Und plötzlich in diesem mühsamen Nirgends, plötzlich
die unsägliche Stelle, wo sich das reine Zuwenig
unbegreiflich verwandelt –, umspringt
in jenes leere Zuviel.
Wo die vielstellige Rechnung
zahlenlos aufgeht.Rainer Maria Rilke
What an astounding gesture – someone calls my name and I turn my head.
This is a moment of an abrupt invocation to which I immediately respond; I respond without hesitation. I respond without will; I respond without having reflected about responding. I respond to the occurrence of a glance and a call – two moments maybe, which arise in one moment, are assembled to arise in the present. They are presenced as in a single stroke, in a single breath, in the same Now. I am exposed to this occurrence which takes me by chance. This call is the irruption of an act outside of prediction, suddenly I am addressed, unexpectedly, extempore – out of the time, at the moment, without premeditation or preparation; at first sight – and I respond without intention. I have to respond. It responds.
I cannot escape it. I cannot escape a response.
Is this, my responding, a response to a name – but why should I respond to a name? – or a response to an invocation, a call, a demand which calls me – and precisely me – to respond – or even to the responsibility of a response?
This moment, a sudden stroke that cannot be derived from any foresight, this incalculable call interrupts my time and turns it around; I am given to this moment of being-turned-towards, I am submitted to this moment. This sudden uniqueness occurs now. And nothing could be more momentous than this encounter – an encounter that occurs now and is at the same time always about to occur. This response is always already marked by a presence of time, as time will have been marked by the Augen-Blick, by the glance of the eye.
The moment, in its sudden arrival, portrays itself as the open possibility of an Augenblick, and it is – to become an Augenblick and to become datable – dependent on a reply. The moment does not happen as an Augenblick, it turns into (the maybe of) an Augenblick not simply because it appears in its sudden givenness, but also because it is to occur in the in-between of a call and reply.