beauty of the Führer's hands?", he asked us, in the Freiburg senior common room, one evening of December, 1933.

I digress, Martin. Or worse, I derange. I don't know if I can tell you this story. I don't know if you will believe it. Listen, read, hear me, by God: Germany has to abandon the League of Nations towards the end of 1933. That organization of capitalist technocracy, of the soulless bourgeoisie, had imposed on our people the malevolent Treaty of Versailles. How not to abandon it? Our Führer convoked a plebiscite. Heidegger (in November, Martin, my memory is getting clearer, November 3rd, 1933!) launched an appeal to the "German Students". Neither you nor anyone else - wary with the occlusion of distance - can understand what it was for us, at that crossroads of history, a calling from Heidegger. The calling called, called us, reclaiming us, like so: "Let not propositions and “ideas” be the rules of your being. The Führer alone is the present and future German reality and its law."

Heidegger had placed the propriety, the authenticity, the truth of our Dasein, in the Führer's Dasein. The Führer spoke to us. We lived interpreted by him. Was that out assault on greatness? Was the Führer our star, our chaos, our complicated, toilsome joy?

I never had with him (during the rectorship) that conversation (speak with you, he had said) he'd proposed or ordered. I don't know why. I had a clue. Speaking with me was an event hinged on one condition. As soon as I free myself from some commitments. He didn't free himself. He did not speak with me. That happens. When the condition for the possibility of something doesn't come about, that something becomes impossible. It was, in that sense, impossible that Heidegger speak with me. By subordinating this event to a freeing of his commitments, he subordinated it to an unrealizable possibility. He never freed himself from his commitments because he never ceased handing himself over to them. To making them happen, even, boundless creations. He did not stop until creating the last. The last of his commitments. The last of the events of his rectorate. The event (it couldn't be any other way) was the renouncement of carrying out another.


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