Hölderlin on the serene life. by Gerardo Muñoz

In a letter from the beginning of 1799 addressed to his mother, Hölderlin makes a sort of confession that fully illuminates (in a multum in parvo fashion) what he understood as a quiet or serene life. Or at least, it allows to grasp how he comes to envision it and towards what end. At first sight, what is striking is its bare literalness, too strange for a poet, and too mundane if it were not for its intrinsic lyricism. It is a lyricism that comes forth effortlessly, which speaks to the quality of its furtive testimony. Literalness is also described in its engagement with the world – and, more fundamentally, the sufficient condition for sense to emerge. This is the fragment in question (from Helena Cortés’ translation of the correspondence):

“No quise rechazar de plano para tener por si acaso una vía de escape, y sobre todo puesto que se ofrece a buscarme una plaza que consiste en acompañar a la universidad a un jovencito. Conocer más mundo (conocer el pueblo alemán le es tan necesario, especialmente a todo el que quiera convertirse en un escritor alemán, como conocer el suelo al jardinero) es al fin y al cabo la única compensación que me puede ofrecer una situación tan fatigosa, y lo alejado del lugar, que de todos modos muy lejos no puede estar de alguna universidad, me parece más ventajoso que perjudicial durante un par de años en los que aun no puedo contar con gozar de una vida tranquila entre los míos”. [1]. 

There is little doubt that the world disclosed here is well within the bourgeois interiority: there is economic calculation and anticipation. At this time Hölderlin was being offered the position of a preceptor to a university student. But there is hardly only this. There is also the affirmation of fleeing from what this world has to offer – and this means quite a lot in the early quarters of the Enlightenment. Una vía de escape – for Hölderlin the way out is not merely from economic hardship, but also the possibility to retain a certain knowledge that he dares to qualify as “of the world”: “to know the world, which is the only compensation to a fatigued situation and the remoteness of place”. Loss of fixity to place demands access to the world.

This is not your expected aesthetic education of man. The subject of the Enlightenment – its commitment to historical abstraction and the possession of aesthetic form as mediation to totality – prevails at the epistemic register at the cost of rescinding the dislocation from nature. By contrast, the knowledge implicated in knowing thy world should be like that of the soil with the gardener (pay attention to how Hölderlin inverts subject and thing: it is the ground that becomes accustomed to the gardener, and not the other way around). But at the threshold of the eighteenth century, Hölderlin’s “vía de escape” was also compensatory to the fatigue of a nascent epoch of the subject. The compensation did not entail an excess of knowledge; it was rather knowledge a way to disengage with the presupositions grounding the historical epoch.

This seems to me the operation at work in Hölderlin’s epistolary confession. Carchia was right in positing Hölderlin’s poetological aspiration of spirit and nature was entirely pre-Olympian, which requires subtracting himself from the modern parody of cultic romanticism [2]. A way out appears in cleared space when serene life is finally realized between friends; that is, among those that I make as friends (“los míos”). Poetry and making are here at their closest proximity cutting through the thicket of experience. This is what it means to know thy world. At the center of Hölderlin’s ethics there is a sense of distance – the waiting for a serene life in which language will finally gather itself unto presence. Ultimately, this is the plain literalness that the 1799 letter offers us.




1. Friedrich Hölderlin. Correspondencia completa, traducción de Helena Cortés y Arturo Leyte (Libros Hiperión, 1990), 467.

2. Gianni Carchia. “Introduzione” to Walter Otto’s Il poeta e gli antichi dèi (Guida Editori, 1991), 8.

Sundays outside history: some observations on Eliseo Diego’s La Calzada de Jesús del Monte (1949). by Gerardo Muñoz

The origin of Eliseo Diego’s mythical poetic collection En la Calzada de Jesús del Monte (1949) is so well known and recorded that it has been completely forgotten even by its most copious commentators. In his short memoralist essay “Un día ceremonial”, written decades after the publication of the poem, José Lezama Lima wrote the following: “En uno de sus ceremoniales litúrgicos, en un día de nuestro santo, nos reunimos en la iglesia de Bauta. En esa ocasión Eliseo Diego leyó su “Primer discurso” de En la Calzada de Jesús del Monte. Era un precioso y sorprendente regalo, suficientemente para llenar la tarde con aquella palabra que nace para uno de los más opulentamente sobrios destinos poéticos que hemos tenido…Cuando se publicó En la calzada de Jesús del Monte, el júbilo que me produjo fue esencialmente poético. En unos versos de circunstancia amistosa he intentado decir la alegría que me produce ese libro que traía esclarecimientos para nuestro paisaje y su acercamiento” [1]. At the center in this confession is not only the centrality of a poetic liturgical practice that vested the friendship of the origenistas poets, but more fundamentally the efficacy of the poetic word that Lezama describes as a “júbilo poético” or poetic happiness. It is a strange remark (like almost everything written by Lezama), since En la calzada de Jesús del Monte has been largely read as the litany of a domestic space (a “gran casa de todos”) consumed by dread experienced at the turn of the mid-century failed and stagnated republic.

The intuition raised by Lezama, although not elaborated, still haunts us: in what sense is En la calzada de Jesus del Monte about poetic happiness and what could stand for? We can go astray if we claim that happiness is a particular substantive and representational content of the poetic word. Indeed, there is really no event of happiness in En la calzada de Jesus del Monte except for the taking place of the poetic word fully estranged and foreign from its own place of annunciation. This seems to confirm Diego’s poetic vortex who writes in the dedicación of the book: “A poem is nothing more than a few words told one afternoon to a group of friends” [2]. However, this only deepens the mystery, since whoever tries to find concrete friends in En la calzada de Jesús del Monte (1949) will find none. Solitude abounds and expands throughout spaces. Lezama attempted to elevate the secret of friendship from thought to the liturgical enactment in search for transcendent meaning. Indeed, the emphasis on the mystery of liturgy is emphatic and compressed in Lezama’s programmatic memory about the almost ecclesiastical origins of the poem. I would like to suggest another path for the mysterious and inapparent force of the poem, which is no longer situated at the liturgical aesthetic experience, but rather in the mystery of a felicitous life at the threshold of history. If anything is disclosed throughout the pages of En la calzada de Jesús del Monte this is, precisely, that things appear to dwell in their place, even if no one is around and no community could stand for its reverence. Indeed, the poetic event dwells in an existential solitude before a changing world now fallen into pure disenchantment.

The happiness that falls from the poem, then, is not merely about the execution of the word or the unity of form, but it consists of something previous, altogether different: a mysterious shadow of the enchanted myth. In En la calzada de Jesús del Monte (1949) we are exposed to a poetic language that gathers in a desecularized dimension that suspends what Gianni Carchia identified as the postmythical form of mystery that seems to anticipate the semblance of historical order [3]. But Diego’s En la calzada de Jesús del Monte transfigures mystery to the point of disclosing the limit where life and redemption from the material world take place; namely, in the Sunday of life. But, unlike for Carchia, this poetic transfiguration takes place within the grammar of Christian theology and not the Greek classical past. Here Diego’s poetic mysterium differs fundamentally from the liturgical mystery, which presupposes a “fundamental sacrifice” that allows the temporal sequence of the end of time as the motor for universal religious redemption [4]. By contrast, Diego’s idea of a poetic mystery (which is also the mystery of the poem, which he never ceased to reflect upon through his life) is spatially dispersed, redeeming eternal life from the visibility of worldly phenomena. As Diego writes in an essay defining his conception of the theological mystery: “Primero les haré una confesión…no veo por la sala ningún hábito de Santo Domingo. Uno no debe jugar con los Misterios Mayores, y ninguno es mayor que el Misterio de los Tres que son Uno. Pero, ¿acaso no hizo Él a las ballenas y a los colibríes? ¿Acaso él no sonríe con la infinitud de sus peces y sus insectos? No creo que me tome a mal esta broma que hago como un niño pequeño que pretende jugar con su padre” [5].

By separating the “mayor mystery” of the Trinity from the minor mysteries of imaginative creations of the world (fables, poetry, child’s play), Diego was able to displace the grandiose stage of the liturgical mystery emphasizing the role that humor plays in the affective realization of the kingdom. In other words, it is most definitely the case that the mystery and the poetic musicality compose the parabolic nature of a transfigured kingdom that accompanies the inner existence of each and every human being [6]. Furthermore, this is why the Calzada is a defined in “Primer Discurso” as a pantheistic kingdom: “mi reino, en esta isla pequeña rodeada de Dios por todas partes / en ti ciego mis descanso” [7]. The happiness of the poetic effect in En la calzada de Jesús del Monte is the consummation of an eternal life that, by withdrawing itself from the representation of historical time, can outlive both dread and death. However, in its call for “eternity”, it is language itself that becomes a mode within a series of uncountable events: “sigo pensando, aquí, mi amigo, sucediéndome. / Luego de la primera muerte, señores, las imágenes … .Porque soy reciente, de ayer mismo” [8]. The “sigo sucediéndome”, a modal attempt at transforming life through event diffuses life and death like “Abel y Cain reunidos en Adán, como la muerte” [9]. The transfiguration of liturgical mystery does not evoke a christological arcana, but the overcoming of the civilizational myth of fratricide only to find “unity” in the eternal paradise evoked through Adam. As Diego will also write in an essay about the work of British novelist Jean Rhys: “…el sentido de orar para convertirse en símbolo del misterio de vivir: nuestro jardín era grande y hermoso como aquel jardín de la Biblia – el árbol de la vida crecía allí, nos dice, en medio del terror de una violencia que no entiende” [10]. The reemergence of the myth of an enchanted Edenic garden through the poem?

The fact that Diego chose to write En la calzada de Jesús del Monte as a series of poems and not a novel speaks to his resistance to metaphorize the Garden of Eden outside of the world, overly compensated through a figural postmythical semblance that could have only been taken as a form of parody. On the contrary, En la calzada de Jesús del Monte evokes the original paradise as a recurring and parabolic Sunday of life. A life of nothingness: “si la nada / es también el dormir, pesadamente / la caída sin voz entre la sombra… el Paraíso / realizado en la tierra, como un nombre!” [11]. What cuts through between the forms of the world is the poetic parabola that put us in nearness to the limit of the mystery and the unspeakable. This is what poet Fina García Marruz beautifully captured in one of the most outstanding essays on En la calzada de Jesus del Monte where the weight of the question is meshed with the eros of the poem’s parabola: “Todo arte es, o debería ser, arte de amor, qué es arte de re respeto, la estrategia de una amorosa retirada. Donde el yo se manifiesta en exceso, invade los otros límites, incendia el mundo, pero el verdadero sol del centro, como en Heráclito, no rebasa sus medidas” [12].

García Marruz will even allude to a “magical distance” to elucidate Diego’s poetic measureless opening to proximity: “para el dulce tamaño de la vida que miden estas distancias” [13]. The distances modulate situated existence against the reduction of ordered historical time: “El sitio donde gustamos las costumbres / aquí no pasa nada, no es más que la vida” [14]. As an authentic habitante Diego’s parabola solves the problem of the eclipse of historical time (the ruins of the first morning of historical development) through a descension to spatial detachment where the rest of Sunday is achieved amidst the dust of the world (“como el polvo del mundo”). And from the vantage point of every concrete experience and every limit, life emerges from the dead before a ruinous world marked by the failed Republic. This was a Republic that could not be named (“Yo no sé decirlo: la República”) in a paradoxical display of expository nominalism. As Diego writes in “El sitio en el que tan bien se está”: “en la penumbra como deshabitado sueño” [15]. At the height of 1949, En la calzada de Jesús del Monte was the most rigorous attempt to retreat from this penumbra of historical political life and its daydreaming.

This is the open secret of the actual city street, La Calzada de Jesús del Monte (Havana), during the first decades of the twentieth century, which according to historian Emilio Roig de Lauschering was the only route of communication between the hinterland and the new urban community: “La Calzada de Jesús del Monte que después se llamó después Calzada de Jesús del Monte por haber construido una ermita en la pequeña eminencia donde se encuentra la iglesia parroquial de Jesús del Monte…[…] Pero la Calzada de Jesús del Monte fue desde remotos tiempos hasta no hace mucho la vía principal de entrada y salida entre la población y el campo” [16]. In the late 1940s, la Calzada de Jesús del Monte was already a ‘deshabitado sueño’ as symbolized by dust, debris, oblivion, and death announced by the abstract time of modernization. En la calzada de Jesús del Monte, however, does not cross the path nor seeks a communication between the limits, but rather it opts to dwells on it.

This might be, indeed, Diego’s most important and subtle difference with Lezama’s defense of a liturgical surplus (even ex ecclesia cult of friendship, Freundschaftsdichtung, as a surrogate for national salvation) as if he had found a refuge in the mysterious parish of the Calzada Jesus del Monte or Bauta [17]. Diego’s transfiguration of history placed him at Sabbath in possession of “poderosas versiones de su vida” (“strong modes of his own life”) [18]. But the Sabbath is not a mere memory of a defeated religious community, but as Hermann Cohen argued, a spatial and institutional habit of a people coinciding with the cycles of a bright moonlight [19]. This is why imagination in En la calzada de Jesus del Monte is not enough, and the poet laments: “de tanto imaginarla mi corazón iba callando”. The eternal life of Sundays finds a retreat in the sabbatical experience against the historical time of normality and its revolutionary cycles that demystifies the thingly destruction in which civilization had declined at the end of times. Diego’s La Calzada de Jesús del Monte enshrined the only access to the transfiguration of the mystery: a sabbatical rest disambiguated from the monotone idleness posed by postmythical romanticism [20]. It was in the threshold of parabolic dwelling where En la Calzada de Jesús del Monte remained faithful neither to religious idolatry nor to a free-standing mysterium, but only to the feast of a sabbatical life “como un asno, en perpetuo domingo” (like a donkey, in a perpetual sunday) [21]. The donkey is the transfiguration that must carry this weight. And withdrawing from Juan Vives’ known fable about the peasant who sacrificed a donkey when realizing that he was drinking the moon reflected on a bucket of water, En la calzada de Jesus del Monte stubbornly trumpets not the entry to a “poetic enlightenment”, but the dwelling into the eternal Sunday where poetry is not a resource of radiant sacrifice of beauty, but the prophecy for both silence and sound [22].




1. José Lezama Lima. “Un día ceremonial”, in Imagen y Posibilidad (Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1992), 48-50.

2. Eliseo Diego.  En la Calzada de Jesús del Monte (Editorial Pre-Textos, 2020), 103.

3. Gianni Carchia. Dall’Apparenza al Mistero, in Immagine e verità: Studi sulla tradizione classica, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, Roma, 2003.

4. Odo Casel. Misterio del culto en el cristianismo (Cuadernos Phase, 2006), 82.

5. Eliseo Diego. “Viaje al centro de la tierra”, in Flechas en vuelo: ensayos selectos (Editorial Verbum, 2014), 162.

6. Giorgio Agamben. “Parabola e Regno”, in Il fuoco e il racconto (nottetempo, 2014), 25-37.

7. Eliseo Diego, En la Calzada de Jesús del Monte (Editorial Pre-Textos, 2020). 

8. Ibid., 115.

9.  Ibid., 117.

10. Eliseo Diego. “Una Iglesia no muy británica: Jean Rhys y su ancho mar”, in Flechas en vuelo: ensayos selectos (Editorial Verbum, 2014), 124.

11.  E. Diego, 119.

12. Fina García Marruz. “Ese breve domingo de la forma”, in Hablar de la poesía (Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1986), 398.

13. E. Diego, 131.

14. Ibid., 177.

15. Ibid., 184. 

16. Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring. La Habana: Apuntes Históricos (Editora del Consejo Nacional de Cultura, 1963), 111.

17. Wolfdietrich Rasch. Freundschaftskult und Freundschaftsdichtung im Deutschen Schrifttum des 18. Jahrhunderts (Halle-Saale, 1936).

18. Ibid., 157.

19. Hermann Cohen. “The Sabbath in its Cultural-Historical Significance”, The Reform Advocate, February 10, 1917, 5-6.

20. José Lezama Lima claims in “Pascal y la poesía”: “En la tradición de Pitágoras, que creía que sólo el símbolo daba el signo y que la escritura, tesis incomprehensible para el contemporáneo romanticismo antisignario, nace de un misterio, no de la horticultura de la pereza”, in Algunos tratados en La Habana (Anagrama, 1971), 166.

21. E. Diego, 147.

22. The fable is told by Hans Blumenberg: “The Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives recorded the fable of a peasant who killed a donkey because it swallowed the moon while drinking from a bucket, and because the world could sooner do without a donkey than without heaven’s lamp”, in “Glosses on Three Fables” (1984), History, Metaphors, Fables: A Hans Blumenberg Reader (Cornell University Press, 2020), 604.

Glosses on Philippe Theophanidis on community and obligation. by Gerardo Muñoz

These are further notes on the mini-series of conversations within the framework of the course that I am teaching at 17 instituto on contemporary Italian political thought. This second installment we had the opportunity of discussing a few ideas with Philippe Theophanidis on Roberto Esposito’s notion of community and its general horizon of inscription within contemporary discussions on immunity, the commons, and communication (a topic already explored with Philippe a couple of months back a propos of the publication of Dionys Mascolo’s La Révolution par l’amitiè, in which he participated). Although Philippe recommended reading and focusing on the first chapter of Roberto Esposito’s Communitas, his presentation intentionally exceeded the mere philological and description exposition. He suggested, perhaps too prudently, that the vocabulary of Italian theory or contemporary political thought is expressively ambivalent. This is already food for thought, as it puts pressure (at least in my reading) to the ‘conceptual’ register of Italian theory, while reminding us of the necessity of thinking against every moral or ideological political analysis. This also seems to traverse all of contemporary Italian theory regardless of what P.P. Portinaro claims on this ground. But I would like to register a few movements of Philippe’s talk in order to provide continuation in the upcoming discussions.

1. Theophanidis began insisting on the relationship between community and language. Because we are speaking beings, capable of saying, we are in the common of language regarding what or how we speak. Beyond and prior to any substance of community and its predication, there is a koine of language as sayability. This of course connects to the vulgar language or the poetics that marks the Italian tradition and that it enters into crisis with the acceleration process of modernization in Italy the postwar scenario, and to which names such as Pasolini, Zanzotto, Morante, or Levi will respond to. The crisis of community is, first and foremost, the crisis of the commonality of language in its rich materiality of the living community of beings. Here I am reminded that in the same way that there is no “theory” of language – as it remains purely inconceptual before grammar – there is no theory of substantive community, nor can there be one. To posit the community in the economy of predication is already to instrumentalize the very need to liberate it from whatever is done in its name.

2. For Theophanidis the conversation about community emerges in the wake of the collapse of 20th century communism and the absolutization of individualism due to the rise of economic management. But this does not imply restitution; it rather points to an ambivalent sense by which the very separation of the modern installment of individual and collective, community and substance, the person and the law, collapses. The unity of ‘munus’ in Esposito is a way to think the irreducibility of what is common between more than one without a securing a principle of mediation. Now, this unbridgeable gap is the negative foundation of the community in Esposito after Bataille, and the French tradition of the 50s.

3. However, Theophanidis assesses Esposito’s insistence in notions such as debt and obligation as an attempt to escape the nihilism of equivalence and the modern delegation of state sovereignty to fully become individuals capable of accumulating the spiritualization of freedom. However, what to make of Esposito’s dependence on categories of the Christian metaphysical tradition such as obligation? I mentioned to Philippe that this registered could be contrasted to the position of natural law, which also emphasis on foundational obligations as to delimit a set of normatively public goods (this typology is most clearly expressed in John Finnis classic Natural Law and Natural Rights). From this it follows not only that Esposito would be close (even if residually) to natural law principles but inscribe his conceptual grid in tension with the mediation of obligations on the one hand, and the reality of a concrete community on the other. In other words, it seems to me that if Esposito cannot guarantee a mediation for the notion of “obligation”, then this notion insofar as it is freestanding concept cannot do the job for any community. It could only stand as such: that is, a merely conceptual. This is something that has reemerged somehow in Esposito’s most recent work in institutions, human rights, and political anthropology in his Pensiero istituente (2020) where mediation does play a role, suggesting that he does not want to be taken as merely conceptual. Of course, I agree with Theophanidis that munus is void, a schism that Esposito does not want to suture, and so in this sense (also as a critic of personalism and the persona) he differs fundamentally from the general ends of iusnaturalism. However, it seems to me that the difficulty regarding the operativity of obligation in Esposito’s renewal of community does not disappear, quite the contrary.

4. A question emerged as to whether community can transform the crisis of political form, or whether any talk about community had to be done ex politico or infrapolitically. Theophanidis defended separating community and politics, if by politics we mean a return to the classical principles of sovereignty and representation; but also, if by politics we imply a general morality that would inseminate direct consensus and legislation across the members of the community. Any reworking of the political has to be done from a counter-communitarian perspective insofar as what is ruined is precisely the community of salvation guaranteed by those that confess or by those that assent to a principle of representation that marks our crisis. Perhaps the negative community (the community of a poetics of language and use) is what remains the fiction of socialization that drags the collapse of political representation. Otherwise, community is a sort of aggregate form of administration that exist comfortably well within the regime of biopolitics (another ambivalent term for Esposito).

5. Finally, Theophanidis expressed, rightly so, some skepticism at the famous Thomas Müntzer’s motto Omnia sunt communia, which on the surface established a totalization of the commons, but in actuality it rendered a moral legislation of what is understood as commons on behalf of a consent of total ownership of property. In this sense, the communitarian claim of Müntzer was a precursor to Carl Schmitt attack against humanitarianism: whoever says Human wants to fool us, since the outermost limit becomes the inhuman or the uncommon that must be obligated, erased, and destroyed whether it is in the name of the Human or the Commons. This is ideology at its finest, and it explains why the itinerary of both humanity and community have experienced such a happy voyage well into our present: it has consolidated a dominating morality veiled under the guise of a contingent good of and for the community. Of course, the price to be paid, just like Thomas Müntzer had to pay, is that the price of one’s head: the figure of acephaly now funds the differential structure of equivalence. Any reworking of community must be thought from and against collective equivalent execution, which is the real truth latent underneath every consensus and every morality.

Glosses on Rodrigo Karmy’s Averroes and Italian theory. by Gerardo Muñoz

These are just a few notes on Rodrigo Karmy’s excellent presentation today on Averroes and averroism in Italy in the framework of a two-month course that I am teaching at 17 instituto on contemporary Italian political thought. And this series is a way to supplement and contribute to an ongoing discussion. So, these notes have no pretensions of being exhaustive, but rather to leave in writing some instances that could foster the discussion further in the subsequent interventions with Philippe Theophanidis, Francesco Guercio and Idris Robinson. There are two subtexts to this presentation: Rodrigo Karmy’s essay on Averroes and medieval theology of the person published in the new collection Averroes intempestivo (Doblea editores, 2022), and his preface to my own Tras la política on Italian thinkers forthcoming at some point this year (this text is unpublished at the moment).

1. Rodrigo Karmy is interested in advancing an averroist genealogy of Italian theory, and not just a matter of historical influence or history of ideas. The genealogical central unity for Karmy is the “commentary”, which I guess one could relate to the gloss, but also to philology (in the broad sense), and to the concrete practice of translation and incorporation of a way of thinking about life and the life of thought. Averroes is the signatura of a strong reading of Aristotle (the strongest argues Karmy against Renan). However, there is no academic ideal here, but rather a force of thought.

2. This force of thinking for Karmy is to be found in Averroes’ unique contribute on the Aristotelean text: the common intellect is substance. This will have important and decisive consequences for anthropology and the anthropological determination in Medieval philosophy (the absolutization of the person in Thomism, for instance). So, for Karmy it is no coincidence that Italian theory is heavily invested in the “common intellect”: from Mario Tronti’s elaboration on the autonomy of the worker to Antonio Negri’s general intellect when conflating Marx and Spinoza, but also in Esposito’s thought on the impolitical up to Giorgio Agamben’s self-serving averroism and its relation to experience of language and poetry as a form of life. The common intellect in Averroes allows, then, the separation of the the nominal subject from the genus of Man or Human. For Karmy this signals a fracture of the theological-political paradigm.

3. Why does Averroes emerge in Italian theory, and not, say, in French philosophy or German hermeneutics? Karmy relates this to the Italian tradition as a laboratory of translation, sedimentation, and the commentary. To which I responded that this is consistent with Bodei’s emphasis on fragmentation of the Italian tradition, Esposito’s idea of contamination of Italian living thought, and even Agmben’s most recent emphasis of diglossia and bilingualism in the Italian language from Dante onwards (in fact, Agamben is the editor of the Ardilut series on Italian poetry at Quodlibet). I tried to add to Karmy’s thesis the following: the notion of the “commentary” is far from being just a standard glossing over the corpus of an author, it could be very well taken as a sort of problem of language – a poetics, not a politics – which expresses a dynamic of the living that is prior to grammaticalization and political separation of power, for instance. This is the event of a language as such (una voce). It occurs to me that Karmy’s notion of the commentary could be analogous to the vocative in poetry (formidable present in Andrea Zanzotto’s poetics, for instance).

4. Finally, Karmy insisted that Averroes is, indeed, a sort of step back from the modern foundation of politics and the res publica. I suggested that this must entail a decisive step back from Machiavellian politics, or the ‘Machiavellian moment’ (JGA Pocock), insofar as Machiavelli inaugurates the sequence of technical nihilism from the force the political to the force of the worker (ways of arranging the administration of power). This is very neatly stated in Martin Heidegger’s seminar on Jünger’s The Worker. So, Averroes insofar as it gestures to a step back is something other than political republicanism, and this forces us to rethink the genealogy of politics. That seems a heavy but important task at the core of contemporary Italian theory.