Hölderlin in Agamben. by Gerardo Muñoz

There is no question that Hölderlin occupies a central place in Giorgio Agamben’s work, although he always appears within a specific strategic deployment. Of course, it might be the case that Hölderlin is always present in instances where he is not directly cited or thematized, but in the following note I want to record four instances where Hölderlin appears in different phases of Agamben’s thinking. These notes are preliminary for a larger work in progress that looks at the status of the comic as a potential force for a transfigured politics, which is informed, although not limited by Hölderlin’s work. Hölderlin occupies, after all, the entry point to L’uso dei corpi (2014) in relation to the well-known maxim “the use of the proper”; the territory where the (modal) ontology will be measured. However, esoterically Agamben’s incorporation of the German poet suggest a ‘way out’ from the tragic politicity of modernity. It might useful here to recall Schmitt’s annotation in Glossarium about what Hölderlin symbolized in the larger picture of modern German thought: “Youth without Goethe (Max Kommerell), that was for us since 1910 in concrete youth with Hölderlin, i.e. the transition from optimistic-ironic-neutralizing genius (genialismus) to pessimistic-active-tragic genialism (genialismus). But it remained within the genialistic framework, yes, deepened it into infinite depths. Norbert von Hellingrath is more important than Stefan George and Rilke.” (18.5. 1948) [1]. To overturn Hölderlin as the figure of the tragic caesura and witness to the crisis of “distance” in modernity is most definitely at stake here in order to avoid (subjective) conditions for something like an Enlightenment renewal. More broadly, it could be productive to think of Hölderlin as the poetic site that grants Agamben a possibility of thinking the event beyond the dependency of messianism and history, now displaced by the relation between language and world. 

a) As early as in Stanzas (1977) Agamben writes about Hölderlin: “The name of Hölderlin – of a poet, that is, for whom poetry was above all problematic and whom often hoped that it could be raised to the level of the mēchane (mechanical instrumental) of the ancients so that its procedures could be calculate and taught – and the dialogue that with its utterance engages a thinker who no longer designs his own mediation with the name of “philosophy”, are invoked here to witness the urgency, for our culture, of rediscovering the unity of our own fragmented word” (xvii) [2]. Hölderlin occupies here the site of antiphilosophy, in which the event of language does not longer coincide with a structure of the subject, but of the potentiality of “saying”; a sayability in which fragmentation removes any commanding closure of language. The event of appearing and bring to conclusion (in the book on Paul, Agamben will associate it with the rhetorical figure of the enjambment in the poem) gains primacy over formalization. 

b) In another early book, L’uomo senza contenuto (1994) Agamben takes up the question of fragmentation of language in Hölderlin but this time provides a specific category: rhythm. On the chapter about the original structure of the work of art he writes: “Everything is rhythm, the entire destiny of man is one heavenly rhythm, must as every work of art is one rhythm, and everything swings from the poetizing lips of the god”. This statement was passed down to us by Hölderlin’s own hand. […]. What Hölderlin’s sentence says appears at first blush too obscure and general to tempt us to take into consideration in a philosophy query on the work of art. However, if we want to submit to its proper meaning, that is, if we want, in order to corrupt to it, to make it first of all into a problem for us, then the question that immediately arises is: what is rhythm, which Hölderlin attributes to the work of art as it original characteristic?” (94) [3]. So, the category of rhythm “holds men” epochally as a form of incommensurable distance with the world, which Agamben relates to an-archic original structure of dwelling. For Agamben this step-back to the “original site” vis-à-vis rhythm releases “art” as poesis from a productivist “destiny”. So, it would be obvious to say that rhythm, insofar it abolishes the production, it also thematizes the ethical life as the form of life (which is why Agamben also attaches Hölderlin as a counter-figure of the notion of “vocation”) [4]. There is no form of life without rhythm in nearness to the common ground. 

c) In Autoritratto nello studio (2017), Agamben glosses (a) and (b), that is, he recognizes the importance of Von Hellingrath reconstruction of the late Hölderlin of the Pindaric translations and the fragmentary syntax, but now situates him at the center of modernity. Agamben writes: “Walser noted, as Hölderlin before him, that the world had become simply unhabitable. And there was not even the possibility of amending it…I am convinced that Hölderlin in his last thirty years of this life was not unhappy, as some professors of literature tend to describe him. On the contrary, Hölderlin was able to dream at his house without worrying about duties. The Tubingen tower and the clinic of Herisau: these are two places that we should never cease to reflect upon. What took place behind these walls – the rejection of reason by these two poets [Walser and Hölderlin] – is the most powerful rejection against our civilization” (140-141) [5]. So here Hölderlin, like Walser, is an epochal gestalt capable of generating the separation between thinking and doing, world and experience, which became totalized in the legitimacy of the modern. What could be interpreted as ‘domestic interiority’ for the poet becomes a symptom of a radical form of dwelling at the end of reason subsumed by nihilism.

d) Finally, in a recent essay published this year entitled “Hölderlins antitragische Wendung”, Agamben goes a step further to qualify Hölderlin’s breakthrough, taking radical distance from his relation to the tragic and identifying him as a poet that must be read in a comic register. This is all the more surprising given that, as Agamben himself notes, there is almost no mention of comedy in Hölderlin’s prose, except in the review of Siegfried Schmid’s play The Heroine. And although it is true one could argue that Hölderlin undertook a destruction of the tragic poet in The death of Empedocles, as far as I am aware there has been no interpretation of Hölderlin as opening to the “comedy of life”, except for a brief mention, almost in passing, about his laughter by the Italian poet Andrea Zanzotto [6]. Agamben concludes his essay suggesting that: “With this concept of “ordinary life” I should like to conclude my reflections, at least for the time being. Isn’t it precisely this ordinary life, what in the thirty-six years in the tower, Hölderlin’s life and poetry – or his “poetry” – have persistently sought to carry it out in an exemplary and funny way? And isn’t “ordinary” life the same as the “living” life (to live according to habitus and habits), which is distant and perfect in the last tower poems: When people go into the distance, living life …?” In any case, if Hegel defines the idyll as “the half descriptive, half lyrical poems […] and mainly nature, the seasons, etc., the subject matter”; then the tower poems – this extreme, incomparable poetic legacy of the West – are an idyll of the genre” (40) [7]. And here Hölderlin appears not just as another figure in “the age of the poets” (and the genialismus‘ commanding force), but rather as the moment in which the problem of life opens to its inoperosità. The unity of humanity now navigates the fragmented reality not through the subject, but rather through the singular form of life. Comedy, then, in the idyll genre in which life is freed from both desire and liberty.




1. Carl Schmitt. Glossarium: Aufzeichnungen aus den Jahren 1947 bis 1958 (Duncker & Humblot, 2015). 114.

2. Giorgio Agamben. Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 1993).  

3. Giorgio Agamben. The Man without Content (Stanford U Press, 1999). 

4. Giorgio Agamben. “Vocazione e voce”, in La potenza del pensiero (Neri Pozza, 2005). 77-89.

5. Giorgio Agamben. Autoritratto nello studio (nottetempo, 2017). 

6. Andrea Zanzotto. “Con Hölderlin, una leggenda”, in Friedrich Hölderlin: Tutte le liriche (Mondadori, 2001). i-xxiv.

7. Giorgio Agamben. “Hölderlins antitragische Wendung”, Studi Germanici, 17, 2020. 27-40.

An epoch unmoved (III). by Gerardo Muñoz

I find myself returning to Ramón Williams’ photograph “The Iceberg” (2013). It is a rather simple composition, but one that builds a strange and uncanny sense of place. It liberates a vista, but it cut through a solid structure that forecloses the horizon with a harsh juxtaposition. This rocky texture becomes one with the sea. Interior and exterior, forefront and background appear at a level of proximity that the movement of de-structuring assists in framing. Williams’ picture draws us towards a non-object: the very possibility of view. It is an experiment with a sense of surface that recalls another geological time; a sense that all too quickly recoils back to earth. It puts us near the matter of view. By liberating the eye, a clear sense of the world takes place.

Now, to be moved in an epoch of closure means that we narrow on the constraint. This is Williams’ challenge: the all too rocky surface bestows a sense of distance, and thus, an outside. This is no longer an abstraction of the medium or an effect of ‘theatricality’. Presumably, all of that is dissolved under the condition of the view. We are standing somewhere; not precisely in water, nor in the city. “The Iceberg” is a farewell to the metropolis at the moment in which desertion is no longer an aspiration but a taking place. There is no horizon and no time either leaving or coming. We are in a lapsus of inhabiting a fragment of the world. Here I experience the outside. Is not this what remains on the other side of the unmoved? I take this to be the question prompted by Williams’ picture.

I want this photograph to speak to me about desertion from the world unmoved. We can recall that Agamemnon uses a specific word to describe his conundrum: lipanous. Specifically, he asks: “How should I become a deserter (pōs liponaus genōmai)?” As it has been explained, the condition of lipanous is not just anyone, but a deserter from a ship. It is no longer how I can lead myself astray from the tasks of the heedless navigator, nor if I can pretend to be an ally in a ship possessed by a silent mutiny. The lipanous, on the contrary, moves beyond alliance and helpless dissensus towards a movement that experiences the clear. This means that the task of a deserter in thought is facilitated by the view. It is no longer language as an exteriority of things; it is how things become irreducible to the language in a decentered image without objects. Whereas in the city I can identify volumes; as a lipanous I am granted a new vision.

Here poetry assists us in a movement towards self-recension. Jana Prikyl writes in a wonderful verse: “Appian way, autobahn – those folks’ wildest dreams too were escape routes.” Obviously, these roads cannot longer prepare a flight. The Appian road and autobahn are civilizational tracks of a world now lost. This is at the heart of Williams’ craft: the course of de-civilization begins with lipanous at the level of the most apparent; not in the sea and most definitively not at ground level. Prikyl writes in the next verse: “with maybe a girl in evening dress waking onboard that takes vision.”

This little thought experiment doubles Williams’ phototactic concern by asking the following: how do we take a vision of a lighted world as a natural element for inclination? What ‘moves’ here is no longer the instantaneous stimulus of the waking to the vision. It is a via di uscita. But a vision of a particular kind, in which I am forced to be a deserter – chipped from the mast of the world into the melody with the true things (étuma).




*Image: Ramón Williams, “The Iceberg” (2013). 

Notas sobre encuentro “Parodia, Dictadura, Metafísica, y Revuelta”, Academia de Santiago, Enero-Marzo 2020. Segunda sesión. Por Gerardo Muñoz

¿Qué puede la parodia hoy en un tiempo sin epokhe? O tal vez deberíamos alterar levemente la pregunta: ¿cómo puede la parodia desde la lluvia de la imagen? Primero, la parodia ya no está contenida paragonalmente en un concepto, sino como forma de vida. La parodia ya no tiene fuerza para parodiar una “cabeza” o un “centro” una vez que aceptamos la hipótesis cibernética, pues ahora se trata de la organización del poder a partir de la administración de los flujos. Y segundo, tampoco la parodia es violencia que destituye la sobrecarga de la data lingüística como ‘objetualidad’ de la lengua. En realidad, este fue el problema de Hölderlin en la aurora de la modernidad: ¿cómo volver a deponer la lengua del sujeto hacia lo informe de la poesía? Empédocles como experimento en esa dirección. ¿Empédocles como nuevo Cristo arcaico? ¿Qué funda un sacrificio que tan solo quiere entrar en relación con lo aorgánico, y que en modo absoluto quiere formar cuerpo místico? Dejamos la cuestión en suspenso para otro momento, aunque habría que suponer que el gesto ateológico de Hölderlin es una transfiguración que no coincide con una inversión cristológica, sino que la ex-carna. Y en esa ex-carnación hay un paso atrás con respecto al momento moderno de la auto-afirmación política (y de toda política revolucionaria post-1789).

Por eso no hay articulación posible entre poesía y política. Esa relación abismal es la que hay que superar dejando a un lado la subjetividad de la filosofia de la historia y sus ‘coeficientes políticos’, como les llamó Simón Villalobos. El poema hace otra cosa con la política; otra cosa que escapa a la ‘contra-hegemonía’ que abastece en su negatividad. Al final, este es también el problema de la categoría de la multitud como zona de multiplicidad (‘subjetividad aglutinante’, como se ha dicho en ocasiones), pues una cosa es la infinitización de las posibilidades del singular, y otra muy distinta es la multiplicación de la subjetividad como fuerza de una orientación interna a la conducción de la historia. Si algo nos ex-pone el poema en su potencia de voz es la caída misma de lo múltiple hacia sus encuentro. Una multitud o una plebe, ya no como sombra del pueblo del Uno, figura en los modos en que el singular experimenta sus posibilidad en el encuentro. Pero esto ya no es necesariamente político, ni prepara ninguna fase hacia un poder “constituyente”. Por ahí solo repetimos el viejo paradigma del liberalismo, ahora desde conceptos subsidiarios como ‘hegemonía’ o multitud o subjetividad o esfera pública. Ser testigo del desfundamento de lo político supone abandonar la gramática de la subjetividad; pensar en el otro del sujeto moderno. Al final en eso consiste la tarea de la destrucción tras el fin de la legitimidad.

En realidad, proclamar el fin de la legitimidad supone afirmar que la ‘representación’ ya no da más en política, y por lo tanto en ninguna de las prácticas de la vida humana. La situación es de parábasis: el teatro se suspende y la persona ahora deviene un cualsea. Ya de nada vale entrar en una nueva economía del saber de la ironía; por el contrario, la interrupción de la representación del teatro nos abre a la experiencia aquí y ahora en un proceso de des-realización. Y en la des-realización tomamos partido por las imágenes que constituyen nuestros hábitos y ritmos. Asegurarse que eso permanezca en el tiempo pudiera servir como condicion para una institución de lo impropio. Esto ya nada tiene que ver con el “común” apropiativo y produccionista del comunitarismo contemporáneo. El fin de la representación teatral nos devuelve a todos un carácter (ethos) sin destino (fines). Al final, lo que está en juego en la apertura de la parábasis que destruye la forma paródica es esto: mi forma de vida que ya no aspira a ser un cualidad que participa de una eidos superior, sino los modos de lo que ya puedo ser. Ajens recoge una mínima definición de Werner Hamacher ligada a la filología: “la filología es la parodia del lenguaje, porque muestra pero no significa”. La forma de vida es aquello que muestra los gestos de cada forma de vida.

En su compleja intervención Andrés Ajens recuerda de la importancia de vigilar sobre las cesuras que organizan el topoi de la parodia: comedia contra tragedia, serio contra cómico, pero también uno pudiera decir guerra contra juego, persuasión contra retórica, o carácter contra acción. Por eso es importante preguntarnos cómo pensar una vida paródica y no su uso instrumental, lo cual se mantendría completamente ajeno a la interrupción de la economía entre pensar y acción de la representación. Si el poder hoy es paródico (y produce efectos irónicos) es porque en la volatilidad de la carcajada busca la provocación. Y en la provocación se “exige” que el singular se revista de sujeto que “debe actuar”. A partir de la provocación se fomenta la movilización. En este sentido, lo que emerge tras el fin de un principio común de contrato social es un deber compensatorio. Es lo que se ha llamado culpa. Por eso es que la parábasis pudiera tener consecuencias desicivas para lo que entendemos por una forma de vida que ya no puede definirse (trágicamente) mediante sus acciones. Esto lo ha visto bien Giorgio Agamben en Pulcinella ovvero divertimento per li regazzi (2015):

“La commedia antica ha conservato il suo nucleo originario nella parabasi. Il termine – che significa letteralmente latto di camminar di lato, deviare, trasgredire – denotava il momento in cui, dopo che l’azione si era interrotta e gli attori erano usciti di scena, il coro si toglieva la maschera e, rivolgendosi direttamente agli spettatori, ridiventava quel che era in origine: komos, un allegro, tumultuoso, insolente corteggio dionisiaco. La parabasi non era, in questo senso, soltanto un’interruzione o una deviazione: era un’interrzuione in cui di colpo appariva l’origine – o, se si vuole, un’origine che si manifestava infrangendo e scompaginando lo svolgimento scontato dell’azione. […] Nella vita dellig uomini – questo e il suo insegnamento – la sola cosa importante e trovare una via d’uscita. Verso dove? Verso l’origine. Perche l’origine sta empre nel mezzo, si da solo como interruzione. E l’interruzione e una via d’uscita. Ubi fraccasorium, ibi fuggitorium – dove c’e una castrofe, la c’e una via di fuga”. (45).

Pulcinella es la figura o el mito que aparece una vez que los principios políticos ya no pueden organizarse desde la legitimidad, la distribución de poderes en el mundo entre gobernados y gobernantes. Esa es la des-articulación que la demanda busca suturar. Por eso es que hablamos de un momento experiencial o de una anarquía de los fenómenos. La parábasis, en resumidas cuentas, no es un movimiento retórico en el plano del discurso y de la justificaciones, sino la transfiguración del sujeto una vez que es dispensado de la dimensión paragonal de la representación. Pulcinella es el resto que vive lo invivido sin culpa y sin pena; tal vez ajeno a la pulsión de muerte. Aquí se juega otro sentido de la errancia que excede a la densidad conceptual de lo que los modernos y los antiguos entendieran por “libertad”, ese oscuro supuesto encarnado en toda actio.

Dos últimos apuntes: en la medida en que la parábasis destruye la parodia, toda parodia del poder termina siendo una mera inversión del poder que nutre el rendimiento de la máquina (algo así como el anti-trumpismo que termina contribuyendo a una parodia incluso más efectiva que la del propio el trumpismo). Y segundo: en el caso chileno, se debiera recordar que la escritura de una constitución tiene algo de ejercicio paródico en la medida en que suprime la parábasis desde la disponibilidad de l dispositivo del poder constituyente. Como saben muy bien los historiadores del constitucionalismo anglosajón, nada es más misterioso que el origen de una written constitution. Y no por el hecho de haber sido escrita, sino porque sabemos que la historia efectiva y material del constitucionalismo en realidad se termina decantando por una serie de normas, precedentes, configuraciones institucionales, desiciones delegadas, y modos de excepción que permanecen unwritten en la carta magna. La constitución taponea el vacío que la constituye en su dinamismo eterno. Emprender un camino hacia de salida, en cambio, ya no constituirá destino, sino que expone carácter. Es lo hace el propio Pulcinella desde su voz y entonación.

Some Notes Regarding Hölderlin’s “Search for the Free Use of One’s Own”. By Gerardo Muñoz.

In what follows, I want to comment on Martin Heidegger’s reading of Hölderlin’s well-known dictum from his 1801 letter to his friend Casimir Bohlendorff, “the free use of the proper is the most difficult thing”. Heidegger devotes a whole section to this enigmatic phrase in the recently translated 1941-42 Hölderlin’s Hymn “Remembrance” (2018) seminar, which dates to the years in which he was confronting Nietzsche’s work, and also more explicitly and for obvious reasons, the issue of German nationalism [1]. In the wake of recent conversations about nationalism and patriotism in political rhetoric, it seems like a fitting time to return to Heidegger’s comments on Hölderlin’s work. This also marks a turn in Heidegger’s thinking of the poetic in the strong sense of the term, which has been analyzed widely in the literature.

Heidegger begins by claiming that the “free use of one’s ownmost” requires a direct confrontation with “the foreign” but that at the same time, it is the easiest thing to miss (Heidegger 105). What is difficult is that which is already one’s own and nearest, and because it is intuitive, it is easy to overlook it. What is difficult is not due to some kind of epistemological overcapacity that today we would associate with the complexity of technical density, but rather, it is an immediate inhabitation, a mood of our belonging that is grasped beyond consciousness and propriety. Hence, it is easy to discard it in a gesture of dismissal due to its familiarity. It happened even to the Greeks.

Heidegger quotes Hölderlin’s verses referencing the loss of the ‘fatherland’: “Of the fatherland and pitifully did / Greece, the most beautiful, perish” (Heidegger 105). Following an obscure Pindar fragment on the “shadow’s dream”, Heidegger shows that the absence is the most important element to illuminate the unreal as it transitions to the real. And this is what the poet does. Indeed, the poet can establish a “footbridge”, or rather it came bring it forth, to initiate a transition towards “what is historically one’s own” (Heidegger 109). If anything, what Greece and Germania point to in Hölderlin’s poetry is this otherwise of historical presencing, which Heidegger admits has nothing to do with historiographical accumulation or cultural metaphorcity (Heidegger 109). At times it is all too easy to dismiss what is at stake here. In the beginning of the twentieth century, for instance, E.M. Butler wrote a book titled The Tyranny of Greece over Germany (1935), which studied the “classical influence” of all things Greek since Winckelmann and German Idealism. Many do not cease to repeat the cliché that Heidegger’s thinking – even Schmitt in Glossarium laments the fascination with Hölderlin over Daubler, which is also the controversy between the critique of logos and a Christological conception of History – is a flight back to Greek ruminations for a new German beginning.

Obviously, this is not Heidegger’s interest in reading the holderlinian use of one’s own. There is no cultural equivalence between the German and the Greek sense of belonging; rather it seems that what Heidegger is after is another way of thinking the historicity of the people, which is fundamentally a problem with the relation with time: “A humankind’s freedom in relation to itself consists in funding, appropriating, and being able to use of what is one’s own. It is in this that the historicality of a people resides” (Heidegger 111). The poet is the figure that, by asking the question about the most difficult thing (one’s use of the proper), can discover this task. Only he can take over the business of founding it (Heidegger 112). The task of the poet is always this “seeking”, which is already in Hölderlin’s first fragment in his novel Hyperion: “We are nothing: what we seek is everything” (Heidegger 113). The task of seeking opens itself to what is the highest and the most holy, which for Hölderlin is the “fatherland’. It is “holy” precisely because it is forbidden and the most difficult to retain.

We are far away here from the sacrificial structure of Hölderlin’s “Der Tod Furs Vaterland” (“To Die for the Homeland”), which Helena Cortés Gabaudan has read in light of the archaic Horacian trope of ‘dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’; a staging of the heroic ethos against the backdrop of the aporetic conceit between thinking and action, the sword and the pen, the poet and the warrior in the early stages of the artist fallen into the age of revolutions [2]. Something else is going on in “Remembrance” use of one’s own at the level of the very transformative nature of historical time, in so much as that which is most holy is nothing that resembles a past principle (a work of art stored in a museum, or the poem as an artistic medium), but rather an atheology, which is never negation or lack; it is always nearness to one’s own as the encounter with what’s “holy” (Heidegger 117).

This atheology suspends any given theistic structure in the act of poetizing. (Is it even correct to refer it as an “act”?). And this poetizing is the task as passage is the inscription of the impossible relation with one’s use here and now. But where does the “political” fit in this picture, one could ask? Is Hölderlin’s turn towards the “use of the national” (Vaterland) entirely a question driven by a political vocation of some sort? This is a poet, one must remember, frustrated by the belated condition of nationhood that sealed Germany’s destiny in the wake of the French Revolution. Hölderlin is first and foremost a poet of political disenchantment and a witness to how politics cannot escape this tragic fate. Indeed, only the poet can actually look straight at this predicament, unlike the political thinker who fantasies with a programmed “assault on the heavens”. In an important moment of the analysis, Heidegger touches this problem:

“What is more obvious than to interpret the turn to the fatherland along the lines of a turn to the “political”? However, what Hölderlin names the fatherland is not enchanted by the political, no matter how broadly one may conceive the latter…The turn to the fatherland is not the turn to the political either, however“. (Heidegger 120).

Undoubtedly, this is a Parthian arrow directed at the political essence of the national understood as a gigantism of state, culture, and history as it was conjuring up in the European interwar period. It is also takes a distance from any given “standpoint” of the national becoming. In this sense, I am in agreement with poet Andrés Ajens’ suggestion that, against the dialectics of locational “alternative histories”, the problem of the national is that of an infinite task of the “desnacional” (this is Ajens’s own term) under erasure, in relation to the “foreign”, in preparation for the “passage of learning to appreciate one’s own” (Heidegger 120) [3]. What we cannot grasp in the national is precisely what bears the trace of the task of ‘denationalization’ as the homecoming of “the clarity of presentation” in its discrete singularity (Heidegger 122). This last line is also from the letter to Bohlendorff.

It is interesting that every time that the form of denationalization has been referred to in strictly political terms, it entails the overcoming of politics by an exogenous force that liquidates the capacities for its own limits. This is, indeed, the realm of the political in the strong sense of the term, in line with the emergence of sovereignty that Hölderlin’s poetic thought wants to curve toward an otherwise of the national. This use of the national wouldn’t let itself be incubated by the supremacy of the political. Let us call this an infrapolitical kernel of patriotism.

This is why at the very end of this session Heidegger mentions that Hölderlin, unlike Nietzsche, must be understood as a “harbinger of the overcoming of all metaphysics” (Heidegger 122). We wonder whether the emphasis on the “People”, however fractured or originary, does not carry a residue of metaphysical rouse. Nevertheless, it is undoubtedly true that Hölderlin aims at something higher. Perhaps he aims at an “inebriation that is different from the “intoxication of enthusiasm” (Heidegger 125); that is, a distance from Kant who elevated the perception of the French Revolution as an anthropological affection.

The step back of the singularity is driven by the “soul” – which Heidegger connects to the polysemic usage of the word Gemüt (at times translated as disposition or gathering) – as other than politics, since it sees through the offering of the dark light and keeps thinking in the human. Transposing it to our discussion, we can say that a politics is irreducible to Gemüt, and that only Gemüt is the excess in every politics. The use of one’s own, vis-a-vis the national (or the process of denationalization), is a resource to attune oneself with this “disposition”. No human can bear to be human without it. Hölderlin seeks to reserve this poverty as the primary task of the poet as a radical neutralization of all techno-political missteps. Or, in the last words in the session: “…it is the while of the equalization of destiny” (Heidegger 131).





  1. Martin Heidegger. Hölderlin’s Hymn “Remembrance”. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2018.
  2. Friedrich Hölderlin. Poesía esencial, ed. Helena Cortés Gabaudan. Madrid: Oficina de Arte y Ediciones, 2018.
  3. From a personal exchange with Andrés Ajens.