How do these eight verses more clearly bring to light the relation between thinking and Being? They seem rather to obscure it, since they themselves lead us into darkness and leave us without counsel. Let us therefore seek some sort of preliminary instruction concerning the relation between thinking and Being by pursuing the main features of previous interpretations. It has traditionally been explained in three ways, each of which we may mention briefly without showing in detail to what extent it is evidenced in the Parmenidean text. In the first, thinking is taken as something at hand, appearing alongside many other such things, and which "is" in that sense. Its being must be gauged by the standard applied to every other being of its kind, and together with those beings be aggregated into a sort of comprehensive whole. This unity of beings is called Being. Since thinking, considered as a being, is just like every other kind of being, thinking proves to be identical with Being.

One hardly needs to have recourse to philosophy in order to draw such a conclusion. The mustering of what is at hand into the totality of being seems quite natural. It involves more than thinking. Seafaring, temple building, conversation at social gatherings, every kind of human activity belongs among beings and is therefore identical with Being. One wonders why Parmenides, precisely with respect to that human activity called thinking should have insisted on expressly establishing that it is included in the realm of beings. One would certainly be justified in wondering further why Parmenides proceeds to give a special proof for this inclusion, particularly through the commonplace notion that aside from beings, and being in totality, there can be no other beings.

Rightly viewed, however, where Parmenides' doctrine is represented in such fashion one has long ceased to wonder. For by considering Parmenides' thought in this way we abandon it; it thereupon succumbs to these crude and clumsy attempts—for which it was an effort, to be sure—to assign every being that comes to the fore, among others also thinking, a place in the totality of being.