The history of Being means destiny of Being in whose sendings both the sending and the It which sends forth hold back with their self-manifestation. To hold back is, in Greek, ἐποχή. Hence we speak of the epochs of the destiny of Being. Epoch does not mean here a span of time in occurrence, but rather the fundamental characteristic of sending, the actual holding-back of itself in favor of the discernibility of the gift, that is, of Being with regard to the grounding of beings. The sequence of epochs in the destiny of Being is not accidental, nor can it be calculated as necessary. Still, what is appropriate shows itself in the destiny, what is appropriate shows itself in the belonging together of the epochs. The epochs overlap each other in their sequence so that the original sending of Being as presence is more and more obscured in different ways.

Only the gradual removal of these obscuring covers—that is what is meant by "dismantling"—procures for thinking a preliminary insight into what then reveals itself as the destiny of Being. Because one everywhere represents the destiny of Being only as history, and history only as a kind of occurrence, one tries in vain to interpret this occurrence in terms of what was said in Being and Time about the historicity of man (Dasein) (not of Being). By contrast, the only possible way to anticipate the latter thought on the destiny of Being from the perspective of Being and Time is to think through what was presented in Being and Time about the dismantling of the ontological doctrine of the Being of beings.

When Plato represents Being as ἰδέα and as the κοινωνία of the Ideas, when Aristotle represents it as ἐνέργεια, Kant as position, Hegel as the absolute concept, Nietzsche as the will to power, these are not doctrines advanced by chance, but rather words of Being as answers to a claim which speaks in the sending concealing itself, in the "there is, It gives, Being." Always retained in the withdrawing sending, Being is unconcealed for thinking with its epochal abundance of transmutations. Thinking remains bound to the tradition of the epochs of the destiny of Being, even when and especially when it recalls in what way and from what source Being itself receives its appropriate determination, from the "there is, It gives Being."