to be. This enabling is what is properly "possible" [das "Mögliche"], whose essence resides in favoring. From this favoring being enables thinking. The former makes the latter possible. Being is the enabling-favoring, the "may be" [das "Mög-liche"] . As the element, being is the "quiet power" of the favoring-enabling, that is, of the possible. Of course, our words möglich [possible] and Möglichkeit [possibility], under the dominance of "logic" and "metaphysics," are thought solely in contrast to "actuality"; that is, they are thought on the basis of a definite — the metaphysical — interpretation of being as actus and potentia, a distinction identified with that between existentia and essentia.3 When I speak of the "quiet power of the possible" I do not mean the possibile of a merely represented possibilitas, nor potentia as the essentia of an actus of existentia; rather, I mean being itself, which in its favoring presides over thinking and hence over the essence of humanity, and that means over its relation to being. To enable something here means to preserve it in its essence, to maintain it in its element.

When thinking comes to an end by slipping out of its element it replaces this loss by procuring a validity for itself as τέχνη, as an instrument of education and therefore as a classroom matter [149 {GA 9 317}] and later a cultural concern. By and by philosophy becomes a technique for explaining from highest causes. One no longer thinks; one occupies oneself with "philosophy." In competition with one another, such occupations publicly offer themselves as "-isms" and try to outdo one another. The dominance of such terms is not accidental. It rests above all in the modem age upon the peculiar dictatorship of the public realm. However, so-called "private existence" is not really essential, that is to say free, human being. It simply ossifies in a denial of the public realm. It remains an offshoot that depends upon the public and nourishes itself by a mere withdrawal from it. Hence it testifies, against its own will, to its subservience to the public realm. But because it stems from the dominance of subjectivity the public realm itself is the metaphysically conditioned establishment and authorization of the openness of beings in the unconditional objectification of everything. Language thereby falls into the service of expediting communication along routes where objectification — the uniform accessibility of everything to everyone — branches out and disregards all limits. In this way language comes under the dictatorship of the public realm, which decides in advance what is intelligible and what must be rejected as unintelligible. What is said in Being and Time (1927), sections 27 and 35, about the "they" in no way means to furnish an incidental contribution to sociology. Just as little does the "they" mean merely the opposite, understood in an ethical-existentiell way, of the selfhood of persons. Rather, what is said there contains a reference, thought in terms of the


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Letter on Humanism - Pathmarks