24
The Third Directive [35-36]

ἀνὰ δ᾽ ἥρπασε Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη, ἂψ δ᾽ Ἀχιλῆϊ δίδου, λάθε δ᾽ Ἕκτορα ποιμένα λαῶν

Voss translates:

"the goddess seized it (the lance) and immediately gave it back to the Peleidian, unnoticed by the warlike Hector."

This is "well" thought and said in our German language: unnoticed by Hector, Athena gave Achilles back his lance. Thought. however, in the Greek way, it means: Athena was concealed to Hector in her giving back of the lance. We see once more how "concealedness" makes up the basic feature of the behavior of the goddess, which basic feature of concealment first bestows on her particular action the character of its "Being." But perhaps the exact reversal of our way of experiencing, thinking, and speaking in relation to the Greek way appears most clearcut in the example of the well-known Epicurean proverb: λάθε βιώσας. We translate in "correct" German: "Live unnoticed." But the Greeks say: "Be concealed in the way you conduct your life." Here concealment determines the character of the presence of man among men. The "concealed" and the "unconcealed" are characters of the very being itself and not characteristics of the noticing or apprehending. Nevertheless, perceiving and saying have indeed for the Greeks, too, the basic feature of "truth" or "untruth."

It may be clear from these few remarks how decisively the domain and the occurrence of concealing and concealedness hold sway, for the Greeks, over beings and over human comportment toward beings. If now, after this comment and in its light, we once more consider the most common Greek word of the stem λαθ, namely λανθάνομαι, then it is plain that the usual and indeed "correct" translation by our German word "to forget" renders nothing at all of the Greek way of thinking.

Thought in the Greek fashion, λανθάνομαι says: I am concealed from myself in relation to something which would otherwise be unconcealed to me. This is thereby, for its part. concealed, just as I am in my relation to it. The being sinks away into concealment in such a manner that with this concealment of the being I remain concealed from myself. Moreover, this concealment is itself concealed. Something similar does indeed occur when we forget this or that. In forgetting not only does something slip from us, but the forgetting slips into a concealment of such a kind that we ourselves fall into concealedness precisely in our relation to the forgotten. Therefore the Greeks say more precisely ἐπιλανθάνομαι, in order to capture the concealedness in which man is involved, especially with respect to the concealment's relation to what is withheld from man because of it. A more uncanny way to think