§27 [199,200,201]

about the good as we would ask about a good thing, then we will not find it, we will always run up against the nothing. The good can never be found at all among beings or Being. It requires that we ask in a different way.

The ἀγαθόν is not simply beyond Being; in its beyondness, it is precisely related to Being and truth (ἀλήθεια), namely, as that which empowers both of them as what they are. With respect to worth and δύναμις and power, the good is superior to everything else; the good is itself also power, the power of empowering. The good is the highest power, in that it empowers what is already the most powerful, raising it to the level of the ὄντως ὄν and the ἀληθινόν. The good is the most powerful, which deploys itself and stands fast before everything else and for everything else.

In the treatment of the essence of the good, what is at issue is not content, nor is it values; rather, what is at issue is a how, the manner of the deployment of power. It (the idea of the good) becomes perceptible not when I take it as a thing, but when I submit myself to the power, thereby orienting and opening up my comportment so that I adjust myself to the power and so that power as power addresses me. What is at issue here will never be grasped by “sound common sense.”

Exactly the same characterization is found at the close of the allegory of the cave (book VII, 517c3). Plato says: in the field of νοεῖν, of the really knowable, the good itself (αὐτόν) is mistress. And this mastery is explained in this way: it bestows, it gives. παρέχειν is not simply to bestow; it is both a bestowing and a holding—giving (and letting go), and in giving, holding. In other words, the good gives and it binds.

With this we discover how the sun corresponds to the good. The good binds (a) ἀλήθεια, that which pertains to the seen, openness, together with (b) νοῦς, the capacity for conceiving and understanding, for the understanding of Being.

The good is the empowerment of Being and of unconcealment to their essences, which intrinsically belong together. (But this says nothing if it is only a definition and is not conceived on the basis of how we hold ourselves.)

In the image, the good is what emanates the yoke from itself, as it were, and yokes together Being and truth so that something is possible that fulfills itself among human beings in historically free human beings.

§28. The development of the essence
of truth as history of humanity

a) Review: the inner order of the question of the essence of truth6

We are approaching the conclusion of an essential line of thought. So now we should once again lay out and follow the inner order of our inquiry.

6. {Recapitulation at the beginning of the session of 25 January 1934.}

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