Junger and Heidegger at Wembley Stadium
If the thought comments England-Germany.
Martin Heidegger Quiver in preparation. Excited, afraid, unable to leave their place of residence. It is difficult for me to have to choose from the many philosophical guides in the library on my journey to Wilflingen, the home of Ernst Junger. He chose among other things The City of God by Augustine. His wife Elfride is a little confused:
“Oh Martin, I would have chosen something much easier, after all you go to Wilflingen to watch a football game and not a conference.”
Meanwhile, a shiver runs through him. Some fever lines. Elfride calms him down. But Heidegger is restless beyond measure: “I’m not made for exits. Even a single day away from this house shocks me, it’s like shaking the ground beneath my feet. The resolution is complete. But will I have spent time with you? I sometimes ask myself that. Because of my devotion to books, it feels like I’ve only spoken to you in my spare time». His Elfride replies:The time you gave me was a lot. Could the world possibly do without your reflections?»
But time is pressing. It’s July 30, 1966. We’re preparing for it at Wembley Stadium World Cup final: It is England-West Germany. Jiinger sees this as an extraordinary experience. Soccer Sublimation de The Steel Storms and from Being And Time. A soccer final becomes both a symbol and a challenge that goes beyond the narrow confines of the pitch.
Heidegger cannot miss. Despite his reluctance, he awaits the challenge with the British (“they are always the first enemy”). Then the team seems promising. It’s West Germany by Tilkowski, Beckenbauer, and Seeler. He talks about it with Manfred, his driver, who shows a certain optimism: “We will win and Seeler will punish the Brits.” Yes, it will be him.
In Wilflingen they arrive on time. Jiinger greets him by conjuring up this game as a war sim. As a symbol for this device called technology that is now appearing over humanity. The two philosophers remember the finale from 1954. Ferenc Puskás’ Hungary, favored beyond all measure and shaped by Germanic pragmatism and physicality. There was Fritz Walter in this West Germany: “If I remember correctly, Fritz Walter was with the paratroopers» emphasizes Junger. Meanwhile the final begins. Germany are still the underdogs but their defense holds up:
“See how we’re covered in the back, an Italian bar you might say.”
Heidegger points this out. But his emotional fragility comes to the fore. He deliberately distracts himself as soon as the English go beyond midfield. In the meantime, read Husserl. «Do you think now is the time to read Husserl?» Younger teases him. «Everyone has their own defense system. Instead of Schultz, Schnellinger and Weber I have Husserl, Thomas Aquinas and Schleiermacher». Argument that makes no sense.
Meanwhile, Germany scores with Haller. Young is happy. It reminds him of a Haller rifleman who accompanied him in World War I. Philosophy has now become intertwined with football discourse: “The fact that everyone is following this game is impressive. It is fair to say that the mobilization is really comprehensive. How would all the inhabitants of the planet react if this challenge were suddenly suspended?boy watching. Football is a global phenomenon. No philosophically mature and reality-conscious mind can afford to ignore it. The field now belongs to the British reaction. Hurst and then Peters led the game in favor of the Lions.
Heidegger has fever again. But Germany is not giving up. Shortly before the time was up, Weber brought the result back to a draw. extra time. «The weather! How much time have I devoted to time!». Heidegger is now completely relaxed. But suddenly the irretrievable happens. In the 11th minute of the first overtime, Stiles throws the ball, which Hurst crosses and spins towards the net. The ball goes under the bar and bounces off the white line. On the line or above the line? The destination has finally been confirmed. Boy jumps up. Validation is the symbol of a now dominant simplification, a nihilism already described in over the line:
«Did the referee make a mistake? But he has to simplify, like everywhere in the world, by removing everything internal. These are the rules of Leviathan. Yes, now everything stays outside that opposes the world and its wild rhythm.
The British are 3 to 2. Germany is not recovering. England lead 4-2 again with Hurst. The collective rite of the World Finals ends in defeat. “It’s bad to lose against the English,” admits Jiinger. A new summer. A new Africa or a Russian front. Global clashes don’t seem made for Germany. Philosophy becomes the playing field and returns to itself enriched and complex. Meanwhile, however, it is not clear how much that ball was across the line.
“It is likely that in the future the technology will become so sophisticated and the will to power so powerfully empowered that perhaps the truth of what happened can be ascertained […]. Goal or no goal. Once the truth is out, the whole story will have to be rewritten. But will it help us Germans?” It’s worth adding: Will it maybe benefit the world?
Freely taken from “over the line. Junger and Heidegger at Wembley Stadium”, by Fernando Acitelli (ES, 2018)