to be thought in terms of the sanctioning-region [Be-fugnis-Gegend]


The greatness of the slight


The slight [Ge-Ringe]: the gathering of the bringing-into-ownership [Vereignis] of all things to themselves.9

The term “sanctioning-region” here brings together the thought of an authority, one who disposes from a position of superiority, with the idea of a jointure (Fug) or articulation. Indeed, as Heidegger notes, one of the synonymous terms for the slight, the “negligible,” is constructed upon this notion of jointure (the slight joint, Gering-fügige). The Befugnis would name the need for compliance with any authoritative directive. Such compliance, however, simultaneously undermines any pretention to sovereign authority or utter exclusion, since the directive requires this compliance to hold sway. We should note here that the ultimate directive for Heidegger, the authority over the sanctioning (but this authority is itself only authorized through compliance with its sanctions) is being: being understood as given, i.e., as beyng. This beyng that is sent to us, arrives to us, is always coming to us, and we are called on to comply. Our compliance is the adoption of a receptivity to what lies beyond us, one that situates us in a relationship with coming. For this reason, authorization is spaced and Heidegger speaks of a “sanctioning region.” As something sent, the sanction of this sanctioning region is something that is equally held back from us. This withholding, as we have repeatedly seen, is itself a granting and what makes possible the extension of what is given. The space that is stretched apart by the reach of this sent sanction is the spacing of the “sanctioning-region.” The sanction is indissociable from this reservation or withholding.

It is only a small step from this to understand that what comes to us in the sending is precisely the marker of a withholding, all that is given or sent is so marked. The task of the thinker is to attend to this withholding:

To more questioningly question

means: to become more hearing for that

which is addressed to us: i.e. for the

withholding [Vorenthalt] of the sanctioning-region

more hearing: more pliant [fügsamer] in the pre-

paration for belonging

to the slight10

9 Heidegger, Das Geringe, 16.

10 Heidegger, Das Geringe, 17.

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