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Carlo Michelstaedter in Dialogue with the 20th Century Philosophy. Some Concepts in Heidegger, Weil, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein, Levinas.

Gabriella Bianco

Carlo Michelstaedter, an in-actual and very problematic philosopher, who committed suicide in 1910 at the age of 23, aspires to re-formulate his own universe, based on eternal and immutable values. Dividing the world into the world of rhetoric and the world of persuasion, he resumes the contrast between Persuasion and Rhetoric, which deals with the dispute between Parmenides and Heraclitus, situated precisely between existence as timeless and eternal versus becoming as the characteristic feature of the world. 

Michelstaedter’s persuasion is something unknowable, the only way to talk about it, is in the form of negative theology expressed by rhetoric, as only through such an analysis it is possible to circumscribe the extreme limits of authenticity. Michelstaedter’ s arduous way of Persuasion implies overcoming the illusory rhetorical approach to life.

If Heidegger’s Being and Nothingness can be perfectly identified with Persuasion and Rhetoric, for Heidegger the question of Being and Nothingness is the only one that deserves being thought of.  In order to open the way to the authenticity of Being, Heidegger needs to analyze the "inauthentic” ways of living: the analytic of Human Being (Dasein) becomes "the primary requirement of the problem of being". Michelstaedter’ s persuaded can and must - to realize authentic persuasion- turn life into action: living authentically ends up therefore, not live anymore, “in the perpetual immobile serenity of one’s spirit”.

Persuasion implies the lonely assumption of pain, suffering and death, which expresses itself in that authentic present, in that Augenblick of absolute solitude, which Simone Weil calls "destruction of the self", expressing a theology that presupposes a reduction of the self, while for Michelstaedter it is about "affirming without asking", as "whoever identifies his life with the present, death takes nothing away from him". Only that present, that tragic moment, is truly timeless, a perfect point in which the subject lives "in an instant, all times", according to what Wittgenstein says in the Tractatus: "Eternally lives who lives in the present" (LW, TLP: 80).

To prevent life from being nothing but "being constantly in the next moment" (CM, PR: 43), the recovery of the fullness of the present is precisely the central problem of Persuasion. Kierkegaard's "authenticity", like Michelstaedter’ s "persuasion", are the limit-concepts of an experience that expresses an essentially heroic and sacrificial vocation. Kierkegaard and Michelstaedter, both focused on a “gesture”, testify a uniqueness that, thanks to the absolute coherence of the subject with himself, "tries to force and decipher the enigma of the individual existence in an instant that transcends space and time".

Michelstaedter tends to establish a relationship with "infinity", reinterpreting the split between the subject and the object-world: in Michelstaedter, like in Levinas of "Subjectivity and Infinity", infinity means the responsibility toward others, of the one to the other, namely a subject that suffers for all and is responsible for everything. This way, in the ethical entanglement of the "I" and "autrui", Levinas recovers an open and sensitive subjectivity, capable of "sublimating" the burden of the absolute that overwhelms the subject.

It is “the acceptance of time and death which takes us to consent to the order of things, according to the destiny in which they will occur” – says Simone Weil -, it is suffering as the impossibility of projecting the future, which projects us into eternity.  In the time that unites God to man, accepting the rite of suffering, man enters the eternity of God and in the impossibility of projecting the future, he consents to pain which implies overcoming time. “Thus, again and again, eternity is at the end of an infinite time. Pain, fatigue, hunger confer time the color of infinity " (SW, CS: 165). 

About Carlo Michelstaedter’ s Persuasion and Rhetoric and some concepts of the 20th century Western philosophy.

Nourished by philosophical, intellectual, and literary instances, linked to the historical-cultural dimension of his time, Carlo Michelstaedter, an in-actual and very problematic philosopher, who committed suicide in 1910 at the age of 23, aspires to re-formulate his own universe, based on eternal and immutable values.

Dividing the world into the world of rhetoric and the world of persuasion, he resumes the Greek tradition in the contrast between Persuasion and Rhetoric, which deals with the dispute between Parmenides and Heraclitus, situated precisely between existence as timeless and eternal versus becoming as the characteristic feature of the world.  Yet, in the philosophical-sapiential original thought, both Heraclitus and Parmenides seek to stamp becoming with the seal of being, trying to rescue eternal being from the flux of appearance and change.

In Michelstaedter’ s notion of Persuasion, the attempt to overcome the constitutive contradictory character of "life" (philopsychia), established in the relationship between individuals, belongs to an absolute order. The key concept of persuasion is enunciated as a true and troubling postulate, therefore, unprovable.

Michelstaedter maintains the contrast that leads from becoming to immutability, by opposing Rhetoric as becoming, to Persuasion as permanent. What is new, in the ontology of Persuasion, is the ethical and voluntarist aspiration, which arises from Schopenhauerian and Nietzschean suggestions, as a profession of faith in relation to Parmenides. In fact, Michelstaedter lacks a foundation of the immutability of Being: he "wants" that Being be immutable, changeless, eternal.

At the center of the act of thought is the critical function, which finds its root in giving or finding meaning – Sinngebung.                                                In a philosophy that seeks the meaning of existence, persuasion and rhetoric are cardinal concepts of a thought that seeks to be a totalizing interpretation of reality, although from a strictly linguistic point of view, persuasion and rhetoric are also linguistic categories, impregnated though with an importance that is ontological and existential.

From this point of view, Michelstaedter’ s metaphysical thought is still a philosophy of existence; in taking his vision to the value side of existence, he founds his reflections upon a true moral philosophy: "This way - says the German critic Ranke - in his work he begins logically with a critique of the Dasein, to say it with Heidegger, looking at it in its inauthenticity, that is in rhetoric" (JR, CE: 521). Yet, it is in the properly ontological field, in relation to the categories of Being and Nothingness, just like in Heidegger, that his thought must be investigated.  As Heidegger observes: “We are thrown into a 'world' already there before us -- this is most evident in the radical sense of Birth. Hence, one is literally 'thrown into a world' beyond one's control -- but this 'world' is not merely an environment -- it has its place in history: one is, broadly speaking, thrown into a historical moment, into time” (MH, ET: 72).

When Heidegger starts exploring the sense of the self which manifests itself in everyday existence, his analysis comes to the startling conclusion that for the most part, everyday Dasein has no 'self'’ of its own. Heidegger aims at investigating the problem of the Being, not of the Dasein: in “Sein und Zeit”, he announces it explicitly: "Elaboration of the problem of Being means then to turn transparent an entity (Dasein) in its Being. The explicit and transparent position of the problem of the sense of Being requires the preliminary exposition of an entity (Dasein) with respect to its Being (Sein)” (MH, ET: 60). What is investigated is then, Being.                                                                                                         

If Being and Nothingness can be perfectly identified with Persuasion and Rhetoric, for Heidegger the question of Being and Nothingness is the only one that deserves being thought of.  In order to open the way to the authenticity of Being, Heidegger needs to analyze the "inauthentic” ways of living: the analytic of Human Being (Dasein) becomes "the primary requirement of the problem of being"; the same way persuasion is something unknowable and unattainable, the only way to talk about it, is in the form of negative theology expressed by rhetoric. For that reason, rhetoric as inauthenticity occupies so much space in Michelstaedter analysis, as only through such an analysis it is possible to circumscribe the extreme limits of authenticity.

If Heidegger’s investigation is purely ontological, in the attempt to trace the Being (Sein) in the Human Being (Dasein), his search for the authenticity and inauthenticity of the Dasein in relation to the question of the meaning of Being, is exempt from any value character and does not imply any moral or ethical judgment. For Heidegger, it is not a matter of passing value judgments, but rather of limiting interpretations.

In daily life, Dasein is related to the world and is constitutively a being-in-the-world (in der Welt sein). It is here that the notion of Being and the notion of Time can be brought together. In seeking a deeper understanding of Dasein as “being-in-the-world”, Heidegger characterizes it as “being-for-death”, stating that in no case does the death of Dasein coincides with authenticity: “Being-for-death - says Heidegger – does not concern death as such, but the emancipation of a radical-being-able-to-be” (MH, ET: 392).

For Michelstadter, as the essential and contradictory character of life is rhetorical, the only way open to man is the liberation of the contingency of “wanting-to-be”, denying any possible re-composition between the subject and life. Michelstaedter carried out a radical critique to the dialectical system, since the need to affirm individuality as self-affirmation is illusory and proper to rhetoric, since pain, mortality and the finitude of the individual remain. 

In Michelstaedter, persuasion takes on the character of "duty", a true and real categorical imperative for those who want to authentically conduct their own existence, manifesting the identity of thought and life, of which action is an essential condition of authenticity. Life is measured by its intensity, “the intensity found in all present”, in a series of instants which lead to the absolute instant of persuasion, that eternal and complete Augenblick, that is completely realized by encompassing death.

Michelstaedter’ s difficult and arduous way of Persuasion implies overcoming the illusory rhetorical approach to life, which recognizes the other only in his need for social recognition. Persuasion implies the lonely assumption of pain, suffering and death, which expresses itself in that authentic present, in that Augenblick of absolute solitude, based on the Principium individuationis of the individual, who exists in an absolute relationship with transcendence, as “naked soul”, according to the expression of Gorgias.

Simone Weil calls this attitude "destruction of the self", expressing a theology that presupposes a reduction of the self, while for Michelstaedter it is about "affirming without asking", as "whoever identifies his life with the present, death takes nothing away from him". “I have always forbidden myself- writes Simone Weil – to think about a future life, I have always believed that the moment of death is the norm and the end of life” (SW, AD: 12)

In Michelstaedter, to prevent life from being nothing but "being constantly in the next moment" (CM, PR: 43), the recovery of the fullness of the present is precisely the central problem of Persuasion. The persuaded can and must - to realize authentic persuasion- turn life into action: living authentically ends up therefore, not live anymore, “in the perpetual immobile serenity of one’s spirit”. In "anticipating death", Michelstaedter tries, in the fullness of the last present, to adhere to the imperative of totality and accomplish the extreme act of freedom.

The voices that sustain the radical and inescapable instance of Persuasion, emerge from the magma of Michelstaedter writings: not only the ancient Greek philosophers are the persuaded, but also some modern thinkers, such as Tolstoy and Beethoven, who accompany Michelstaedter philosophical reflection, which represents an inseparable unity of thought and being, as well as an existential path.

Those who live outside Persuasion are totally committed to the instability of becoming, while the persuaded is the one who persists in "the entire and reunited eternity".                                                                                                      In suppressing inauthentic becoming - which is rhetorical - Michelstaedter supports "being in the last present", by suppressing individual existence. The individual value, therefore, resides in the immobile "persistence" of the "persuaded", who, alone in the desert, creates himself: “He must create himself to have individual value, not move, unlike things that come and go, but be persuaded in himself’’ (CM, PR: 72).

Only that present, that tragic moment, is truly timeless, a perfect point in which the subject lives "in an instant, all times", according to what Wittgenstein says in the Tractatus: "Eternally lives who lives in the present" (LW, TLP: 80). The end is placed in the present, since it is defined as beginning and end, birth, and death. Wittgenstein's ethical attitude in the “Tractatus” entails the idea that true wisdom lies in living the present, with no other purpose than life itself.

For his moral and aesthetic philosophy, the closest author to Wittgenstein was that Tolstoy that we find among Michelstaedter greatest inspirers, who conjugated the ethical-historical-cultural paradigm that makes the philosopher of the real, and the apostle of the possible, reconciling life and thought. Wittgenstein’s moral personality drives him to discover the true moral teaching not in morality but in the stories of the great men, who obey a concept of ethics and aesthetics, outside the sphere of contingency, and therefore, transcendental.

As a matter of fact, Wittgenstein writes: “The sense of the world must be out of it. In the world everything is as it is, everything happens as it happens, there is no value in it - if it had it, it would not have value either. For a value to have a value, it must be out of any happening and be accidental. What makes it non-accidental cannot be in the world, which, conversely, would be accidental, must be out of the world” (LW, TLP: 6.41).

Emptied of the classic contents of moral sense, of obligation, of censorship and guilt, the ethical dimension is put in the man-world relationship: if the world is my world, the self as an ethical subject is implicit as a contingent characteristic. If the good and the bad appear only by virtue of the subject, the subject appears as the exclusive place of value, both ethical and aesthetic.

Good and evil then allude to the subject's relationship with himself; as for the world, in the Philosophical Journal, Wittgenstein states: “if the will had any effect on the world, it could have it on its limits, not on the facts.                                                                                                 If the subject does not belong to the world, but is a limit of the world, any intervention in what refers to the facts of the world is prohibited, included suicide, since with suicide one takes oneself for one more object in the world, and the self is not an object” (LW, DF: 7.8.16). “After all, death is not an event of life, it is not a fact of the world” (ibidem, 8.7.16)                                                                                          

Michelstaedter voluntarily renounces life to confer value on life itself, with a supreme act of will. Wittgenstein points out that no one can really want his own annihilation, whoever has the suicide process in mind, should know that suicide is always a hoax of the person himself.                                                                                              This way, Wittgenstein denies both Schopenhauer, who considers suicide a sign of intense affirmation of the will, and the choice of the mystical and tragic Michelstaedter, who ends up killing himself, as well as of the “unhappy man”, who seeks the meaning of life, as the error of the unhappy man depends essentially in putting the accent on the meaning of life.                                                                                                          

For Wittgenstein, philosophy, as a domain of problems that do not have an answer, cannot claim the epistemological constitution of a set of propositions concerning reality, but it must assume a more limited function of linguistic-conceptual clarification. Wittgenstein criticizes all philosophies that are dominated both by the myth of their foundation and their destruction, as they are only a product of contingency.

If the subject does not belong to the world but is a limit of the world and the limits of language mean the limits of the cognitive world, they end up coinciding with the limits of the language of the cognitive subject. There is no other reality than the one represented by the consciousness of the limit that the subject has as language and of the world as representation of his language.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

In philosophy there are things that can be talked about and others, such as ethics, about which it is necessary to remain silent. This issue - Wittgenstein's obsessive leitmotif - derives from his sense of personal unworthiness, from the awareness of not being what "I" should be, which derive from his permanent obsession of guilt, a constitutive guilt, which grows from knowing that the existence of man is, a priori, insufficient, that, in some way, he is already judged and condemned.

Michelstaedter responds indirectly to this question when he expresses to his friend Enrico Mreule, who had managed to implement his life-changing project and appears as a model of the “persuaded”, his own shame for not being able to live coherently with the idea of the life he seeks for himself: “Your words have become action! I still feed on words and feel ashamed! (CM, E: 442). He who feels ashamed, fails to translate absolute life into a real project of freedom: therefore, Michelstaedter experience of "shame" reveals the distance that he feels between pure thought and existence, tortured by the loss of self-esteem.

At the origins of Persuasion is the mystical torment of the initiator and the apostle, who, violating the interrogative mysticism of Wittgenstein’s unhappy man, arrives at the ethics of "consisting", exercising his will at an eternal point of life, enriching the ethical core of his thinking with metaphysical depth.

Michelstaedter tends to establish a relationship with "infinity", reinterpreting the split between the subject and the object-world: in Michelstaedter, like in Levinas of "Subjectivity and Infinity", infinity means the responsibility toward others, of the one to the other, namely a subject that suffers for all and is responsible for everything. This way, in the ethical entanglement of the "I" and "autrui", Levinas recovers an open and sensitive subjectivity, capable of "sublimating" the burden of the absolute that overwhelms the subject.

Kierkegaard's "authenticity", like Michelstaedter‘s "persuasion", are the limit-concepts of an experience that, when travelling through the mortally hostile territory which is life, expresses an essentially heroic and sacrificial vocation. Kierkegaard and Michelstaedter, both focused on a “gesture”, testify a uniqueness that, thanks to the absolute coherence of the subject with himself, "tries to force and decipher the enigma of the individual existence in an instant that transcends space and time". Both for Michelstaedter and Kierkegaard being oneself is an imperative that requires man to overcome his own social and psychic identity, in favor of an idea of virtue and within an idea of totality and authenticity, which expresses the inalienable character of “must be".

The subject of Kierkegaard "alone, absolutely alone ... alone before God", expresses the aspiration to a possible authenticity within the record of life: the "pure yes" of Michelstaedter expresses the dream of a totality that does not translate itself into a project, which might historically reconcile the antinomies of the rhetorical nature of things. The "gesture" of Kierkegaard, who, knowing the distance that separates his own desperate existence from the existence of his fiancée, chooses to break with Regina, confers a total and absolute value to his gesture, resembles Michelstaedter' s "gesture", which expresses a unitary idea of a detained and exalted existence, concentrated in an ethically unitary moment.

The gesture - writes Lukács - is the unique leap by which the absolute is transmuted into life, into possibility. The gesture is the great paradox of life since every fleeting moment of life is filled in its immobile eternity and becomes true reality. He who does not limit himself to just play with life, needs the gesture, so that his life becomes more real than a multiform and volatile game’’ (GL, AF: 91).

Only in isolation, when all the bridges have been cut with circumstantial reality, the persuaded can have full possession of the present. Michelstaedter thus surpasses Kierkegaard’s "unhappy subject"; overcoming the speculative order of "the one who, having the whole world in front of him, dialogues only with his illusory need to live”, he fills the desert and illuminate the darkness. In "anticipating death", only that tragic moment is truly timeless, in which the subject lives "in an instant, all times”.  

The ontological function that death displays in relation to time in Simone Weil is not different; in the experience of death as Saint John of the Cross’s dark night, there is that detention of time, which, by cutting off the future, becomes the necessary premise for God's encounter with himself. Finding in "each present" a value that death cannot take away, Michelstaedter looks for what is "stronger than death" (Levinas), which may have meaning in itself; in this radical experience, the past and the future sink, emptied of all expectation and desire.

While in Michelstaedter the idea of the relationship between individuals arises from a lack of infinite justice, a lack that becomes a debit “the duty of an unpayable debit”, that, in the confrontation with the others "increases as it is settled",                                                                                                                                    Emmanuel Levinas’ “Totalité et Infini” develops, in the name of an absolute trace of the Other, the trace of the anarchic relationship between subjects.  Completely dedicated to the search for truth, only by preliminarily "taking distance", we can approach the being in which, as entities, we are immersed. “Without this preliminary distance - says Levinas - that is revealed in our nature of deprived beings, we would have no truth, only being” (EL, TI: 58)                                                                                             

To constitute oneself as "I" means, for Levinas, that "invisible interiority" that manifests itself in selfishness and in the search for pleasure, asking the question which is the underlying question of "Totalité et Infini”: “How can the self as selfishness enter a relationship with another without immediately depriving him of his alterity?”. (EL, TI: 36)

Only the Other, Autrui, the other man offers an absolute "resistance" to our power: the other as another is Autrui, the Other, with whom we enter in a substantially ethical relationship, while essentially "respecting" the Other as "end in himself". In Michelstaedter egoic singularity, which is the individual in the process of persuasion, the experience of the singularity as an end within a plurality of individuals meets with the metaphysical desire of the Levinas’ Other, which stands as the central problem of his thought.

In the impossibility of solving it within ontology, in idealistic terms it is ethics that brings the subject out of his insurmountable solitude and guarantees him a non-illusory relationship with the outside: “The ethical relationship maintains the same structures of the ontological relationship, but, at its level, produces that realistic relationship that ontology pretends in vain”.

The distance of the Other contains an idea of infinity that plays a fundamental role in the relationship with the Other: “Infinity does not have glory except through subjectivity, through the human adventure of approaching the Other, through the substitution of the Other”. "Then the subject testifies infinity... where the difference in proximity is consumed as the proximity gets closer"(EL, AE: 184). The discovery that man makes of himself springs from the confrontation with the constitutive heterogeneity: such heterogeneity is the autrui of Levinas.

In Michelstaedter’ s infinite justice, which opens the way to persuasion, that idea of justice starts from the idea of good, and good is the relation with the other as such. In the idea of good, which characterizes the relationship between singularities as an absolute form of the human experience, Michelstaedter sees an indispensable postulate and the source of persuasion: “in that last present, he must have everything and give everything: to be persuaded and persuade, to have, in the possession of the world, the possession of himself - to be one he and the world” (CM, PR: 82),  assuming that the persuaded has traveled the limit-experience that is pain, because “pain speaks”.

In Levinas, the philosophy of the other and the modality of the interpersonal relationship, seen as proximity, as irreducible presence, are not separated from a concept of death, which, far from being the totalizing death of Michelstaedter, is obsession, obsession as "impossible need". In the proximity of the other, Levinas recognizes the presence of death: “L'Autre est la mort et pèse sur moi comme l'obsession de la mort” (EL, DE: 36), but, at the same time, it is precisely the presence of the other that assures the subject of his subjectivity and uniqueness, in an alterity that is an ethical source of responsibility for the subject.                                                                                                               

In Michelstaedter’ s persuasion, time becomes an ethical subject charged with life, because it is charged with death; the instant-death in the form of a present that, breaking the historical and worldly ties at the point of the greatest heroic-persuaded determination, accepts to embrace not life as a system of illusory appearances, but Being, affirming thus the desire of absolute and infinity.  

In anticipating death – beyond Heidegger’ s zum-Tode-sein - Michelstaedter tries, in the fullness of the last present, to adhere to the imperative of totality and accomplish the extreme act of freedom. Michelstaedter talks about "detaining time", when he develops a concept of time centered on the present, thus conceiving a different quality of time, in the sense of "making close distant things", time no longer oriented to the future, but to the present, a time where the idea of ​​justice constitutes the horizon of meaning.

It is “the acceptance of time and death which takes us to consent to the order of things, according to the destiny in which they will occur” – says Simone Weil -, it is suffering as the impossibility of projecting the future, which projects us into eternity.  In the acceptance of suffering, the de-creation of time realizes itself and with it the possibility of entering the eternal present; the de-created man, even if he continues living in time, lives already in eternity, insofar as he lives in perfect obedience to the will of God. Contradiction as a central concept in Simone Weil’s thought, that thinks of time, allows man to arrive at God, through the death of the “self” before the physical death. “In fact, the de-created man is aware of eternity as an eternal present" (SW, IP: 31-33). 

Michelstaedter’ s persuaded has in himself, in his own present, his own value. "Being in the present" then means "possessing oneself", in the sense of "resisting incessantly the current of your own illusion" (CM, PR: 69-70), freeing yourself from the logic of "wanting to persist”, as Heidegger also points out, speaking of that authentic isolation of the singular individual - Vereinzelung - determined by the authentic presence understood as instant. (MH, FP).

The authenticity of owning oneself is precisely that of the one who "has nothing to defend from others, and nothing to ask, because there is no future for him" (CM, DS: 85) ) From the extreme emptiness of the self, the way of persuasion is then the answer to the ontological question, about what pain is; in the absolute idea of ​​Good and Justice as postulates of persuasion, impregnating the human desire of sacrifice, the idea of ​​persuasion is articulated as an ethics of Being. Michelstaedter' s idea of ​​Justice allows to develop a concept of time, "where pain is happiness" (CM, PR: 88). And Simone Weil states: "Pain releases energy and the use of this energy is happiness" (SW, C, III: 274).

Michelstaedter states: "He who is for himself, does not need anything in the future, but has everything in himself" (CM, PR: 41). The end is placed in the present and, in the assumption of his own death, the persuaded realizes "the possession of himself". Only by overcoming the fear of death it is possible to begin in all present, underlying the radical experience of pain-death, and a "detention" of time, where each one has in himself, his own reason of being.

Time that presses on us, gives us an amor fati that Simone Weil calls patience, in a wait that witnesses the retraction of the individual categories, in a movement that takes us toward infinity. Thus, accepting time means disappearing, in a withdrawal of the self from power, which is the essence of 'patience'. “Patience means then to obey time, accepting it unconditionally”.

In the total acceptance of God's will, Simone adopts an attitude of patient wait, a state of inertia like that of things that are left to the rhythm of time. What more to ask and expect? "When we know it, even hope becomes useless and meaningless. The only thing left to hope is the grace of not disobeying on earth. The rest belongs to God and does not belong to us". (SW, AD: 71)

While Simone Weil refers to a concept of passivity, which borders on impotent resignation, which can ultimately kill activity and hope, 'certainty' and 'security' in Michelstaedter are part of rhetoric, and as such, are essentially illusory. “Risk” is then the constituent element of persuasion and the future no longer absorbs a subjectivity that can live his/her own presence. The persuaded embraces the present in a different way from those who live in rhetoric, forced to pursue an impossible future: "Everyone must (...) open the way for himself, since everyone is alone and cannot expect help more than from himself ". (CM, PR: 104)

If persuasion, as a horizon of meaning originated by the request of pain, ‘‘anticipates death’’, the ontological function that death unfolds in relation to time in Simone Weil, is understood as the culmination of the experience of ‘‘emptiness’’, which implies a true passage of ontological mutation, when man, in the suppression of the self, has no other reason than obedience: “Obedience is the only pure reason”. (SW, C, II: 13).
                                                                                                                              In de-creation and in obedience: "God creates a finite being which says I cannot love God. By the effect of grace, little by little, the self disappears, and God loves himself through the creature, which becomes empty, which becomes nothing". (SW, C, II: 289). This produces that detention of time, which culminates in the process of de-creation, a necessary premise to the encounter with God. In the contradiction that thinks of time: "Time takes out of time" (SW, S, II: 211), the de-created man is aware of eternity, as if he lived in the eternal present, as in the Timaeus, where Plato enunciates: "The plant with the roots in the sky" (Plato, Timeo, 90th, SW, IP: 231-233). “Consenting to suffering, which takes place in time, takes the soul out of time”. This is how the de-creation of time and the possibility of entering the eternal present take place.

In his lonely way, the persuaded, alone in the desert, who lives the vertiginous vastness and depth of life, "in taking upon himself, the responsibility of life" (CM, PR: 73), must have the courage to feel alone, to look at his own pain, to bear all his weight”. (CM, PR: 83). The authenticity of possessing oneself, belongs to those who live for what they are, to those who "have nothing to fear from others and nothing to ask them, because there is no future for them” (CM, DS: 85).

Living without future means living in the present, beyond the imperative of duty: “Being in the present" means then "owning oneself". Persuasion, far from theoretically legitimizing the denial of existence, in assuming it, articulates itself and inscribes itself in Being as a possible ethical dimension and the subject, adhering ethically to the logic of time, finds peace in the last present and in persuasion. (CM, PR: 89).

In Simone Weil, the witness of the absolute, in the unspeakable tearing of the soul, wait as attente confers meaning to life. "The world does not have a future; it does not have a past. (...) The immediate future is present; the immediate past is the moment in which I have thought of it as present. " (SW, PS: 184). "The law of time consists then for me in this, that I can never be enough for myself" (ibidem: 183).

Only the present belongs to us, a present that either is or is nothing and where we are nothing. "For Simone Weil’s mysticism, the resolution can only take place in the acceptance of one’s own destiny, in that amor fati that means, in the end, to obey time, adhering to it”. “To go through the perpetuity of time in a finite time, to the extent that what is contradictory is possible, it is necessary that the part of the soul that is at the height of time, the discursive part, the part that calculates, be destroyed ". (SW, CS: 258)

In the time that never stops, we live the impossibility of opposing destiny inscribed in the laws of necessity: "The acceptance of time is all that fate can bring us – without exception - amor fati is the only unconditional disposition in relation to time. Eternity is at the end of an infinite time" (SW, C, IV: 178).                                                                                                        

In the time that unites God to man, accepting the rite of suffering, man enters the eternity of God and in the impossibility of projecting the future, he consents to pain which implies overcoming time. “Thus, again and again, eternity is at the end of an infinite time. Pain, fatigue, hunger confer time the color of infinity " (SW, CS: 165).  

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 General Bibliography:

 

Carlo Michelstaedter, La persuasione e la rettorica, PR, Adelphi, Milano, 1990

Carlo Michelstaedter, Opera grafica e pittorica, a cura di Sergio Campailla, Istituto per gli incontri culturali mitteleuropei, Gorizia,  1975

Carlo Michelstaedter, Il dialogo della salute e altri dialoghi, DS, Adelphi, Milano, 1998

Carlo Michelstaedter, Scritti vari, SV, in, Opere, a cura di Gaetano Chiavaci, Firenze, 1958

Carlo Michelstaedter, Epistolario, E, letter to Enrico Mreule, June 29, 1910, Adelphi, Milano, 1981

Simone Weil, Cahiers I, C, Plon, Paris, 1951, 1970

Simone Weil, Cahiers II, C, Plon, Paris, 1953, 1972

Simone Weil, Cahiers III, C, Plon, Paris, 1956, 1975

Simone Weil, La connaissance surnaturelle, CS, Gallimard, Paris, 1950

Simone Weil, Attente de Dieu, AD, (J.M. Perrin-Fayard), Paris, 1966, 1984

Simone Weil, Intuitions préchrétiennes, IPC, La Colombe, Paris 1951

Simone Weil, Premiers écrits philosophiques, PEP, in, Œuvres complètes, Gallimard, Paris, 198, trad. it : Primi scritti filosofici, PS, Marietti 1820, Genova 1999

Plato, Timeo, 90ª

Gabriella Bianco, La hermenéutica del devenir en Carlo Michelstaedter, Torres Agüero Editor, Buenos Aires, 1993

Gabriella Bianco, El campo de la ética. Eticidad de la muerte, Hachette/Edicial Universitaria, Buenos Aires, 1997

Gabriella Bianco, La impaciencia de lo absoluto en Carlo Michelstaedter y Simone Weil, Ediciones Suarez, Buenos Aires, 2007

Maurice Blanchot, L’entretien infini, Gallimard, Paris, 1969

Ugo Galimberti, Heidegger, Jaspers e il tramonto dell’occidente, Marietti, Genova, 1975

Martin Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, Tübingen, 1976;             ed. italiana: Essere e tempo, ET, Milano, 1953

Martin Heidegger, I problema fondamentali della fenomenología, PF,  Il Melagolo, Genova, 1990

Vladimir Jankelevitch, La mort, Flammarion, Paris, 1977

Karl Jaspers, Filosofia, Muris, Turín, 1978

Emmanuel Levinas, Autrement qu’être, ou, au-delà de l’essence. Subjectivité et infini, AE, M. Nijhoff, La Haya, 1974

Emmanuel Levinas, Umanesimo dell’altro uomo, UA, Il Melagolo, Genova, 1985

Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity, An Essay on Exteriority (Totalité et infini : essai sur l’extériorité), TI, Duquesne, 1969

 

Emmanuel Levinas, En découvrant l’existence avec Husserl et Heidegger, DE, Vrin, Paris, 1967

 

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus logico-philosophicus, Einaudi, TLP, Torino, 1974

 

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Diario filosofico (1914-1916), DF,

Ariel, Barcelona, 1982 

 

Georg Lukàcs, L’anima e le forme, AF, Sugar, Milano, 1963

 

Joachim Ranke, Contribución al estudio del existencialismo italiano, CE, in, Varietà, trad. italiana, Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung, n. XV (I) 1961

 

                             

 

 

 

Gabriella Bianco, PhD, LTO

gbculture.gabriella@gmail.com

 

 

                              Short CV in English

 

 

Gabriella Bianco graduated at the University of Trieste in 1972 specializing in Languages and Comparative Literatures. In 1974 she graduated in Philosophy, Education and Psychology from the University of Urbino, with a thesis on creativity. She completed her post-graduate studies in Philosophy, History and Education at the University of Toronto, with a thesis on Antonio Gramsci and after being awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, she did her doctorate in the United States in Political Philosophy. She studied with Habermas, Gadamer, Paulo Freire, McLuhan, Northrop Frye and Dieter Misgeld. She also holds a doctoral degree in Linguistics and Semiotics from the University of Urbino (1983), where she studied with Umberto Eco and Paolo Fabbri.

 

In her University career, she has taught at several Universities, such as Urbino (Italy), Windsor (Canada), New Paltz (USA), Tasmania (Australia) and Nairobi (Kenya). Since 1980 she has worked in the cultural sector of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as cultural attaché in different countries (Australia, Argentina, Canada). She has been Director of Development and International Relations at the University E. Morin (Mexico). She is a member of the international Scientific Committee of the philosophical research university group “Corredor de las ideas del Cono Sur” at the “Center for Education, Science and Society” (www.cecies.org), with annual meetings in different Latin American Countries.

 

She has written plays and works for musical theatre and operas, staged in several parts of the world, some of which have been published under the title “El camino de la palabra” (Buenos Aires, 1995). She is Academic of Italy (2003) and Honorary Member of the European Union of Writers and Artists (2007). In 2010 she was appointed "illustrious visitor" of the historical city of Cusco (Peru). In 2013 she has been appointed "international cultural personality of the year" in Buenos Aires (Argentina). She has been appointed “honorary member” of the Dept of Philosophy of the Un. Buenos Aires, as well as of the Argentine Olympiad of Philosophy - UBA in June 2018. She has joined the SIP - Society for Italian Philosophy in August 2018.

 

She has been an international development consultant in education, electoral and human rights expert since 2003 with the UN (UN missions to Kenya, DR Congo, Haiti) and carries out an intense international career both in the social, educational fields, as well as in the philosophical and artistic fields. As International Peace Ambassador from 2009 to 2015, she did several humanitarian and educational missions, to Guatemala (2009) to Chile (2010), to Haiti (2011-2012) Tunisia (World Social Forum), 2015; as a philosophical essayist, she presented her papers at the Un. of Yaoundé 1 – Cameroon in 2013, at the Un. of Rabat – Morocco in 2014, at the Un. of Nairobi – Kenya (2015), at the Un. Normal Un. Beijing – China (WCCES-2016), as well as the Un. of Liege – Belgium (UNESCO – World Humanities Conference - 2017). She has integrated the UNESCO International Network of Women Philosophers since 2012.

 

 

 

 

Her artistic activity, together with wide ranging books and essays on literature, culture, politics, and education include:

 

- Educazione e politica (en el pensamiento de Paulo Freire), (Milano, 1975)

- Oh Lucky Country. Alla ricerca della verginitá perduta. (Sydney,1981) – (Roma, 1984)

- La transparencia del ser. (Buenos Aires, 1990)

- ¿Dónde está la eterna primavera? Cesare Pavese y Franz Kafka. (Buenos Aires, 1991)

- El color del agua (Buenos Aires, 1991)

- Nest. Sonidos de la ausencia. (Buenos Aires, 1992)

- Diálogo con el futuro: Carlo Michelstaedter. (Buenos Aires,1993)

- En el camino de la palabra. (Buenos Aires, 1995)

- Malakhim – Angels – Angeli. (Vancouver 1997) – (Torino,1998)

- Enigma al femminile. (Castiglioncello, 1998)

- Drum Up The Moon, the Jazz & Blues Festival, (Vancouver, BC, 1999)

- Casanova, ovvero la magica follia. (Roma, 2000) – (Mar del Plata, 2001)

- Sólo tengo miedo equivocarme en mi muerte. (Buenos Aires, 2001)

- Wolfgang & Magdalena. (Roma, 2002)

- Mozart and Magdalena (screenplay) (Hollywood, 2003, 2004)

- Save Venice. (Hollywood, 2004) – (México, 2010)

- Imágenes de la Argentina. (Buenos Aires 2004) – (Córdoba, 2004)

- Incendio. (Porto Alegre, 2005) – (Buenos Aires, 2011)

- Wolfgang y Magdalena, un amor. (Buenos Aires, 2006) 2021

- Salvar a Venecia. (Buenos Aires, 2007) – Save Venice. (Mar del Plata, 2011)

   (Venecia, 2015)

- Immagini da una poesia. (Roma 2009) – (Buenos Aires, 2009)

- Vertigo – Vertige. (Argentina – Chile – Perú, 2010 – 2011 – 2016)

- Mozart & Magdalena. (screenplay) (USA, 2011)

- Concert for Magdalena. (novel) (USA, 2011)

- Mozart e Magdalena. L`amante di Mozart (Italia, 2012) (2ª edición)

- Infinite Moons, Infinite Suns. (USA, 2012)

- Mozart & Magdalena. L’amoureuse de Mozart, Paris/Montreal, 2014

- La rose de Monteverdi, Paris/Montreal, 2018

- La rosa di Monteverdi, Europa Edizioni, Roma, 2020                                                 - La rosa de Monteverdi, Europa Ediciones, Madrid, 2021                                              - La rose de Monteverdi, Société des écrivains, Paris/Montréal, 2021

 

 

Her wide artistic, literary, and philosophical work includes:

 

1975: Educazione e Politica in Paulo Freire, (CUEU, Milano)

1977: The Concept of Praxis in Antonio Gramsci (U of T,

Toronto)

1984: Alla ricerca della verginità perduta (Quaderni di studi

australiani, Roma)

1990: El extrañamiento del ser (Epsylon Ed., Bs. As.)

1991: Sendas de exilio: Kafka y Pavese (Epsylon Ed., Bs. As.)

1991: Nest. La metafísica de la ausencia (Corregidor, Bs. As.)

1992: Nadine Gordimer o la palabra insuprimible (Corregidor, Bs. As.)

1992: El viaje y la aventura (IIC, Bs. As., Corregidor, Bs. As.)

1992: La realidad obstinada (IIC, Bs. As., Corregidor, Bs. As.)

1993: Carlo Michelstaedter. La hermenéutica del devenir (T. Agüero, Bs. As.)

1994: El extrañamiento del ser, Torres Agüero Editor, Buenos

Aires (2nd edición)

1995: En el camino de la palabra (Torres Agüero Ed., Bs. As.)

1997: El campo de la ética (HACHETTE/Edicial, Bs. As.)

2002: Epistemología del diálogo. Pensamiento del éxodo. (Biblos, Bs. As.)

2002 : Wolfgang & Magdalena (Ed. Goliardiche, Roma)

2005: Búsquedas de sentido para una nueva política (PAIDOS,

Buenos Aires)

2005: Manuel d’education civique et electorale, UN, Mbandaka, Équateur (DRCongo)

2005: The World Peace Journal (Croatia – Austria)

2006: Images of Argentina, cling-Klong, SMF, Schweitz (Suisse)

2006: La Amante de Mozart, Biblos, Buenos Aires

2006: Philosophical Dictionary of Alternative Thought, by

Corredor de las Ideas del Cono Sur, (1st Volume)

2007: La impaciencia de lo absoluto, en Carlo Michelstaedter

y Simone Weil, with screenplay ‘Salvar a Venecia’,

Ediciones Suarez, Buenos Aires

2008: Del Bicentenario de la Revolución a las luchas emancipadoras

en nuestra América, ‘Social Liberation and

Territorial Unity’, Corredor de las Ideas del Cono Sur

& National Government, Academia de las Ciencias, Bs. As.

2008: “The legacy of J. A. Comenius to the Culture of Education”,

by Ministry of Education, Pedagogical Museum,

Academy of Sciences, Charles University in Prague, Unie Comenius,

Prague – Czeck Republic

2008: Diccionario del pensamiento alternativo, by Corredor

de las Ideas del Cono Sur, Universidad Nacional de Lanus, Biblos, Bs. As.

2009: Implacables Ausencias – Nach Congo und anderswohin,

Editorial Dunken, Bs.As.

2010: Infinitas lunas, infinitos soles, Editorial Dunken, Buenos Aires

2010: MOZART AND MAGDALENA, USA

2012: Infinite Moons, Infinite Suns, USA

2012: Walter Benjamin, ein schmerzliches Herz, Buenos Aires

2013: Tiempos de cambio, tiempos de revolución. Para un

humanismo revolucionario, Buenos Aires

2016: La provocación de la verdad y la soledad de la obra,

(dos volúmenes), Buenos Aires

2016: La rosa de Monteverdi, Buenos Aires

2018: La rose de Monteverdi, Paris-Montreal

2018: La condición humana en la era de la posverdad,

Biblos, Buenos Aires (varios autores, E. Dussel,

G.Bianco, M. Santagada y otros)                           

2020: La rosa di Monteverdi, Europa Edizioni, Roma                                                   

2021: La rosa de Monteverdi, Europa Ediciones, Madrid                                              

2021: La rose de Monteverdi, Société des écrivains, Paris/Montréal


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