The Third Directive [120-122]

cloud is signless; that means it does not show itself at all. This concealment as darkening keeps itself in hiddenness. All darkening always leaves behind a brightness, which, taken for itself, can "appear'' as the only brightness. In the fact that the cloud of forgetting concealment conceals itself as such, the uncanny character of forgetting comes to the fore. Forgetting itself occurs already in an oblivion. If we forget something, we are no longer with it, but instead we are already "away," "drawn aside." If, in forgetting, we were still with the thing, then we could always retain what is forgotten, and then forgetting would never occur at all. The forgetting must already have pushed us out of our own essential realm, so that we can no longer dwell with that which is to fall into oblivion. The essence of the veiling concealment of oblivion is first touched by the significant word ἀτέχμαρτα "signless," in the sense of "not showing itself," "hiding itself." Nevertheless, we have not yet exhausted the essence of the "signless" as experienced by the Greeks and consequently the essence of oblivion as concealment.

Τέχμαρ is the sign, that which shows, that which, while it shows itself, at the same time shows the condition of some being which human comportment reaches and has to reach. Our word "trademark" [Wahrzeichen; literally: "true-sign"] would be an appropriate translation, provided we think the "true" in the Greek sense. What shows itself, the unconcealed, the indicator, can subsequently also mean "goal." But the essence of the "goal" for the Greeks is the limitation and demarcation of the direction and range of comportment. Thought in the modern way, a "goal" is only the provision of an "intermediate" stage within the limitlessness of the ever increasing successes and concerns. The limit (πέρας), as thought by the Greeks, is, however, not that at which something stops, but that in which something originates, precisely by originating therein as being "formed" in this or that way, i.e., allowed to rest in a form and as such to come into presence. Where demarcation is lacking, nothing can come to presence as that which it is. Ἀτέχμαρτα νέφος, the signless cloud, i.e., the cloud that also withholds its own presence, is an absent concealment that does not show itself. We can now surmise something of the essence of "oblivion." It might therefore be appropriate to accentuate once more the principal moments we have uncovered.

Forgetting, as a kind of concealing, is an event that comes over beings and over man in his relation to them. Oblivion occurs within the realm of the essence of action. Forgetting is not a "subjective lived experience," not a "subjective state" in the sense of a "lapse of memory," etc. The concealment here does not touch only what is past but also what is present and, above all, what, in thinking ahead, is approaching man and what befits his comportment by providing an assigned direction. The way of man, if awe determines it and brings it the unconcealed,