The Third Directive [175-176]

§7. The Greeks' final word concerning the hidden counter-essence of ἀλήθεια, λήθη (II). The concluding myth of Plato's Politeia. The field of λήθη.

a) The district of the uncanny: the field of withdrawing concealment. The exclusiveness of the uncanny in the place of lethe. The sight of its emptiness, and the nothingness of the withdrawal. The uncontainable water of the river "Carefree" in the field of λήθη. The saving of the unconcealed by thoughtful thinking; the drink of the thinker.

The district mentioned in the concluding myth of Plato's Politeia is neither on "earth" nor in "heaven." Quite to the contrary, in this district there are such things, and only such things, which point to the subterrestrial, the supraterrestrial, and to what pertains to the earth. The subterrestrial and the supraterrestrial are the places whence the "demonic" shines up upon, or down upon, the earth. They are the places of the gods. In the district of the uncanny the ones who come from the subterrestrial and the supraterrestrial meet in order to wander through this δαιμόνιος τόπος before they again go through a new mortal course on earth. In wandering through the district of the uncanny, its places must be traversed according to explicitly delimited stops and times.

The last place within the district of the uncanny, consequently the one at which the wanderer must stop immediately prior to the transition to a new mortal course, is τὸ τῆς Λήθης πεδίον, the field of withdrawing concealment in the sense of oblivion. In this field of λήθη the whole wandering is gathered. Here the "demonic" of the entire locality dwells in the most extreme and highest sense The warrior narrates that the way to the field of λήθη leads through a blaze consuming everything and through an air that asphyxiates everything; καὶ γὰρ εἶναι αὐτὸ (τὸ τῆς Λήθης πεδίον) κενὸν δένδρων τε καὶ ὅσα γῆ φύει (621a3f.). "Also, it (namely this field of withdrawing concealment) is itself bare of all that grows as well as completely void of everything the earth lets spring forth." This field of concealment is opposed to all φύσις. Λήθη does not admit any φύειν, any emerging and coming forth. Λήθη appears as the counter-essence to φύσις. If we understand φύσις as "nature," and λήθη as "forgetting," then we will never comprehend how φύσις and λήθη come to be opposites, why they stand in an emphatic relation to each other. But if we think of them in the Greek manner, then it becomes clear that λήθη as essential withdrawing and concealing never lets anything emerge, and hence it sets itself against all coming forth, i.e., against φύσις. The field of λήθη prevents every disclosure of beings, of the ordinary. In the essential place of λήθη

Martin Heidegger (GA 54) Parmenides