'somewhere else', 'not all there'. It is therefore quite wrong to translate λήθη as forgetting in the ordinary sense of a subjective psychological event. (I still leave open the question of whether one can at all comprehend forgetting by conceiving it as a psychological event or occurrence in consciousness.) What is important for us is that λήθη means an objective occurrence which affects man in his existence, which comes over him and seizes him, i.e. which intervenes in the manifestness of beings. This objectively occurring gone-ness of beings is the condition of the possibility of someone no longer knowing anything, of someone being 'completely gone'. ἐλάμβανε is frequent in Greek; λαμβάνει φόβος, ἄλγος, ὕπνος, fear seizes him, sleep seizes him, and so forth, all as objective (if we may use this misleading expression here) 'powers'.

The Greek λήθη (and λανθάνομαι) only gets the meaning of forgetting via the indirect manner of a specific derivation, whereby, however, the objective sense is still present. What is decisive for this derivation is precisely its origin in the fundamental meaning of remaining-hidden. λανθάνω means that I am or remain hidden, to myself or to others. This fundamental meaning of the word leads to a linguistic usage quite characteristic of Greek, namely combination with a participle as we know this from Homer (Odyssey VIII, 93, a verse which we still remember from school): ἔνθ' αλλους μέν πάντας έλάνθανε δάκρυα λείβων. 'He remained hidden to all the others as someone shedding tears'; we say, by contrast, that he shed tears without anyone else noticing it. For the Greeks, remaining- hidden stands in the foreground (it is expressed in the verbum finitum), always as an existing state of affairs, as the character of the beings (also of a particular human being). But we turn the state of affairs around into something subjective, and express it by saying that the others did not notice his weeping.

In this way the wisdom of language provides us with an important testimony to the fact that the remaining-hidden and being-unhidden of things and human beings (to themselves as to others) was experienced by the Greeks as an occurrence of the beings themselves, and also belonged to the fundamental experiences which determined the existence of ancient man. λανθάνω ἥκων: I remain hidden as someone who comes; we say: I come without anyone noticing. Thus the meaning of λανθάνομαι as letting something be hidden to me, i.e. I let it withdraw, slide away from me and be gone, I allow forgetting (being-gone) to come over something, I do not turn towards it, I let it rest, I forget it. Only by way of this modification do λανθάνομαι and λήθη come to have the meaning of forgetting