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Country Path Conversations [135–136]

Scholar: The jug abides in itself in that it turns back to itself over and through this expanse.

Guide: The return is the abiding, into which the jug is brought to abide by the abiding expanse.

Scientist: We called the abiding expanse the open-region. And we now have a clearer sense of the manner in which it regions. It nevertheless seems to me that we do not yet give broad enough consideration to the expanse that brings to abide, the expanse in which the jug abides, so long as we think of the whole gathering of the drink [Getränk] only as the drink offered [Trank] and forget the drinking [Trinken].

Scholar: I too wanted to point this out right away. But I became puzzled even when by myself I silently tried to think of the drinking just as we thought of the wine.

Guide: The selfsame difficulty presumably impedes my speech as well. If pressed one could perhaps say that drinking abides in thirst. But we also drink wine when we don’t have any thirst. [136]

Scientist: You mean when we drink beyond thirst.

Guide: Yes and no.

Scholar: I’d also like to know how you are making a distinction here.

Guide: Although one who is accustomed to drinking beyond thirst is indeed called a drinker, mere drinkers do not know how to drink, which is why we also use a word for their drinking that is used to designate what animals do,50 even though among animals there are never any drinkers of this type.

Scientist: Then “to drink beyond thirst” signifies not merely to get blind drunk, but rather to go out beyond thirst as the usual occasion for drinking, and to drink to conviviality.

Scholar: Or to drink on the occasion of a farewell, or to a memory, or for other special occasions.

Guide: And so on the occasion of a festival.51

Scholar: So perhaps we could venture to say: the drink offered [Trank] or, better, the drink received [Trunk], abides in the festival.

Scientist: The festival belongs in that expanse which brings the drink offered to abide in that wherein the emptiness of the jug abides.

Guide: The jug would then be something festive. And to that expanse, in which earth and sky are named, belongs also the festival, which, it seems to me, is itself an expanse that brings the human to abide.

50. The word alluded to here, saufen, means “to drink” when it is used for animals, but “to booze” when it is used for humans.—Tr.

51. Although probably best translated here as “festival,” das Fest has a somewhat wider semantic range. It can also mean “celebration” or “feast,” especially when these take place on a commemorative occasion.

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