He says: "Parmenides seems to hold by a Unity in thought, Melissus by a Material unity. Hence the first defined the One as limited, the second declared it to be unlimited. Xenophanes made no clear statement on this question; he simply, gazing up to the arch of heaven, declared, The One is God."

Pythagoras, that the body of the moon was of a nature resembling a mirror. The Stoics declare, that in magnitude it exceeds the earth, just as the sun itself doth. Parmenides, that it is equal to the sun, from whom it receives its light. The Stoics believe that it is of the same figure with the sun, spherical. Empedocles, that the figure of it resembles a quoit. Heraclitus, a boat.

Plato absorbed the learning of his times, Philolaus, Timaeus, Heraclitus, Parmenides, and what else; then his master, Socrates; and finding himself still capable of a larger synthesis, beyond all example then or since, he traveled into Italy, to gain what Pythagoras had for him; then into Egypt, and perhaps still further east, to import the other element, which Europe wanted, into the European mind.

We have seen that Pythagoras probably, and Parmenides surely, out there in Italy had conceived the idea of the earth's rotundity, but the Pythagorean doctrines were not rapidly taken up in the mother-country, and Parmenides, it must be recalled, was a strict contemporary of Anaxagoras himself.

Hence the great Parmenides ascended to this most safe principle, as that which is most unindigent. Is it not, however, here necessary to attend to the conception of Plato, that the united is not the one itself, but that which is passive to it? And this being the case, it is evident that it ranks after the one; for it is supposed to be the united and not the one itself.

In a similar manner too, in the Parmenides, he unfolds dialectically the progressions of being from the one, through the first hypothesis of that dialogue, and this, as he there asserts, according to the most perfect division of this method. And again in the Gorgias, he relates the fable concerning the three fabricators, and their demiurgic allotment.

What do you mean, Parmenides? said Socrates. In the first place, I think, Socrates, that you, or any one who maintains the existence of absolute essences, will admit that they cannot exist in us. No, said Socrates; for then they would be no longer absolute.

I see, Parmenides, said Socrates, that Zeno would like to be not only one with you in friendship but your second self in his writings too; he puts what you say in another way, and would fain make believe that he is telling us something which is new.

The same attitude appears in the simultaneous assertion of contradictory propositions, such as: "We step and do not step into the same rivers; we are and are not." The assertion of Parmenides, that reality is one and indivisible, comes from the same impulse towards unity.

And truth? Is truth something that is lived or that is comprehended? It is only necessary to read the terrible Parmenides of Plato to arrive at his tragic conclusion that "the one is and is not, and both itself and others, in relation to themselves and one another, are and are not, and appear to be and appear not to be."