Martin Heidegger: The Silence of Existence I (Satis Shroff)



 (Wooden sculpture by Thomas Rees, Freiburg-Kappel on the way to Kammelenberg, above lovely Kappel)


The Silence of Existence I (Satis Shroff)


Plato once said:

‘Megala panta episphale,’


Destined to fall,


This was Plato’s philosophic answer

To the tyrant Syracus,

Who was doomed to fail.


But why did I follow

Plato’s words,

And took them

To a heroic sturm-and-drang?


It is true,

I sympathised with the inner truth

Of the National Socialism,

For a short while.

But this short episode cost me

My very existence.

The human being has to grow big

In his own self,

In order to see big movements

And to be aware of it.


I came from a small family,

Didn’t want to be involved

In petty matters,

Donning the mantle

Of stubbornness and refusing

To accept new challenges.

I wanted to understand

The secrets of powerful men,

To ultimately be a part of them.


But in the course of time,

The powerful persons for which I yearned,

Changed their countenances.

My philosophic thoughts

Dwelled on my homeland,





The German folk,

Original thought and great poetry.

Towards the end came the planetary technology,

Which grew big.


My works of philosophy

Went through the illusions and catastrophies

Of the 20th century.

All striving for greatness

Leads to downfall.


At the beginning of the war

The German nationalism was awakened.

The people were collectively enthusiastic,

Hitting us all,

Like a tidal wave.

I didn’t care much

About what was happening

Around me.


In my thoughts I was living,

Thinking about people in the Middle Ages.

I was following a metaphysical imperative.

In the battlefield of Verdun,

Half a million soldiers perished.

But I was disappointed

For I didn’t get a professorship

At the University of Freiburg.


The Führer once wanted to be an artist.

I wanted to be a priest

The Jesuits and the Catholics in Freiburg

Turned me down.


Similar to Friedrich Nietzsche’s

Forty-year old Zarathustra,

Who after ten years of solitude

In his mountain cave,

Went down to the humans,

To teach them the incredibility

Of being,

The meaning of their being,

I also wanted to reveal and teach

The essentials of human existence,

Which deals with one’s own being.

For the world of being or Sein,

Is not only the self-world,

But also the world of togetherness,

In which the being-in

Is always the being-together.

Existence is threatened by anxiety,

Behind which lies

The temporality of existence.

The aim of philosophy

Is to listen to the silence of existence.

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