So many paths to one destination

Almost an ode. Sustained, at times severe, but always firm

Each path leads to a destination. More accurately, we could say “to the destination” because, after all, the prefigured idea of a destination is simply the projection of a potential actuality that, unfortunately, attracts us without hope of deterrence.

It makes little sense to think that outside of us-in the psychological sense-there must exist a privileged (non-)place where our walk must lead us without ever revealing any details in advance: we arrive where our breath ceases to steal air from the cosmos, and the flag we are given the power to plant will find a place only on earth. A place that, just an instant before it was known, was only the fleeting image of a mysterious destination where to crown a seemingly endless endeavor.

Mountain path paved with stones

The central drama afflicting man is precisely the certainty of the present. This reality overflows and submerges the illusory idea that one can escape the Self through any evolutionary path. But what better road than life as an antechamber to death drives man toward his most complete and irreversible alienation?

And what better sense of “surprise” springs up in the individual who finally realizes that he can reach where his thoughts could never rest? Seemingly devastating, this realization is the goad that wounds us moment by moment, thrusting us into the realization that we are too powerful for the reality we are given and too weak for its transcendence.

In this limbo, the man languishes and squirms, hoping those tenacious bonds might suddenly vanish, leaving him dismayed at the possibility hitherto only theorized. But such a possibility, on the other hand, is alive only in its absence from the mental firmament of man, and it finally dies when it is forcibly translated into the “paradise” of potentiality.

There, it becomes an embryo of the present, and surprise begins to paint itself in the mournful tones of inexorable mourning. The path has unveiled reality again: it ends once the destination is reached, not before, not after: exactly in that potential, which, by reifying itself, becomes actual, recasting itself in the same ground where the seeker rests his feet.

Like a bird, first shaped of that heavenly ability to evade heaviness and now fallen dead at our feet, the longed-for power over reality has given birth to its children, made of its very essence, and, in doing so, has “condemned them to live” simply because they cannot do anything else.

Brief biographical-philosophical note on Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his contributions to existentialism and phenomenology. Born in 1889 in Messkirch, Germany, Heidegger initially studied theology before turning to philosophy. He is best known for his work “Being and Time,” exploring the question of being and existence.

Heidegger’s philosophy emphasized the importance of individual experience and the concept of “being in the world,” or Dasein. He believed that human existence, in its possibilities of being “authentic” or “inauthentic,” was fundamentally rooted in our interactions with the world around us and that understanding being was essential to understanding ourselves.

Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil by Rüdiger Safranski
Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil. A philosophical biography of Rüdiger Safranski, a text that explores the meanderings of the German philosopher’s controversial life, including the historical and personal reasons why he did not openly take sides against the advance of Nazism.

Despite his intellectual contributions, Heidegger’s involvement with the Nazi party during World War II has been a source of controversy. While some argue that his work should be separated from his political views, others criticize the extent of his involvement and its implications on his philosophical legacy. All of this is discussed at length in Rüdiger Safranski’s book, which, without taking sides, analyzes the facts with a clinical eye and renders a pleasing picture that includes every helpful detail.

Heidegger’s complex and influential ideas continue to provoke debate and discussion in philosophy, sociology, and psychoanalysis. In particular, the concept of “anguish” plays a central role in the transformation from inauthentic existence to authentic life, and, parallelly, in the psychoanalytic field, it represents a “privileged” (albeit painful) moment to peer into the dark dynamics of the unconscious.

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