138 • The Restriction of Being

By considering the fundamental meaning of λόγος, gathering, we have still made little progress in clarifying the question: to what extent are Being and logos originally one and the same for the Greeks, so that later they can and even must be disjoined, for definite reasons?

The indication of the fundamental meaning of λόγος can give [96|133] us a clue only if we already understand what “Being” means for the Greeks: φύσις. Not only have we concerned ourselves in general with Being as the Greeks meant it, but through our previous distinctions of Being from becoming and from seeming, we have circumscribed the meaning of Being ever more distinctly.

Keeping all this firmly in view, we say: Being as φύσις is the emerging sway. In opposition to becoming, it shows itself as constancy, constant presence. This presence announces itself in opposition to seeming as appearing, as manifest presence.

What does logos (gathering) have to do with Being as so interpreted? But first we must ask: Is there any evidence for such a connection between Being and logos in the inception of Greek philosophy? By all means. Once again, we will rely on the two definitive thinkers Parmenides and Heraclitus, and we will try once again to find entry into the Greek world, whose basic traits, though distorted and repressed, displaced and covered up, still sustain our own world. Again and again we must emphasize that precisely because we dare to take up the great and lengthy task of tearing down a world that has grown old and of building it truly anew, that is, historically, we must know the tradition. We must know more—that is, we must know in a more rigorous and compelling way—than all earlier ages and upheavals before us. Only the most radical historical knowledge brings us face to face with the unfamiliarity of our tasks and preserves us from a new onset of mere restoration and uncreative imitation.

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