Lēthē      89

think that cases of Dasein are necessarily human beings, since human beings are animals. I do not want to press the point. But I do want to conclude, first, that the lēthē presupposed by unconcealing need not be that of animality, and second, that the two are nonetheless the same sort of lēthē, such that in thinking the animal as world-poor, we have some access to that lēthē that our disclosing overcomes.

So, we can glimpse lēthē in the condition of the animal and we can experience our lēthē itself liminally in a mood such as angst. In both cases, however, we can at most only graze this non-intelligibility. For, as disclosing or illuminating, we destroy the darkness as soon as we encounter it.17 (More on this in §22.) Left to itself, third-plank lēthē allows no illuminating, no disclosing, no worlding of the world. The understanding of being is not operative. ‘[E]verything disappears’ (P: 119/GA54: 176) in this darkness—or rather, since darkness presupposes light, in this absence of both darkness and light.

This third-plank lēthē is not a phenomenon of earth. This, despite the fact that Heidegger positions earth as a phenomenon of lēthē in ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’ and commentators follow him in doing so.18 Heidegger situates earth as the ground or source out of which world arises (OWA: 32/GA5: 42), just as lēthē is the concealment that third-plank unconcealing, or worlding, overcomes. And, just as alētheia ‘suspends’ or ‘cancels’ lēthē (P: 14/GA54: 20), so too world ‘strives to surmount’ earth because ‘it will tolerate nothing closed [Verschlossenes]’ (OWA: 26/GA5: 35). Yet earth is never overcome by world, as lēthē is by alētheuein and its alpha-privative. Instead, world lets earth come forth: ‘In setting up a world, the work sets forth the earth. [. . .] The work moves the earth into the open of

17 This is the paradox of the nothing that Heidegger encounters in ‘What is Metaphysics?’: ‘In our asking we posit the nothing in advance as something that “is” such and such; we posit it as an entity. But that is exactly what it is distinguished from. Interrogating the nothing— asking what and how it, the nothing, is—turns what is interrogated into its opposite. The question deprives itself of its own object’ (WM: 85/GA9: 107).

18 For instance, Thomson: truth ‘takes place’ as ‘an “a-lētheic” struggle to “dis-close” or “un-conceal” (a-lētheia) that which conceals (lēthē) itself, an “essential strife” between two interconnected dimensions of intelligibility (revealing and concealing) which Heidegger calls “world” and “earth” ’ (Thomson, ‘Heidegger’s Aesthetics’).