To take being out of the ἔστιν, the “is”—was of inmost necessity
to the Greeks.
For they were to be the first to take being into understanding
(which for them, e.g., for Parmenides, was νοῦς, apprehension). In
such a horizon was grounded their existence in the midst of beings
Why, however, precisely presence—from the present tense of the
verb? Because presence the most proximate and the enduring.
Opposed to nothingness—opposed to the “not” and the “no.”
The beginning necessarily an immediate assertional “yes” to continuance,
constancy, and circle.
The constancy maintains itself in all variations and extension in
Plato (μὴ ὄν [“nonbeing”] as ὄν [“being”]) and Aristotle (δύναμις—
ἐνέργεια, κινήσις [“potentiality—actuality, motion”]).
This understanding of being was incorporated by Christianity (Augustine—
Thomas) into the horizon of an eternal creator-God. The understanding
of being was thereby implanted into a realm of faith and
became entrenched—lumen naturale [“natural light”].
Yet thereby for the first time the innermost act of beginning and
questioning on the part of the Greeks was bent over toward results
and—still more—toward the first truth.
The mathematical idea of knowledge at the start of modernity—
itself basically ancient—now brought a grounding and new confirmation
to the philosophical system. This renewed obstruction of the
beginning found its conclusion in Hegel. His historical construction,
which expressly took antiquity as thesis, became in this way a fortiori
the suppression of the beginning.