Our government has done horrible things recently. To show our dissent, some of us protested by posting the #notinmyname tag. I myself tweeted no fewer than eight times using this tag.
We wanted to stand apart, to be excused from the inhumane policies, to prevent others from judging us by what our authorities are doing. We wanted to calm our conscience.
But – with all due respect – this is a lie. We are deceiving ourselves.
This blog is my refuge – an intellectual refuge, so to speak. The title comes from Hungarian writer Antal Szerb, who wrote about his Italian travels in 1936 under this title. Szerb’s literal third tower is in San Marino, where you can see three towers (ubiquitous in Italy) on the mountain just above the city. (The towers shown at the header of this blog are in San Gimignano, Tuscany.)
Why a refuge, and why the Third Tower? Let me quote Szerb here:
“The third tower stands at a distance, in a remote corner of one of those mountains, on top of steep, insurmountable rocks on both sides. The city doesn’t reach up here, and as you walk along the ridge, you get dizzy by the height. […] There, right below the Third Tower, I came to understand my notorious anxiety: […] everywhere, through the entire journey, I had to deal with the happy Italian collectivism. I felt I had to protect my solitude from that, and the common European future it represented. I felt that my solitary happiness was threatened by their herd-like happiness, because they were stronger than me. […] I cannot share this happiness that I feel here at the foot of the Third Tower. Likewise, I’m unable to give myself up to anyone and anything, not to any government or any idea.”