218 I. 5
Being and Time

hearsay, for if anyone is genuinely 'on the scent' of anything, he does not speak about it; and this is the most entangling way in which ambiguity presents Dasein's possibilities so that they will already be stifled in their power.1

Even supposing that what "they" have surmised and scented out should some day be actually translated into deeds, ambiguity has already taken [174] care that interest in what has been Realised will promptly die away. Indeed this interest persists, in a kind of curiosity and idle talk, only so long as there is a possibility of a non-committal just-surmising-with-someone-else. Being "in on it" with someone [das Mit-dabei-sein] when one is on the scent, and so long as one is on it, precludes one's allegiance when what has been surmised gets carried out. For in such a case Dasein is in every case forced back on itself. Idle talk and curiosity lose their power, and are already exacting their penalty.2 When confronted with the carrying-through of what "they" have surmised together, idle talk readily establishes that "they" "could have done that too"—for "they" have indeed surmised it together. In the end, idle talk is even indignant that what it has surmised and constantly demanded now actually happens. In that case, indeed, the opportunity to keep on surmising has been snatched away.

But when Dasein goes in for something in the reticence of carrying it through or even of genuinely breaking down on it, its time is a different time and, as seen by the public, an essentially slower time than that of idle talk, which 'lives at a faster rate'. Idle talk will thus long since have gone on to something else which is currently the very newest thing. That which was earlier surmise and has now been carried through, has come too late if one looks at that which is newest. Idle talk and curiosity take care in their ambiguity to ensure that what is genuinely and newly created is out of date as soon as it emerges before the public. Such a new creation can become free in its positive possibilities only if the idle talk which covers it up has become ineffective, and if the 'common' interest has died away.

In the ambiguity of the way things have been publicly interpreted, talking about things ahead of the game and making surmises about them curiously, gets passed off as what is really happening, while taking action and carrying something through get stamped as something merely subsequent and unimportant. Thus Dasein's understanding in the "they" is constantly going wrong [versieht sich] in its projects, as regards the genuine possibilities of Being. Dasein is always ambiguously 'there'—that is to say, in that public disclosedness of Being-with-one-another where the loudest


1 '... ist die verfänglichste Weise, in der die Zweideutigkeit Möglichkeiten des Daseins vorgibt, um sie auch schon in ihrer Kraft zu ersticken.' (Notice that 'ihrer' may refer to 'Zweideutigkeit' or to 'Möglichkeiten'.)

2 'Und sie räcben sich auch schon.'


Being and Time (M&R) by Martin Heidegger