It needs must be that what can be spoken and thought is; for it is possible for it to be, and it is not possible for what is nothing to be. This is what I bid thee ponder. I hold thee back from this first way of inquiry, and from this other also, upon which mortals knowing naught wander two-faced; 5for helplessness guides the wandering thought in their breasts, so that they are borne along stupefied like men deaf and blind. Undiscerning crowds, who hold that it is and is not the same and not the same, and all things travel in opposite directions! R. P. 115.
For this shall never be proved, that the things that are not are; and do thou restrain thy thought from this way of inquiry. R. P. 116.
- The construction here is the same as that explained in the last note. The words τὸ λέγειν τε νοεῖν τ' ἐόν mean "that which it is possible to speak of and think," and are correctly paraphrased by Simplicius (Phys. p. 86, 29, Diels), εἰ οὖν ὅπερ ἄν τις ἢ εἴπῃ ἢ νοήσῃ τὸ ὄν ἔστι. Then ἔστι γὰρ εἶναι means "it can be," and the last phrase should be construed οὐκ ἔστι μηδὲν (εἶναι), "there is no room for nothing to be."
- I construe οἷς νενόμισται τὸ πέλειν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶναι ταὐτὸν καὶ οὐ ταὐτόν. The subject of the infinitives πέλειν καὶ οὐκ εἶναι is the it, which has to be supplied also with ἔστιν and οὐκ ἔστιν. This way of taking the words makes it unnecessary to believe that Parmenides said instead of (τὸ) μὴ εἶναι for "not-being." There is no difference between πέλειν and εἶναι except in rhythmical value.
- I take πάντων as neuter and understand παλίντροπος κέλευθος as equivalent to the ὁδὸς ἄνω κάτω of Herakleitos. I do not think it has anything to do with the παλίντονος (or παλίντροπος) ἁρμονίη. See Chap. III. p. 136, n. 4.
- I prefer to read ἔστι γὰρ οὐλομελές with Plutarch (Adv. Col. 1114 c). Proklos (in Parm. 1152, 24) also read οὐλομελές. Simplicius, who has μουνογενές here, calls the One of Parmenides ὁλομελές elsewhere (Phys. p. 137, 15). The reading of [Plut.] Strom. 5, μοῦνον μουνογενές, helps to explain the confusion. We have only to suppose that the letters μ, ν, γ were written above the line in the Academy copy of Parmenides by some one who had Tim. 31 b 3 in mind. Parmenides could not call what is "only-begotten," though the Pythagoreans might call the world so.