We thus come to the clarification of our first question: What is meant by τὸ αὐτὸ, the same?
Whatever is all the same to us makes no difference to us; it is one and the same. But what sense of oneness is meant by this? It is not up to us to determine this however we like. Instead, when we are dealing with the saying of “Being,” oneness must be understood in the sense that Parmenides thinks in the word ἕν. We know that oneness here is not empty one-and-the- sameness, not selfsameness as a merely indifferent all-the-sameness. Oneness is the belonging-together of what strives in opposition. This is what is originally unified.
Why does Parmenides say τε καί? Because Being and thinking are unified, in the sense of striving in opposition, that is, are the same in their belonging-together. How are we to understand this? Let us base our answer on Being, which as φύσις has become clearer to us in various respects. Being means: standing in the light, appearing, stepping into unconcealment. Where this happens, that is, where Being holds sway, apprehending holds sway too and happens too, as belonging to Being. Apprehending is the receptive bringing-to-a-stand of the constant that shows itself in itself.
Parmenides expresses the same statement still more sharply in fragment 8, verse 34: ταὐτὸν δ’ἐστὶ νοεῖν τε καὶ οὕνεκεν ἔστι νόημα: apprehending and that for the sake of which apprehending happens are the same. Apprehending happens for the sake of Being. Being essentially unfolds as appearing, as stepping into unconcealment, only if unconcealment happens, only if a self-opening happens. In its two versions, Parmenides’s statement gives us a still more original insight into the essence of φύσις. Apprehending belongs to φύσις; the sway of φύσις shares its sway with apprehending.