Socratic Dialogues - Synopses :)!

The Republic (Synopsis – highlights & unredacted quotes lifted from the Socratic dialogue by Plato, Benjamin Jowett translation)

Themes: On what is Justice, the best form of governance, on whether injustice is more advantageous than justice, on whether the unjust are happy and the just miserableforms of the State and forms of the human soul,

Book 1

Justice: attempts at defining the term: –

(Cephalus/Simonides/Polemarchus)

  1. whether it is repayment of debt… 
    • the return of a deposit of gold which is to the injury of the receiver (the receiver ought to be in their right mind) – Socrates….
  2. giving to each what is proper to him (as debt) …
  3. an art of giving good to friends and evil to enemies… 
    • (Socrates – contentious definition of friends/enemies, peculiar and incidental ends of different Arts/Sciences… Unity of Knowledge…) 
  4. that which is of use/has power of acquisition in making constructs/partnerships/alliances…(relationships)….
    • Each Art is suited for an end peculiar to it and only excels in it.
  5. that it is of use in the depositing/keeping of gold and not in the use of it. That justice is useful when money is useless… 
    • A boxer able to strike a blow can best ward off one/ a good keeper may also be good at stealing something… 
    • Most skilled in preventing/escaping also is best able to create or strike…
  6. that it is an art of theft; to be practiced however “for the good of friends and for the harm of enemies.”
    • But then people often err in their judgments of friends/enemies… what seems vs what truly is… 
  7. do good to friends when they are good and harm to our enemies when they are evil… (originates from some rich/powerful/mighty man) … 
    • Do good to the just and harm to the unjust…
    • What is injury? (Compare definition of virtue as the excellence of a thing to attain the end it is properly suited for…) ….
    • Can a musician by his art make men unmusical…? 
    • Justice does not harm – injuring of another can be in no case just…
  8. (Thrasymachus) justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger… (that it is an interest of some sort…) 
    • Refutation – this “interest” could be the reverse of the interest of the stronger since mankind is liable to err and is not absolutely infallible… 
    • Whence follows that justice is the injury as much as the interest of the stronger…
    • No Art looks at its own interest but that of its own subjects under it and suitable to it…
  9. justice is another’s good
    • The interest (in the strictest sense) of the ruler and the stronger… and the loss of the subject and servant… 
    • For the unjust is lord over the truly simple and just… 
    • Mankind censure injustice fearing that they may be the victims of it and not because they shrink from committing it… 
    • Injustice is a man’s own profit and interest…
    • Unjust claims to have more than all men…
    • The just does not desire more than his like but more than his unlike; whereas the unjust desires more than both his like and his unlike… 
    • Socrates’ overturn of the equivocation of injustice to virtue…
      • Art in the strictest sense looks not after its interest but that of its subjects…
      • A musician being wise would not like to have more than his like (like in tuning… etc…) … he’s good in so far as he’s wise, bad in so far as she’s not… 
      • A man of knowledge would not wish to have the choice of saying or doing more than his like…
  10. (Adeimantus) justice is to be reckoned in the troublesome class – pursued for the sake of rewards and reputation…. (Nature and origin of Justice (Book 2) …
  11. justice as a compromise, a middle point as a lesser of evil and honored by reason of the inability of men to do injustice
    • Those who practice justice do so involuntarily, diverted into the path of justice by the force of law.
    • The liberty of Gyges, the highest reach of injustice is to be deemed just when you are not… 
    • Just man he who is rather than who seems to be good.

The proper function of pleasure is to restore tranquility (bring an equilibrium/equipoise of sorts of one with nature in its manifest vastness… 

Activities ought to be conceived through the ends they procure, not in spite of these ends. 

(Bad pleasures do not procure the ends sought or are counterproductive. They do not produce that which is sought in the sensational/experienced pleasure generating activity…)…  

Book 2

Query on the nature of justice and injustice stripped the reputations attached to them.

 Classes of Good

  1. Goods welcome for their own sakes independent of their consequences (harmless pleasure/enjoyments) … 
  2. Good desirable not only in themselves but also for their results — knowledge, sight, health… 
  3. Disagreeable goods/ troublesome/grievous/toilsome good.

Nature and origin of justice

Questions to consider:

  • What is the highest meed of virtue?
  • The pleasures of vice and injustice are easy of attainment and are they only censured by law and opinion? … 
  • Are the wicked happy?
  • On what principle shall we any longer choose justice rather the worst injustice (what is the principle in justice which is higher than happiness)?
  • What is the true essential nature of either justice or injustice abiding in the soul and what either of them does to the possessor of them?… 
  • What is the nature of justice and injustice and their relative/comparative advantages? … 

City of Pigs…

  • A State at fever-heat…
  • Injustice arising from excesses, transgressing the natural limit/necessity. (newer conceptualization of necessity) … 
  • Unnaturality, exceeding the limit of necessity…
    • Yes, I said, now I understand: the question which you would have me consider is, not only how a State, but how a luxurious State is created; and possibly there is no harm in this, for in such a State we shall be more likely to see how justice and injustice originate. In my opinion the true and healthy constitution of the State is the one which I have described. But if you wish also to see a State at fever-heat, I have no objection. For I suspect that many will not be satisfied with the simpler way of life. They will be for adding sofas, and tables, and other furniture; also dainties, and perfumes, and incense, and courtesans, and cakes, all these not of one sort only, but in every variety; we must go beyond the necessaries of which I was at first speaking, such as houses, and clothes, and shoes: the arts of the painter and the embroiderer will have to be set in motion, and gold and ivory and all sorts of materials must be procured. … Then we must enlarge our borders; for the original healthy State is no longer sufficient. Now will the city have to fill and swell with a multitude of callings which are not required by any natural want; such as the whole tribe of hunters and actors, of whom one large class have to do with forms and colours; another will be the votaries of music–poets and their attendant train of rhapsodists, players, dancers, contractors; also makers of divers kinds of articles, including women’s dresses. And we shall want more servants. Will not tutors be also in request, and nurses wet and dry, tirewomen and barbers, as well as confectioners and cooks; and swineherds, too, who were not needed and therefore had no place in the former edition of our State, but are needed now? They must not be forgotten: and there will be animals of many other kinds, if people eat them. … And living in this way we shall have much greater need of physicians than before? Much greater. And the country which was enough to support the original inhabitants will be too small now, and not enough? Quite true. Then a slice of our neighbours’ land will be wanted by us for pasture and tillage, and they will want a slice of ours, if, like ourselves, they exceed the limit of necessity, and give themselves up to the unlimited accumulation of wealth? That, Socrates, (Glaucon replies) will be inevitable. 

The four qualities of guardians….

  1. quick intelligence, 
  2. memory,
  3. sagacity,
  4. cleverness, etc.… 

The Education of heroes/guardians….

  • Gymnastics for the body…
  • Music for the soul (includes music and literature, Arts and Sciences)

Censorship of writers of fiction/Arts; it’s utility: 

  • Censorship of religion/forms of theology (for the sake of saving the young and thoughtless persons) ….
  • The young should hear/watch models of virtuous thoughts… 
  • Curbing misrepresentation of Gods, banishing fights and quarrelling of gods in order that youth may value friendship with one another… 
  • God as the author of few things only and not innumerable evils… 

Book 3

On literature

  • On the dangers of cowardly tales/false mythology… (may render nerves of guardians too excitable and effeminate) … 
  • Good man will not consider death terrible to any good man who is his comrade…
  • The heinous fault of lying and the exceptions of rulers of State to the rule.
  • The utility of a noble lie
  • Youth must be temperate; chief elements being speaking generally/frankly, obedience and self-control in sensual pleasures… 
  • Misrepresentation of gods engender laxity of morals among the young…everybody will begin to excuse his own vices… 

Gravest misstatements by poets/story-tellers etc.… 

  • That wicked men are often happy… 
  • The good are miserable… 
  • That injustice is profitable when undetected… 
  • That justice is a man’s own loss and another’s gain… 

Types of narrations (of events past, present or/and to come) … 

  1. Simple narration… 
  2. Imitation…
  3. Union of the two (narration and imitation) … 

On Mimetic Art… 

  • Even when two species of imitation are nearly allied, the same persons cannot succeed in both… e.g. tragedy & comedy… 
  • Imitation of good men only is to be employed by the would-be-guardians. The would-be-guardians should not fashion or frame themselves after the baser models

Two types of imitation… 

  • Simple style: harmony and rhythm are chosen for their simplicity, that is keeping with the limits of a single harmony… 
  • Pantomimic style/mixed style (charming to masses): concussion of harmonies… 

A guardian is the rougher and severer artist and the pure imitation of virtue (simple style) … 

Melody and Song

  • A song is composed of words, melody and rhythm… 
  • The Dorian and the Phrygian harmonies are expressive of stern resolve, a determination to endure… 
  • Grace or absence of grace is an effect of good or bad rhythm… 
  • Words regulate rhythm and harmony… 
  • Words and style depend on the temper of the soul… 
  • Everything else depend on the style… 
  • Then beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity… true simplicity of a rightly and noble ordered mind and character… not that other simplicity which is only a euphemism for folly… 
  • Grace and harmony are the twin sisters of goodness and virtues and bear their likeness… 
  • The soul of him who is rightly educated gets imparted with grace. But him who is ill-educated becomes ungraceful… 
  • The hard task of becoming musicaluntil one (has learnt and) knows the essential forms of temperance, courage, liberality, magnificence, etc.… 

True love is a love of beauty, order, temperance and harmony… 

Intemperate pleasure must not be allowed to come near the lover and the beloved… 

For what should be the end of music if not the love of beauty? (Philosophy as true love, compare Phaedrus) … 

The good soul by her own excellence improves the body and not vice versa/ the converse does not hold… 

The really excellent gymnastic is twin sister of that simple music… 

Complexity in Arts engenders license while simplicity in music is the parent of temperance

The invention of lingering death… 

Excessive care of the body is most inimical to the practice of virtue… 

Difference between an ideal judge and good physicians… 

  • Why, I (Socrates) said, you join physicians and judges. Now the most skillful physicians are those who, from their youth upwards, have combined with the knowledge of their art the greatest experience of disease; they had better not be robust in health, and should have had all manner of diseases in their own persons. For the body, as I conceive, is not the instrument with which they cure the body; in that case we could not allow them ever to be or to have been sickly; but they cure the body with the mind, and the mind which has become and is sick can cure nothing. That is very true, he said. But with the judge it is otherwise; since he governs mind by mind; he ought not therefore to have been trained among vicious minds, and to have associated with them from youth upwards, and to have gone through the whole calendar of crime, only in order that he may quickly infer the crimes of others as he might their bodily diseases from his own self-consciousness; the honourable mind which is to form a healthy judgment should have had no experience or contamination of evil habits when young. And this is the reason why in youth good men often appear to be simple, and are easily practised upon by the dishonest, because they have no examples of what evil is in their own souls. Yes, he said, they are far too apt to be deceived. Therefore… the judge should not be young; he should have learned to know evil, not from his own soul, but from late and long observation of the nature of evil in others: knowledge should be his guide, not personal experience. 

Only the virtuous can know wisdom

Simple music and simple gymnastics are employed for the improvement of the soul… 

The mere musician is melted and softened beyond what is good for him… 

Harmony as a balance between the right education of the spirit and the mind… 

Feeble warriors… 

  • And, when a man allows music to play upon him and to pour into his soul through the funnel of his ears those sweet and soft and melancholy airs of which we were just now speaking, and his whole life is passed in warbling and the delights of song; in the first stage of the process the passion or spirit which is in him is tempered like iron, and made useful, instead of brittle and useless. But, if he carries on the softening and soothing process, in the next stage he begins to melt and waste, until he has wasted away his spirit and cut out the sinews of his soul; and he becomes a feeble warrior… If the element of spirit is naturally weak in him the change is speedily accomplished, but if he have a good deal, then the power of music weakening the spirit renders him excitable;–on the least provocation he flames up at once, and is speedily extinguished; instead of having spirit he grows irritable and passionate and is quite impracticable. Exactly. And so in gymnastics, if a man takes violent exercise and is a great feeder, and the reverse of a great student of music and philosophy, at first the high condition of his body fills him with pride and spirit, and he becomes twice the man that he was. And what happens? if he do nothing else, and holds no converse with the Muses, does not even that intelligence which there may be in him, having no taste of any sort of learning or enquiry or thought or culture, grow feeble and dull and blind, his mind never waking up or receiving nourishment, and his senses not being purged of their mists? … And he ends by becoming a hater of philosophy, uncivilized, never using the weapon of persuasion, –he is like a wild beast, all violence and fierceness, and knows no other way of dealing; and he lives in all ignorance and evil conditions, and has no sense of propriety and grace. 

The two principles of human nature:

  1. the philosophical 
  2. and the spirited… 

Harmony – the rightly relaxing and drawing tighter of the two principles… 

Evil and Good – loss or possession of truth respectively… 

Mankind are deprived of truth against their will… 

Men change persuasion by persuasion or forgetfulness, or under the softer influence of pleasure or sterner influence of fear… 

Testing the mettle(metal) of guardians

  • Actions they are likely to forget or be deceived… 
  • Through toils, pains, conflicts… 
  • Through enchantments… 

On the utility of the Royal lie, those needful falsehoods, a necessary and a considerable dose of falsehood and deceit … 

Socrates’ Theory of Metals:

  • Gold – Guardians
  • Silver – Auxiliaries
  • Brass and Iron – Husbandmen and Craftsmen… 

Common rules for the City:

  1. Fostering a belief for the common care of the city through the application of the royal lie… 
  2. Good education as a safeguard for internal insurrection… 
  3. Habitation and possessions should not impair guardians’ virtues… 
  4. Property ownership shouldn’t be beyond what is absolutely necessary… 
  5. No private ownership of property for the sake of not polluting the diviner metal within them with dross, the earthly admixture… 
  6. Guardians should not touch, handle or use silver, gold or wear, be under the same roof with or drink from them… 
  7. In the transposition of ranks since all are of the same original stock and auxiliary or craftsman may have a golden offspring… Transposition of ranks/degrading the offspring of guardians (when inferior) or elevating the offspring of the lower classes (if superior) … 
  8. One to one work, and be one and not many… (A shadow of justice, division of labour)…
  9. No parent is to know their children… children are to be common (Book 5) … 

Book 4

Fashioning happiness of the State as a whole, not piecemeal or disproportionate happiness of any one class. All classes ought to receive the proportionate of happiness which nature assigns to each… 

Two causes of deterioration of the arts, of which both are parents of discontent

  • Wealth, the parent of indolence and luxury
  • Poverty, the parent of meanness and viciousness… 

The limit of the State as far as is consistent with unity (unity has a limit…. One and self-sufficing…) …. 

Good nurture and education implant good constitutions… 

Musical influences on modes of governance…. music license steals into/invades contracts/law and rights…etc.…

Youth to be trained from the first into a stricter system… 

  • Stricter music instills a habit of good order which will accompany them later in life and will be a principle of growth to them…

The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life…. 

Cutting the head of a hydra – limits of legislation without proper/moral background in right education and nurture…

  • Well, then, do not be angry with them; for are they not as good as a play, trying their hand at paltry reforms such as I was describing; they are always fancying that by legislation they will make an end of frauds in contracts, and the other rascalities which I was mentioning, not knowing that they are in reality cutting off the heads of a hydra?the true legislator will not trouble himself with this class of enactments whether concerning laws or the constitution either in an ill-ordered or in a well-ordered State; for in the former they are quite useless, and in the latter there will be no difficulty in devising them; and many of them will naturally flow out of our previous regulations.  

Possible human perfection – wise, valiant, temperate and just… 

Wisdom:

  • Being good in counsel… 
  • Advises not about any particular thing in the State but about the whole and how best to deal with itself and with other States… 
  • watchfulness in the rulers…  

Courage:

  • Preservation under all circumstances of that opinion about the nature of things to be feared and not to be feared in which our legislator educated them….
  • As a universal saving power or true opinion in conformity with law about real and false dangers… 

The dye of the laws… 

  • Pleasure as a potent lyre… 
  • Sorrow, fear and desire as mighty solvents… 
    • Then now, I said, you will understand what our object was in selecting our soldiers, and educating them in music and gymnastic; we were contriving influences which would prepare them to take the dye of the laws in perfection, and the colour of their opinion about dangers and of every other opinion was to be indelibly fixed by their nurture and training, not to be washed away by such potent lyes as pleasure–mightier agent far in washing the soul than any soda or lye; or by sorrow, fear, and desire, the mightiest of all other solvents. And this sort of universal saving power of true opinion in conformity with law about real and false dangers I call and maintain to be courage, unless you disagree.

Temperance:

  • A sort of harmony/symphony/ the ordering/controlling of certain pleasures/desires… 
  • When man becomes master as well as the servant… 
  • As agreement of the naturally superior and inferior as to the right to rule of either… 

Human nature composed of a better and a worse principle…. a sort of bipod… 

Self-mastery:

  • as the rule of the better part over the worse… 

Justice:

  • As doing one’s own business and not being a busybody… 
  • As the ultimate cause and condition of the existence of alland is their preservative… 
  • the quality of every one doing his own work which belongs to him and not being a busybody
  • Suits are decided but that a man may neither take what is another’s nor be deprived of what is his own.

Harmony – the agreement of rulers and subjects… 

Courage – the preservation in the soldiers of the opinion which the law ordains about the true nature of dangers… 

The three distinct classes:

  1. Trader….
  2. Auxiliary…
  3. Guardian…

The three principles of the soul:

  • The Rational (tiniest part) – the forbidding rational principle… 
  • The Concupiscent (the largest part insatiable of gain) – the bidding irrational or appetitive… 
  • The Spirited – the passionate principle, an ally of the rational principle, the natural auxiliary of reason when not corrupted by bad education… 

Both the State and the individual bear the same relation to all the other virtue… 

State/Public Justice consists in each of the three classes doing the work of its own class… 

Individual Justice consists in the several qualities of man’s nature doing their own work

The Rational principle ought to rule because it has the care of the whole soul (perhaps the higher principle in Justice which is greater than happiness) … 

Injustice:

  • Exceeding of the concupiscent and the spirited of their own spheres of function… 

The unified influence of music and gymnastics:

  • Music – nerving and sustaining reason with noble words and lessons… 
  • Gymnastics – moderating and soothing and civilizing the wildness of passion by harmony and rhythm… 

Courageous – whose spirit retains in pleasure and in pain the commands of reason about what he ought or ought not to fear… 

Wise – him in whom that little part (rational) rules…. And proclaims these commandsthat part too being supposed to have a knowledge of what is for the interest of each of the three parts and of the whole… 

Temperate – who has all these elements/principles in friendly harmony… in whom the one ruling principle of reason, and the two subjects one of spirit and other of desire are generally agreed that reason ought to rule and do not rebel… 

The division of labor as a shadow of justice….

Justice – concerned with the inward man which is the true self and concernment of man… 

The just man is his own law

The three principles of the soul compared to the higher, middle and lower notes of the scale… 

Just and good – that which preserves and cooperates with the harmonious condition… 

Wisdomas knowledge which presides over the harmonious condition… 

Unjust action – that which impairs this harmonious condition… 

Injustice:

  • As a state which arises among the three principles, meddlesomeness and interference rising up of the part of the soul against the whole… 

The meaning of acting justly and being unjust… just action cause justice while unjust cause injustice… 

Creation of justice as the institution of a natural order and government of one by another in the parts of the soul… 

Creation of injustice as the production of a state of things at variance with the natural order… 

Virtue:

  • The health, beauty and well-being of the soul… 

Vice:

  • The disease and weakness and deformity of the soul… 

Which is more profitable, to be just and act just and practice virtue, whether seen or unseen of gods and men, or to be unjust and act unjustly, if only unpunished and unreformed? 

Five distinct forms of the State and five of the soul…

Aristocracy and monarchy as one form only… 

Book 5

(Polemarchus taken to task by Socratic method of elenchus) …

The ordering of the State but also the regulation of the individual soul follows the same pattern… 

The right or wrong management of community with respect to women and rearing of children…

  • If women are to have same duties as men, they must have the same nurture and education… 
  • Dogs are not separated into shes or hes but all share equally duties of dogs… 
  • How shall we manage the period between birth and education? … 

Weigh the beautiful by any other standard but that of the good… 

  • But when experience showed that to let all things be uncovered was far better than to cover them up, and the ludicrous effect to the outward eye vanished before the better principle which reason asserted, then the man was perceived to be a fool who directs the shafts of his ridicule at any other sight but that of folly and vice, or seriously inclines to weigh the beautiful by any other standard but that of the good.

Different natures ought to have different pursuits…. (How human nature may be described as one and yet different/varied… ).

The power of the art of contradiction, reasoning vs verbal opposition… 

The meaning of sameness and/or difference of nature…. 

Guardians and their wives to have the same pursuits… 

Nature gifted:

  • One who will acquire a thing easily, another with difficulty… 
  • One who has a body which is a good servant to his mind… 
  • A little learning will lead the one to discover a great deal while the other after much study and application no sooner learns than he forgets… 

Licentiousness becomes unholy thing and is thus forbidden.

  • True, I said; and this, Glaucon, like all the rest, must proceed after an orderly fashion; in a city of the blessed, licentiousness is an unholy thing which the rulers will forbid.

Rulers will have to practice upon the body corporate with medicines… 

The principle of marriage:

  • The best of either sex should be united with the best as often and the inferior with the inferior as seldom as possible… 
  • And the same law will apply to any one of those within the prescribed age who forms a connection with any woman in the prime of life without the sanction of the rulers; for we shall say that he is raising up a bastard to the State, uncertified and unconsecrated.

What is the chief aim of the legislator in making laws and in the organization of a state…?

What is the greatest good and greatest evil to the State?

  • Bond of unity (harmony)/unity of feeling… There is unity where there is community of pleasures and pains… 
  • Discord/distraction/plurality… where there is no common but private feeling… 

Fundamental principle(s) of the State:

  1. Where citizens are glad or grieved on the same occasions of joy and sorrow, and citizens are foster-fathers and rulers are fellow-guardians… 
  2. Protection of the person a matter of necessity… 
  3. Elders assigned the duty of ruling and chastising the younger (gerontology)… 
  4. The community of wives and children as the greatest good to the State… 
  5. Inculcating two other guardiansshame and fear… 
  6. Both community of property and community of families as the greatest good to the State
    • At the same time I ought here to repeat what I have said elsewhere, that if any of our guardians shall try to be happy in such a manner that he will cease to be a guardian, and is not content with this safe and harmonious life, which, in our judgment, is of all lives the best, but infatuated by some youthful conceit of happiness which gets up into his head shall seek to appropriate the whole state to himself, then he will have to learn how wisely Hesiod spoke, when he said, ‘half is more than the whole.’ 

Men and women are to have:

  • Common education… 
  • Common children… 
  • Common property… 
  • And preserve the natural relation of the sexes… 

To make children spectators of war on safer expeditions… 

On patriotism – difference between discord and war… 

The right hand of fellowship… cowards skulk about the dead pretending they are fulfilling a duty… 

No slavery among the Hellenic States… 

Second wave – administration of women and children… 

Third wave – the possibility of the ideal state…. An actual State will not in every respect coincide with the ideal.

What is the fault in States which is the cause of their present maladministration…? Until philosophers are kings, and commoners’ natures are compelled to stand aside… 

Philosophers as lovers of the vison of truth… 

  • And of just and unjust, good and evil, and of every other class, the same remark holds: taken singly, each of them is one; but from the various combinations of them with actions and things and with one another, they are seen in all sorts of lights and appear many? … And this is the distinction which I draw between the sight-loving, art-loving, practical class and those of whom I am speaking, and who are alone worthy of the name of philosophers. How do you distinguish them? … The lovers of sounds and sights, are, as I conceive, fond of fine tones and colours and forms and all the artificial products that are made out of them, but their mind is incapable of seeing or loving absolute beauty. … Few are they who are able to attain to the sight of this. … And he who, having a sense of beautiful things has no sense of absolute beauty, or who, if another lead him to a knowledge of that beauty is unable to follow–of such an one I ask, Is he awake or in a dream only? Reflect: is not the dreamer, sleeping or waking, one who likens dissimilar things, who puts the copy in the place of the real object? I should certainly say that such an one was dreaming. But take the case of the other, who recognises the existence of absolute beauty and is able to distinguish the idea from the objects which participate in the idea, neither putting the objects in the place of the idea nor the idea in the place of the objects–is he a dreamer, or is he awake? He is wide awake. 

The reality of opposites/discrete realities e.g. beauty/ugly… and the multiplicity of phenomena… 

  • Further, I would have you consider that the hireling Sophist only gives back to the world their own opinions; he is the keeper of the monster, who knows how to flatter or anger him, and observes the meaning of his inarticulate grunts. Good is what pleases him, evil what he dislikes; truth and beauty are determined only by the taste of the brute. Such is the Sophist’s wisdom, and such is the condition of those who make public opinion the test of truth, whether in art or in morals. The curse is laid upon them of being and doing what it approves, and when they attempt first principles the failure is ludicrous. Think of all this and ask yourself whether the world is more likely to be a believer in the unity of the idea, or in the multiplicity of phenomena. And the world if not a believer in the idea cannot be a philosopher, and must therefore be a persecutor of philosophers. 

Mere musician – incapable of seeing or loving absolute beauty (though fond of fine tones) … 

Dreamer – one who puts objects in the place of ideas and unable to distinguish ideas from objects… has disorder of wits… 

Two things that cannot be known:

  • Absolute void… 
  • Pure Being… 

Can a void be known?

  • He who knows, knows something,
  • And something is a thing,
  • Is a void anything? No.
  • Then a void cannot be known… 

Pure Being (Knowledge correspond/relative to being…. Pure being is the subject matter of knowledge…) … 

A place intermediate (Opinion – darker than knowledge but lighter than ignorance) … 

Absolute negation of being (Non-being, ignorance of necessity to nonbeing) … 

Definition of faculties:

  • Sense/power in us…. 
  • That which has the same sphere and the same result… 

Of Not-being, ignorance is the necessary correlative… 

Opinion is neither concerned with being or non-being… 

The beautiful and the just are one…. 

By the common notion of beauty (lovers of opinion), the beautiful will in some point of view be found to be ugly… 

Philosopherslovers of truth in each thing… 

Book 6

Philosopher:

  • One who is able to grasp the eternal (not varying from generation and corruption) and unchangeable… 

Imitators of philosophers:

  • One who wander in the region of the many and variable… 

Guardian:

  • One best able to guard the laws and institutions of the State… 
  • Not wanting in the knowledge of the true being in each thing… 
  • One whose soul has a clear pattern… 
  • One able, as with a painter’s eye, to look at the absolute truth and to that original to repair… 

Nature of philosopher:

  1. Lover of true being
  2. Will never intentionally receive into their mind falsehood… which is their detestation… and they’ll love the truth… 
  3. Absorbed in the pleasures of the soul; hardly feel bodily pleasures… 
  4. The motives which make another man desirous of having and spending have no place in his character
  5. Has no secret corner of illiberality… 
  6. Has magnificence of mind and is the spectator of all time and all existence and doesn’t think much of human life… 
  7. He’s temperate, harmoniously constituted… 
  8. Has pleasure in learningmoves spontaneously towards the true being of everything… 
  9. Has a gift of good memory
  10. Perfected by years and education… 
  11. Promotes a full and perfect participation of being

He whose nature is amorous of anything cannot help loving all that belongs or is akin to the object of his affections

He whose desires are strong in one direction will have them weaker in others… they will be like a stream which has been drawn off into another channel… 

Ugliness:

  • That which tends to disproportion… 

Truth is akin to proportion and wisdom… 

Adeimantus charge on Philosophy:

  • Votaries of philosophy become strange monsters not to say utter rogues… 
  • Best of them are made useless to the world by the very study which you (Socrates) extol… 
  • If philosophy is useless to the world, then why should philosophers be kings and rulers of cities?

Allegory of the mutineering sailors (Socrates response to Adeimantus’ charge):

  • Imagine a ship (Statecraft)… 
  • Captain of the ship is taller and stronger but ignorant and a little deaf… 
  • Sailors compete to steer the ship though they’ve never learned the art of navigation… they throng about the captain… they kill and throw overboard those who are preferred to them… they chain captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug… sailors mutiny and take charge… they make free with the stores…
  • Their (sailors’) partisans they call able seamentrue pilot will be called a prater, star-gazer, a good-for-nothing…. 
  • But the true pilot/helmsman ought to pay attention to year, seasons and whatever belongs to his art if he must be qualified for the command of a ship… he must be the steerer whether people like it or not… (What is the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art?) … 
  • The true pilot/helmsman should not beg the sailors to be commanded by him… that is not the order of nature… 

The corruption of the majority is unavoidable… 

The true lover of knowledge is always striving after being… that is his nature… 

Why are the majority bad?

The corruption of the philosophic nature (philosophers who are useless but not wicked versus imitators of philosophy):

  • Virtues of the philosophic natures tend to distract… 
  • The ordinary “goods” of life (beauty, wealth, strength, rank and great connections in the State) have corrupting and distracting effects.
  • The public who are the greatest sophists, flattery of the public through private intrigues and admonitions… 
  • The necessity of popular opinion; ill-education and the overwhelming flood of popular opinion (notions of good and evil which the public general has…) … 
  • Greater necessity; the gentle force of attainder, confiscation or death/public prosecutions… 

Then were we not right in saying that even the very qualities which make a man a philosopher may, if he be ill-educated, divert him from philosophy, no less than riches and their accompaniments and the other so-called goods of life? 

Evil is a greater enemy of what is good than what is not (neutral…)

The finest natures, when under alien conditions, receive more injury than the inferior, because the contrast is greater… 

Whatever is saved and comes to good is saved by the power of God… 

Sophists:

  • Teach nothing but the opinion of the many, the opinions of their assemblies, this is their wisdom…. called honorable/dishonorable, just or unjust all in accordance with the tastes and tempers of the great brute… 
  • Good he (the sophist) he pronounces to be that in which the beast delights and evil to be that which he dislikes… 
  • Necessity of Diomede obliges one who consorts with the many and seeks to please them and make them his judge, to produce whatever they praise… 

Will the world be induced to believe in the existence of absolute beauty rather than of the many beautiful or of the absolute in each kind rather than of the many in each kind? Then the world cannot possibly be a philosopher… 

Flattery that dilates and elevates oneself in the fulness of vain pomp and senseless pride… 

Slaving for understanding/virtue… humbled and taken captive by philosophy… 

The worthy disciples of philosophy will be but a small remnant… 

Theage’s bridle… 

  • Then, Adeimantus, I said, the worthy disciples of philosophy will be but a small remnant: perchance some noble and well-educated person, detained by exile in her service, who in the absence of corrupting influences remains devoted to her; or some lofty soul born in a mean city, the politics of which he contemns and neglects; and there may be a gifted few who leave the arts, which they justly despise, and come to her;–or peradventure there are some who are restrained by our friend Theages’ bridle; for everything in the life of Theages conspired to divert him from philosophy; but ill-health kept him away from politics. My own case of the internal sign is hardly worth mentioning, for rarely, if ever, has such a monitor been given to any other man. Those who belong to this small class have tasted how sweet and blessed a possession philosophy is, and have also seen enough of the madness of the multitude; and they know that no politician is honest, nor is there any champion of justice at whose side they may fight and be saved. Such an one may be compared to a man who has fallen among wild beasts–he will not join in the wickedness of his fellows, but neither is he able singly to resist all their fierce natures, and therefore seeing that he would be of no use to the State or to his friends, and reflecting that he would have to throw away his life without doing any good either to himself or others, he holds his peace, and goes his own way. He is like one who, in the storm of dust and sleet which the driving wind hurries along, retires under the shelter of a wall; and seeing the rest of mankind full of wickedness, he is content, if only he can live his own life and be pure from evil or unrighteousness, and depart in peace and good-will, with bright hopes. 

How may the study of philosophy be so ordered as not to be the ruin of the State?

All great attempts are attended with risk; hard is the good… 

The human copy of an ideal State, heavenly image/pattern, when existing among men, Homer calls the form and likeness of God… 

A conventional imitation of philosophy, constituting of words artificially brought together… 

Neither cities nor States nor individuals will ever attain perfection until the small class of philosophers who we termed useless but not corrupt are providentially compelled, whether they like it or not, to take care of the State; and until a like necessity be laid on the State to obey them; or until kings, or if not kings, the sons of kings or princes, are divinely inspired with a true love of philosophy… The constitution of the true State will be whenever the Muse of Philosophy is queen… 

Until philosophers bear rule, State and individual will have no rest from evil… One (philosopher) is enough… 

On the dislike of over-education:

  • The harsh feeling which the many entertain towards philosophy originates in the pretender, who rush in uninvited… who make persons instead of things the theme of their conversations…

First task of guardians/philosophers:

  • Rub out the picture/the tablet and leave a clean surface (State)… 
  • Will then proceed to trace an outline of the constitution… 

How and by what studies and pursuits will the saviors of the constitution be created? And at what ages are they to apply themselves to their several duties?… 

Guardians and philosophers are to be tried by the test of pleasures and pains, and neither in hardships nor in dangers nor at any critical moment were to lose their patriotism… 

The perfect guardian must be a philosopher

Essential gifts rarely grow together; they are mostly found in shreds and patches… 

A measure of such things which in any degree falls short of the whole truth is not fair measure; for nothing imperfect is the measure of anything although persons are too apt to be contented and think that they need such no further… 

The guardian must be required to take the longer circuit and toil at learning as well as at gymnastics, or he will never reach the highest knowledge of all which, as we were just now saying, is his proper calling

Nothing short of the most finished picture should satisfy us…  

What is the highest knowledge?

  • The idea of good is the highest knowledge and that all other things become useful and advantageous only by their use of this… 

Do you think that the possession of all other things is of any value if we have no knowledge of beauty and goodness?

Those who attempt to define knowledge reproach us by ignorance of the good and then presume our knowledge of it… 

  • You are further aware that most people affirm pleasure to be the good, but the finer sort of wits say it is knowledge? Yes. And you are aware too that the latter cannot explain what they mean by knowledge, but are obliged after all to say knowledge of the good? How ridiculous! Yes, I said, that they should begin by reproaching us with our ignorance of the good, and then presume our knowledge of it–for the good they define to be knowledge of the good, just as if we understood them when they use the term ‘good’–this is of course ridiculous. Most true, he said. And those who make pleasure their good are in equal perplexity; for they are compelled to admit that there are bad pleasures as well as good.

Many are willing to do or to have or to seem to be what is just and honorable without the reality; but no one is satisfied with the appearance of good… the reality is what they seek; in the case of the good, appearance is despised by everyone… 

Human nature’s core:

  • Having a presentiment of the good, pursues and makes the end of all his actions… and yet hesitating because neither knowing the nature nor having the same assurance of this as of other things… and therefore losing whatever good there is in other things… 

What is the supreme principle of the good? (Is it knowledge or pleasure?) … (Glaucon’s question) … 

All mere opinions are bad and the best of them blind

Essence:

  • A single idea in which the term “many” is applied to… 

The many are seen but not known, and the ideas are known but not seen… 

  • Sun is not sight but the author of sight who is recognized by sight (eyes)… 
  • Light and sight may be truly said to be like the sun, and yet not to be the sun… 
  • And so, Science and Truth may be deemed to be like the good, but not the good
  • The Good may be said to be not only the author of knowledge to all things known, but of their being and essence, and yet the good is not essence, but far exceeds essence in dignity and power
  • The idea of the good, the child of the good is the similitude of the sun
  • You remember our old distinction of the many beautiful and the one beautiful, the particular and the universal, the objects of sight and the objects of thought? Did you ever consider that the objects of sight imply a faculty of sight which is the most complex and costly of our senses, requiring not only objects of sense, but also a medium, which is light; without which the sight will not distinguish between colours and all will be a blank? For light is the noble bond between the perceiving faculty and the thing perceived, and the god who gives us light is the sun, who is the eye of the day, but is not to be confounded with the eye of man. This eye of the day or sun is what I call the child of the good, standing in the same relation to the visible world as the good to the intellectual. When the sun shines the eye sees, and in the intellectual world where truth is, there is sight and light. Now that which is the sun of intelligent natures, is the idea of good, the cause of knowledge and truth, yet other and fairer than they are, and standing in the same relation to them in which the sun stands to light. O inconceivable height of beauty, which is above knowledge and above truth! (‘You cannot surely mean pleasure,’ he said. Peace, I replied.) And this idea of good, like the sun, is also the cause of growth, and the author not of knowledge only, but of being, yet greater far than either in dignity and power. ‘That is a reach of thought more than human; but, pray, go on with the image, for I suspect that there is more behind.’ There is, I said; and bearing in mind our two suns or principles, imagine further their corresponding worlds–one of the visible, the other of the intelligible; you may assist your fancy by figuring the distinction under the image of a line divided into two unequal parts, and may again subdivide each part into two lesser segments representative of the stages of knowledge in either sphere. The lower portion of the lower or visible sphere will consist of shadows and reflections, and its upper and smaller portion will contain real objects in the world of nature or of art. The sphere of the intelligible will also have two divisions,–one of mathematics, in which there is no ascent but all is descent; no inquiring into premises, but only drawing of inferences. In this division the mind works with figures and numbers, the images of which are taken not from the shadows, but from the objects, although the truth of them is seen only with the mind’s eye; and they are used as hypotheses without being analysed. Whereas in the other division reason uses the hypotheses as stages or steps in the ascent to the idea of good, to which she fastens them, and then again descends, walking firmly in the region of ideas, and of ideas only, in her ascent as well as descent, and finally resting in them. ‘I partly understand,’ he replied; ‘you mean that the ideas of science are superior to the hypothetical, metaphorical conceptions of geometry and the other arts or sciences, whichever is to be the name of them; and the latter conceptions you refuse to make subjects of pure intellect, because they have no first principle, although when resting on a first principle, they pass into the higher sphere.’ You understand me very well, I said. And now to those four divisions of knowledge you may assign four corresponding faculties–pure intelligence to the highest sphere; active intelligence to the second; to the third, faith; to the fourth, the perception of shadows–and the clearness of the several faculties will be in the same ratio as the truth of the objects to which they are related…

The soul is like eye:

  • When resting upon that on which truth and being shine, the soul perceives and understands
  • But when turned towards the twilight of becoming and perishing, then she has opinion only and goes blinking about, and is first of one opinion and then of another and seems to have no intelligence… 

The idea of good:

  • That which imparts truth to the known and the power of knowing to the knower; the cause of science and of truth in so far as the latter becomes the subject of knowledge…

         

Book 7

How far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened…

Allegory of the Cave

  • Behold an underground cave, mouth open towards lights, prisoners chained and behind them there’s a fire burning, they see their own shadows or the shadow of one another… 
  • Prison has an echo…, inmates suppose/fancy that one of the passers-by spoke, that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow… 
  • To them (prisoners), the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images
  • If prisoners are released and disabused of their error…will suffer sharp pains, the glare will distress him (prisoner)…when he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled… 
  • He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world… 
  • Degree of clarity
    • First, he will see the shadows best… 
    • Then reflections of men and other objects… 
    • Then the objects themselves… 
    • He will gaze upon the light of moon and the stars and the spangled heaven… 
    • He will see sky/stars by night better than sun and light of the sun by da…
    • Last of all he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is… 

Better to be the poor servant of a poor master… 

  • And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the den and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them? Certainly, he would. And if they were in the habit of conferring honours among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honours and glories, or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer, ‘Better to be the poor servant of a poor master,’ and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner?Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner. 

The prison-house is the world of sight

The journey up is the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world… 

In the world of knowledge, idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort… the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light (sun) in this visible world and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eyes fixed… 

Philosophers:

  • Ever hastening into the upper world… 

Types of bewilderments of the eyes/mind are of two kinds and arise from two causes:

  1. Either from coming out of the light…or…. 
  2. From going into the light… 

Can knowledge be put into a soul which (knowledge) was not there before?… 

The power and the capacity of learning exists in the soul already… 

By the movement of the whole soul, can the mind’s eye turn to light and the sight of being… 

Proper education:

  • Turning the already inherent power in the right direction so as to be accustomed and to look at the truth

The virtue of wisdom by the proper education conversion may be rendered useful and profitable or on the other hand, hurtful and useless… 

Circumcision of natures:

  • If in the days of youth, they had been severed from those sensual pleasures, such as eating and drinking, which like leaden weights, were attached to them at their birth, and which drag them down and turn the vision of their souls upon the things that are below… 
  • If they had been released from these impediments and turned in the opposite direction, the very faculty in them would have seen the truth as keenly as they see what their eyes are turned to now… 
  • Sensual pleasures as leaden weights… 

Neither the uneducated and uninformed of the truth, nor yet those who never make an end of their education will be able ministers of State.

  • The former have no single aim of duty…
  • The later except upon compulsion, already fancy that they are already dwelling apart in the island of the blest… 

Philosopher’s double dutywill take office as a stern necessity and not after the fashion of our present rulers of State

The State in which the rulers are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are most eager, the worst… 

The only life which looks down upon the life of political ambition is that of true philosophy… 

Education is not the turning over of an oyster-shell but the turning around of a soul passing from a day, which is little better than night to the true day of being…; the conversion of a soul from night to day, from becoming to being… 

Objects of sense are of two kinds:

  • Uninviting objects; Some do not invite thought (those which pass from one sensation to the opposite) because the sense is adequate judge of them… (Sight never intimates to the mind that a finger is other than a finger…). 
  • Impressions which invite the intellect; in the case of other objects sense is so untrustworthy that further inquiry is imperatively demanded… (Touch does not adequately perceive the qualities of thickness/thinness/softness/hardness; which is the beginning of enquiry, “What is great?”, “What is small?”) …. In these perplexities, the mind naturally summons to her aid calculation and intelligence… Impression which invited the intellect are those which are simultaneous with opposite impressions… 

What sort of knowledge which would draw the soul from becoming to being?

  • Useful Arts are reckoned mean by philosophers… 

Arithmetic:

  • Has a double use; 
    • Philosophical and,
    • Military….
  • Necessary for use of pure intelligence in the attainment of pure truth… 

Geometry:

  • If it compels us to view being it concerns us. If (it compels us to view) becoming only, it does not (concern us) … 
  • Ordinary geometricians confuse the necessities of geometry with those of daily life… 
  • Pure geometry aims at the knowledge of eternal and not of aught perishing and transient… 

An eye of the soul which when by other pursuits lost and dimmed, is by these purified and re-illumined; and is more precious far than ten thousand bodily eyes, for by it alone is truth seen

Philosopher has to rise out of the sea of change and lay hold of true being… 

Guardian are both warrior-athlete and philosopher… 

The science of harmony:

  • The natural harmonies of number…
  • Why some numbers are harmonies and others not… 

The hymn of dialectic:

  • The strain of the intellect only…
  • Which the faculty of sight does imitate… 
  • It is the progress by the light of reason only on the discovery of the absolute, without any assistance of sense, and perseveres until by pure intelligence he arrives at the perception of the absolute good at the end of the intellectual world…

The nature and division of dialectic:

  • Arts in general are concerned with the desires or opinions of men, or are cultivated with a view to production and construction or for the preservation of such productions and constructions… 
  • Pure mathematics and pure geometry only dream about being… 
  • Dialectic alone goes directly to the first principle… 

Dialectician:

  • One who attains a conception of the essence of each thing (runs the gauntlet of all objections) … 

Dialectic is the coping stone of the sciences… 

For the mind more often faints from the severity of study than from the severity of gymnastics… 

Youth is the time for any extraordinary toil

Comprehensive mind is always the dialectical

Guardians:

  • Make philosophy their chief pursuit, but when their turn comes, toiling also at politics and ruling for the public good, not as though they were performing some heroic action but simply as a matter of duty… 
  • Esteem above all things right and the honor that springs from right… regarding justice as the greatest and most necessary of all things… 

Book 8

On forms of State: investigation of four principal ones and their defects… 

  1. Aristocracy (the government of the best) … 
  2. Timocracy (the government of honor) … 
  3. Oligarchy (a government resting on valuation of property in which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it.) … 
  4. Democracy (the government of the lotus-eaters) … 
  5. Tyranny (the government without regard to law) … 

All political change originate in divisions of the actual governing power… 

Fertility and sterility of soul and body occur when the circumferences of the circles of each are completed… Intelligence alloyed with sense cannot attain to such knowledge… 

The Theory of Metals

  • 8000 – represents a geometrical figure which has control over the good and evil of births… 
  • When ruler will have lost the guardian power of testing the metal of different races, iron will be mingled with silver and brass and gold, hence there will arise dissimilarity and inequality and irregularity, which and in all places are cause of hatred and war
  • The iron and brass will fall to acquiring money and land and houses and gold and silver
  • But the gold and silver races, not wanting money but having the true riches in their own nature, inclined towards virtue and the ancient order of things… 

Timocratical youth:

  • Hears his mother complaining that his father is only half a man
  • He being not originally of a bad nature but having kept bad company, is at last brought by their joint influence to a middle point.
  • Gives up the kingdom which is within him to the middle principle of contentiousness and passion

Oligarchy and the oligarchical youth:

  • The accumulation of gold in the treasury of private individuals is he ruin of timocracy
  • A great mass of citizens become lovers of money… 
  • The more they think of making a fortune, the less they think of virtue… 
  • The existence of such persons is to be attributed to want of educationill-training, and an evil constitution of the State… 
  • Of all changes, there is none so speed or so sure as the conversion of the ambitious youth into the avaricious one… 
  • That the good of such a State (Oligarchy) aims is to become as rich as possible, a desire which is insatiable… 
  • For as the government is, such will be the man. There can be no doubt that the love of wealth and the spirit of moderation cannot exist together in citizens of the same State to any considerable extent; one or the other will be disregarded… 
  • They themselves (oligarchs) are only for making money, and are as indifferent as the pauper to the cultivation of virtue… 

Democracy and the democratic youth:

  • Democracy comes into being after the poor have conquered their opponents, slaughtering some and banishing some, while to the remainder they give an equal share of freedom and power… 
  • In this kind of State there will be the greatest variety of human natures… 
  • It (the State) will be dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike…
  • The forgiving spirit of democracy, and the “don’t care” about trifles… 
  • Except in the case of some rarely gifted nature, there never will be a good man who has not from his childhood been used to play amid things of beauty and make them a joy and a study… 
  • Pleasures:
    • Necessary pleasures– Those which we cannot get rid, and of which the satisfaction is a benefit to us/ we are framed by nature to pursue them… 
    • Unnecessary pleasures– Satisfaction of desires that do us no good or the reverse of goo. Gratification of these desires is hurtful to the body and to the soul in the pursuit of wisdom and virtue… 
  • Drone – a slave of unnecessary pleasures… 
  • And so, the young man passes out of his original nature, which was trained in the school of necessity, into the freedom and libertinism of useless and unnecessary pleasures
  • If anyone says to him (democratic youth) that some pleasures are the satisfactions of good and noble desires, and others of evil desires, and that he ought to use and honor some and chastise and master the others…whenever this is repeated to him, he shakes his head and says that they are all alike and that one is as good as another… 
  • He lives from day to day indulging the appetite of the hour… 
  • His life has neither law nor order; and this distracted existence he terms joy and bliss and freedom; and so, he goes on… 
  • The insatiable desire of wealth and the neglect of all other things for the sake of money-getting was also the ruin of oligarchy… 
  • Democracy has her own good, of which the insatiable desire brings her to dissolution…. 
  • The insatiable desire of this (freedom) and the neglect of other things introduces the change in democracy, which occasions a demand for tyranny… 
    • When a democracy which is thirsting for freedom has evil cup-bearers presiding over the feast, and has drunk too deeply of the strong wine of freedom, then, unless her rulers are very amenable and give a plentiful draught, she calls them to account and punishes them, and says that they are cursed oligarchs. 

Tyranny and the tyrannical man:

  • Loyal citizens are insultingly termed by her (tyrannical man) slaves who hug their chains… 
  • The ruin of oligarchy is the ruin of democracy, the same disease magnified and intensified by liberty overmasters democracy… 
  • The truth being that the excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction; and this is the cause not only in the seasons and in vegetable and animal life, but above all in form of governments… 
  • The excess liberty, whether in States or individuals seems only to pass into excess of slavery… 
  • The class of idle spendthrifts… 
  • Freedom creates more drones in the democratic that there are in the oligarchical State…
  • Let us imagine democracy to be divided, as indeed it is, into three classes, drones, the wealthy and workers… 
  • This and no other is the root from which tyrant springs; when he first appears above ground he is a protector… 
    • The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. Yes, that is their way. This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears above ground he is a protector. 
  • Tyrant as man become a wolf… always stirring up some war or other always getting up a war in order that people may require him… 
    • How then does a protector begin to change into a tyrant? Clearly when he does what the man is said to do in the tale of the Arcadian temple of Lycaean Zeus. What tale? The tale is that he who has tasted the entrails of a single human victim minced up with the entrails of other victims is destined to become a wolf. 
  • The famous request for a body-guard… 
    • Then comes the famous request for a body-guard, which is the device of all those who have got thus far in their tyrannical career–‘Let not the people’s friend,’ as they say, ‘be lost to them.’ 
  • The people who would escape the smoke which is the slavery of freemen, has fallen into the fire which is the tyranny of slaves… Thus, liberty getting out of all order and reason, passes into the harshest and bitterest form of slavery… 
  • But when he has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader. … Has he not also another object, which is that they may be impoverished by payment of taxes, and thus compelled to devote themselves to their daily wants and therefore less likely to conspire against him? … And if any of them are suspected by him of having notions of freedom, and of resistance to his authority, he will have a good pretext for destroying them by placing them at the mercy of the enemy; and for all these reasons the tyrant must be always getting up a war
  • Dire magicians and tyrant-makers contrive to implant in him (tyrannical youth) a master passion, to be lord over his idle and spendthrift lusts… a sort of monstrous winged-drone… 
    • Then you must further imagine the same thing to happen to the son which has already happened to the father: –he is drawn into a perfectly lawless life, which by his seducers is termed perfect liberty; and his father and friends take part with his moderate desires, and the opposite party assist the opposite ones. As soon as these dire magicians and tyrant-makers find that they are losing their hold on him, they contrive to implant in him a master passion, to be lord over his idle and spendthrift lusts–a sort of monstrous winged drone–that is the only image which will adequately describe him. 

Book 9

The nature and the number of appetites

Certain of the unnecessary pleasures and appetites I conceive to be lawfulevery one appears to have them in some persons they are controlled by the laws and by reason, and the better desires prevail over them, either they are wholly banished or they become few and weak; while in the case of others they are stronger, and there are more of them… 

But when a man’s pulse is healthy and temperate, and when before going to sleep he has awakened his rational powers, and fed them on noble thoughts and enquiries, collecting himself in meditation; after having first indulged his appetites neither too much nor too little but just enough to lay them to sleep, and prevent them and their enjoyments and pains from interfering with the higher principle… which he leaves in the solitude of pure abstraction, free to contemplate and aspire to the knowledge of the unknown; whether in past, present, or future; when again he has allayed the passionate element, if he has a quarrel against any one—I say, when, after pacifying the two irrational principles, he rouses up the mind, which is reason, before he takes his rest, then, as you know, he attains truth most nearly, and is least likely to be the sport of fantastic and lawless visions

In all of us, even in good men, there is a lawless wild-beast nature, which peers out in sleep… 

The tyrannical man in the true sense of the word comes into being when either under the influence of nature, or habit, or both, he becomes drunken, lustful, passionate

Every day and every night desires grow up many and formidable, and their demands are many… 

Tyrants never tastes of the freedom or friendship… the character of the worst man, he is the waking reality of what we dreamed

  • Will there not be a little freedom and a great deal of slavery? And the freedom is of the bad, and the slavery of the good; and this applies to the man as well as to the State; for his soul is full of meanness and slavery, and the better part is enslaved to the worse. He cannot do what he would, and his mind is full of confusion; he is the very reverse of a freeman.

The relative happiness and misery of each nature… who is first in the scale of happiness?… 

The State which is under a tyrant is utterly incapable of acting voluntarily… and the soul which is under a tyrant is least capable of doing what she desires… there is a gadfly which goads her, and she is full of trouble and remorse… (For an analogy) imagine one of these rich owners of slaves carried off by a god into wilderness… 

  • The tyrannical man who has the misfortune also to become a public tyrant. ‘There I suspect that you are right.’ Say rather, ‘I am sure;’ conjecture is out of place in an enquiry of this nature. He is like a wealthy owner of slaves, only he has more of them than any private individual. You will say, ‘The owners of slaves are not generally in any fear of them.’ But why? Because the whole city is in a league which protects the individual. Suppose however that one of these owners and his household is carried off by a god into a wilderness, where there are no freemen to help him–will he not be in an agony of terror? –will he not be compelled to flatter his slaves and to promise them many things sore against his will? And suppose the same god who carried him off were to surround him with neighbours who declare that no man ought to have slaves, and that the owners of them should be punished with death. ‘Still worse and worse! He will be in the midst of his enemies.’ And is not our tyrant such a captive soul, who is tormented by a swarm of passions which he cannot indulge; living indoors always like a woman, and jealous of those who can go out and see the world? 

He who is the real tyrant, whatever men may think, is the real slave, and is obliged to practice the greatest adulation and servility, and to be the flatterer of the vilest of mankind… all his life long he is beset with fear and is full of convulsions and distractions… he grows worse from having power… 

  • Having so many evils, will not the most miserable of men be still more miserable in a public station? Master of others when he is not master of himself; like a sick man who is compelled to be an athlete; the meanest of slaves and the most abject of flatterers; wanting all things, and never able to satisfy his desires; always in fear and distraction, like the State of which he is the representative. His jealous, hateful, faithless temper grows worse with command; he is more and more faithless, envious, unrighteous, –the most wretched of men, a misery to himself and to others. And so let us have a final trial and proclamation; need we hire a herald, or shall I proclaim the result? ‘Made the proclamation yourself.’ The son of Ariston (the best) is of opinion that the best and justest of men is also the happiest, and that this is he who is the most royal master of himself; and that the unjust man is he who is the greatest tyrant of himself and of his State. And I add further–‘seen or unseen by gods or men.’ 

The scale of happiness (must judge them – people – by the criterion of virtue and vice, happiness and misery):

  • The Royal… (highest, best, truest, pure, pleasantest, genuine)
  • The Timocratical… 
  • The Oligarchical… 
  • The Democratic… 
  • The Tyrannical… (lowest, worst, false, a shadow, spurious)

Three principles in the soul, to these three pleasures correspond; also, three desires and governing powers…

Of the three individuals (classes of people above), which has the greatest experience of all the pleasures which we enumerated?

And are we to suppose, that the philosopher sets any value on other pleasures in comparison with the pleasures of knowing the truth, and in that pursuit abiding, ever learning, not so far indeed from the heaven of pleasure? Does he not call the other pleasures necessary, under the idea that if there were no necessity for them, he would rather not have them?

The philosopher has greatly the advantage; for he has of necessity always known the taste of the other pleasures from his childhood upwards; but the lover of gain in all his experience has not of necessity tasted—or, I should rather say, even had he desired, could hardly have tasted— the sweetness of learning and knowing truth.

Then the lover of wisdom has a great advantage over the lover of gain, for he has a double experience… 

All three are honoured in proportion as they attain their object; for the rich man and the brave man and the wise man alike have their crowd of admirers, and as they all receive honour they all have experience of the pleasures of honourbut the delight which is to be found in the knowledge of true being is known to the philosopher only… 

The very faculty which is the instrument of judgement is not possessed by the covetous or ambitious man, but only by the philosopher…. Reasoning is peculiarly his instrument… Reason is the criterion not wealth or gain… But since experience and wisdom and reason are the judges… pleasures which are approved by the lover of wisdom and reason are the truest.

A sage whispers in my ears that no pleasure except that of the wise is quite true and pure… all others are a shadow only

PleasureNeutral statePain

Both pleasure and pain are motions of the soul

Innocent pleasures that have no antecedent pains… e.g. the pleasures of smells… 

Let us not be induced to believe that pure pleasure is the cessation of pain, or pain cessation of pleasure

More numerous and violent pleasures which reach the soul through the body are generally of this sort— they are reliefs of pain… 

Then can you wonder that people who are inexperienced in truth, as they have wrong ideas about many other things, should also have wrong ideas about pleasure and pain and the intermediate state; so that when they are only being drawn towards the painful they feel pain and think the pain which they experience to be real, and in the like manner, when drawn from pain to neutral or intermediate state, they firmly believe that they have the goal of satiety and pleasure; they, not knowing pleasure, err in contrasting pain with the absences of pain, which is like contrasting black with grey instead of white… 

Hunger, thirst, and the like, are inanitions of the bodily state… Ignorance and folly are inanitions of the soul… Food and wisdom are the corresponding satisfactions of either… 

And is the satisfaction derived from that which has less or from that which has more existence the truer? 

Which has a more pure being— that which is concerned with the invariable, the immortal, and the true, and is such a nature, and is found in such natures; or that which is concerned with and found in the variable and mortal, and is itself variable and mortal?

The essence of the invariable partake of knowledge in the same degree as of essence… 

That which has less of truth will also have less of essence… 

Then in general, those kinds of things which are in the service of the body have less of truth and essence than those which are in the services of the soul… 

The body itself has less of truth and essence than the soul… What is filled with more real existence, and actually has a more real existence, is more filled than that which is filled with less real existence and is less real… that which is more filled with more real being will more really and truly enjoy true pleasures; whereas that which participates in less real being will be less truly and surely satisfied, and will participate in an illusory and less real pleasure… 

Then those who know not wisdom and virtue, and are always busy with gluttony and sensuality, go down and up again as far as the mean; and in this region they move at random throughout life, but they never pass into the true upper world; thither they neither look, nor do they ever find their way, neither are they truly filled with true being, nor do they taste of pure and abiding pleasure. Like cattle, with their eyes always looking down and their heads stooping to the earth, that is, their dining-table, they fatten and feed and breed, and, in their excessive love of these delights, they kick and butt at one another with horns and hoofs which are made of iron; and they kill one another by reason of their insatiable lust. For they fill themselves with that which is not substantial, and the part of themselves which they fill is also unsubstantial and incontinent… 

Their pleasures are mixed with pains… are mere shadows and pictures of the true, and are coloured by contrast, which exaggerates both light and shade, and so they implant in the minds of fools insane desires of themselves; and they are fought about as Stesichorus says that Greeks fought about the shadow of Helen at Troy in ignorance of the truth… 

Then may we confidently assert that the lovers of money and honour, when they seek their pleasures under the guidance and in company of reason and knowledge, and pursue after and with the pleasures which wisdom shows them, will also have the truest pleasures in the highest degree which is attainable to them, inasmuch as they follow truth; and they will have the pleasures which are natural to them, if that which is best for each one is also the most natural to him… 

When the whole soul follows the philosophical principle, and there is no division, the several parts are just, and do each of them their own business, and enjoy severally the best and truest pleasures of which they are capable… And greater the interval which separates them from philosophy and reason, the more strange and illusive will be the pleasure… the farthest from reason will be that which is at the greatest distance from law and order… 

There appears to be three pleasures, one genuine and two spurious… 

  • There appear to be three pleasures, one genuine and two spurious: now the transgression of the tyrant reaches a point beyond the spurious; he has run away from the region of law and reason, and taken up his abode with certain slave pleasures which are his satellites, and the measure of his inferiority can only be expressed in a figure. 

The tyrant is removed from true pleasure by the space of a number which is three times three… Or if a person begins at the other end and measures the interval by which the king is parted from the tyrant in truth of pleasure, he will find him, when the multiplication is completed, living 729 times more pleasantly, and the tyrant more painfully by this same interval… 

Noble:

  • That which subjects the beast to man, or rather to the god in man. 

Ignoble:

  • That which subjects the man to the beast… 

Then how would a man profit if he received gold and silver on the condition that he was to enslave the noblest part of him to the worst? Who can imagine that a man who sold his son or daughter to slavery for money, especially if he sold them into the hands of fierce and evil men, would he be the gainer, however large might be the sum which he received?

Eriphyle error:

  • Eriphyle took the necklace as the price of husband’s life, but she is taking a bribe in order to compass a worse ruin… 

And why are mean employments and manual arts a reproach? Only because they imply a natural weakness of the higher principle; the individual is unable to control the creatures within him, but has to court them, and his great study is how to flatter them.

The purpose of law

  • Everyone had better be ruled by divine wisdom dwelling within him; or if this be impossible, then by an external authority, in order that we may be all, as far as possible, under the same government, friends and equals… 
  • And this is clearly seen to be the intention of the law, which is the ally of the whole city; and is seen also in the authority which we exercise over children, and the refusal to let them be free until we have established in them a principle analogous to the constitution of a state, and by cultivation of this higher element have set up in their hearts a guardian and ruler like our own, and when this is done they may go their ways… 

From what point of view, then, and on what ground can we say that a man is profited by injustice or intemperance or other baseness, which will make him a worse man, even though he acquires money or power by his wickedness?

What shall he profit, if his injustice be undetected and unpunished? He who is undetected only gets worse, whereas he who is detected and punished has the brutal part of his nature silenced and humanized; the gentler element in him is liberated, and his whole soul is perfected and ennobled by the acquirement of justice and temperance and wisdom, more than the body ever is by receiving gifts of beauty, strength and health, in proportion as the soul is more honourable than the body.

To this nobler purpose the man of understanding will devote the energies of his life thus: 

  • He will honour studies which impress these qualities on his soul and disregard the others….
  • He will regulate his bodily habits and training, and so far will he be from yielding to brutal and irrational pleasures, that he will regard even health as quite a secondary matterhis first object will be not that he may be fair or strong or well, unless he is likely thereby to gain temperance, but he will always desire to attemper the body as to preserve the harmony of the soul….
  • And in the acquisition of wealth there is a principle of order and harmony which he will also observe… He will not allow himself to be dazzled by the foolish applause of the world, and heap up riches to his own infinite harm
  • He will look at the city within him, and take heed that no disorder occur in it, such as might arise either from superfluity or from want; and upon this principle he will regulate his property and gain or spend according to his means.
  • For the same reason, he will gladly accept and enjoy such honours as he deems likely to make him a better man; but those, whether private or public, which are likely to disorder his life, he will avoid… 
  • He will be a statesman, perhaps not in the land of his birth, but in the city which is his ownIn heaven…there is a laid up pattern of it, methinks, which he who desires may behold, and beholding, may set his own house in order. But whether such an one exists, or ever will exist in fact, is no matter; for he will live after the manner of that city, having nothing to do with any other…

BOOK 10

Book 10

The rule about poetry…the rejection of imitative poetry, which certainly ought not to be received… 

All poetical imitations are ruinous to the understanding of the hearers… 

A man is not to be reverenced more than the truth… 

There’s one idea of a bed (no artificer makes the ideas themselves) …

Here are three beds:

  • One existing in nature… 
  • Another which is the work of the carpenter… 
  • And the work of the painter… 

You may look at a bed from different points of view, obliquely or directly or from any point of view, and the bed will appear different, but there is no difference in reality… 

Then the imitator is a long way off the truth, and can do all things because he lightly touches on a small part of them, and that part an image… For example: A painter will paint a cobbler, carpenter, or any other artist, though he knows nothing of their arts; and, if he is a good artist, he may deceive children or simple persons, when he shows them his picture of a carpenter from a distance, and they will fancy that they are looking at a real carpenter… 

And whenever anyone informs us that he has found a man who knows all the arts, and all things else that anybody knows, and every single thing with a higher degree of accuracy than any other man—whoever tells us this, I think that we can only imagine him to be a simple creature who is likely to have been deceived by some wizard or actor whom he met, and whom he thought all-knowing, because he himself was unable to analyze the nature of knowledge and ignorance and imitation… 

For the good poet cannot compose well unless he knows his subject, and that he who has not this knowledge can never be a poet, we ought to consider whether here also there may not be a similar illusion… 

Imitations are thrice removed from the truth, and could easily be made without any knowledge of the truth, because they are appearances only and not realities… 

Now do you suppose that if a person were able to make the original as well as the image, he would seriously devote himself to the image-making branch? Would he allow imitation to be the ruling principle of his life, as if he had nothing higher in him?

The real artist, who knew what he was imitating, would be interested in realities and not in imitations; and would desire to leave as memorials of himself works many and fair; and, instead of being the author of encomiums, he would prefer to be the theme of them

The poet with his words and phrases may be said to lay on the colours of several arts, himself understanding their nature only enough to imitate them; and other people, who are ignorant as he is, and judge only from his words, imagine that if he speaks of cobbling, or of military tactics, or of anything else, in metre and harmony and rhythm, he speaks very well—such is the sweet influence which melody and rhythm by nature have… 

There are three arts which are concerned with all things:

  1. One which uses… 
  2. Another which makes… 
  3. A third which imitates them… 

The excellence or beauty or truth of every structure, animate or inanimate, and of every action of man, is relative to the use for which nature or the artist has intended them… 

The imitative artist will be in a brilliant state of intelligence about his own creations… 

And still he will go on imitating without knowing what makes a thing good or bad, and may be expected therefore to imitate only that which appears to be good to the ignorant multitude

The art of measuring and numbering and weighing come to the rescue of the human understanding… the work of the calculating and rational principle in the soul… 

The better part of the soul is likely to be that which trusts to measure and calculation… then the part of the soul which has an opinion contrary to measure is not the same with that which has an opinion in accordance with measure… 

The imitative art is an inferior who marries an inferior, and has inferior offspring… 

The law say that to be patient under suffering is best, and that we should not give way to impatience, as there is no knowing whether such things are good or evil; and nothing is gained by impatience; also, because no human thing is of serious importance, and grief stands in the way of that which at the moment is most required (that we should take counsel about what has happened, and when the dice have been thrown down order our affairs in the way which reason deems best; not, like children who have had a fall, keeping hold of the part struck and wasting time setting up a howl, but always accustoming the soul forthwith to apply a remedy, raising up that which is sickly and fallen, banishing the cry of sorrow by the healing art… that is the true way of meeting the attacks of fortune

The other principle, which inclines us to recollection of our troubles and to lamentation, and can never have enough of them, we may call irrational, useless, and cowardly

The rebellious principle furnish a great variety of materials for imitation… 

Whereas the wise and calm temperament, being always nearly equable, is not easy to imitate or appreciate when imitated, especially at a public festival when a promiscuous crowd is assembled in a theatre. For the feeling represented is one to which they are strangers

Then the imitative poet who aims at the being popular is not by nature made, nor is his art intended, to please or to affect the rational principle in the soul; but he will prefer the passionate and fitful temper, which is easily imitated… 

And now we may fairly take him and place him by the side of the painter, for he is like him in two ways: first, inasmuch as his creations have an inferior degree of truth—in this, I say, he is like him; and he is also like him in being concerned with an inferior part of the soul; and therefore we shall be right in refusing to admit him into a well-ordered State, because he awakens and nourishes and strengthens the feelings and impairs the reasonAs in a city when the evil are permitted to have authority and the good are put out of the way, so in the soul of man, as we maintain, the imitative poet implants an evil constitution, for he indulges the irrational nature which has no discernment of greater and less, but thinks the same thing at one time great and at another small—he is a manufacturer of images and is very far removed from the truth.

The heaviest account in our accusation against poetry (imitations):

  • The power which poetry has of harming even the good (and there are very few who are not harmed), is surely an awful thing… 

Few persons ever reflect, as I should imagine, that from the evil of other men something of evil is communicated to themselves… And so the feeling of sorrow which has gathered strength at the sight of the misfortunes of others is with difficulty repressed in our own… and having stimulated the risible faculty at the theatre, you are betrayed unconsciously to yourself into playing the comic poet at home… 

But we must remain firm in our conviction that hymns to the gods and praises of famous men are the only poetry which ought to be admitted into our State. For if you go beyond this and allow the honeyed muse to enter, either in epic or lyric verse, not law and the reason of mankind, which by common consent have ever been deemed best, but pleasure and pain will be the rulers in our State… 

There is an ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry. Notwithstanding this, let us assure our sweet friend and the sister arts of imitation, that if she will only prove her title to exist in a well-ordered State we shall be delighted to receive her—we are very conscious of her charms; but we may not on that account betray the truth… let them show not only that she is pleasant but also useful to States and to human life, and we will listen in a kindly spirit; for if this can be proved we shall be the gainers—I mean, if there is a use in poetry as well as a delight… 

If her defence fails, then, my dear friend, like other persons who are enamoured of something, but put a restraint upon themselves when they think their desires are opposed to their interests, so too must we after the manner of lovers give her up, though not without a struggle. We too are inspired by that love of poetry which the education of noble State has implanted in us, and therefore we would have her appear at her best and truest; but so long as she is unable to make good her defence, this argument of ours shall be a charm to us, which we will repeat to ourselves while we listen to her strains; that we may not fall away into the childish love of her which captivates the many. At all events we are well aware that poetry being such as we have described is not to be regarded seriously as attaining to the truth; and he who listens to her, fearing for the safety of the city which is within him, should be on his guard against her seductions and make our words his law… 

The soul of man is immortal and imperishable… 

Evil:

  • The corrupting and destroying element… 

Good:

  • The saving and improving element… 

Everything has a good and also an evil… in everything, or in almost everything, there is an inherent evil and disease… The vice and evil which is inherent in each is the destruction of each

Evil which destroys the soulunrighteousnessintemperancecowardiceignorance… 

The evil of the body is a disease which wastes and reduces and annihilates the body, and all the things of which we were just now speaking come to annihilation through their own corruption attaching to them and inhering in them and so destroying them… 

It is unreasonable to suppose that anything can perish from without through affection of external evil which could not be destroyed from within by a corruption of its own… but that the body, being one thing, can be destroyed by the badness of food, which is another, and which does not engender any natural infection, this we shall absolutely deny

And on the same principle, unless some bodily evil can produce an evil of the soul, we must not suppose that the soul, which is one thing, can be dissolved by any merely external evil which belongs to another… 

No one can prove that the souls of men become more unjust in consequence of death… 

Her (soul) immortality is demonstrated by the previous argument, and there are many other proofs; but to see her as she really is, not as we now behold her, marred by communion with the body and other miseries, you must contemplate her with the eye of reason, in her original purity; and then her beauty will be revealed, and justice and injustice and all things which we have described will be manifested more clearly… but we must remember also that we have seen her (soul) only in a condition which maybe compared to the sea-god Glaucus, whose original image can hardly be discerned because his natural members are broken off and crushed and damaged by the waves in all sorts of ways… And the soul which we behold is in a similar condition, disfigured by ten thousand ills… 

We must look at her (soul) through her love for wisdom… Let us see whom she affects, and what society and converse she seeks in virtue of her near kindred with the immortal and eternal and divine; also how different she would become if wholly following this superior principle, and borne by a divine impulse out of the ocean in which she now is, and disengaged from the stones and shells and things of earth and rock which in wild variety spring up around her because she feeds upon earth, and is overgrown by the good things of this life as they are termed: then you would see her as she is, and know whether she have one shape only or many, or what her nature is… 

Let a man do what is just, whether he have the ring of Gyges or not, and even if in addition to the ring of Gyges he put on the helmet of Hades… 

Then, as the cause is decided, I demand on behalf of justice that the estimation in which she is held by gods and men and which we acknowledge to be her due should now be restored to her by us; since she has been shown to confer reality, and not to deceive those who truly possess her, let what has been taken from her be given back, that so she may win the palm of appearance which is hers also, and which she gives to her own… 

The nature of both the just and unjust is truly known to the gods… and if they are both known to them, one must be the friend and the other the enemy of the gods… and the friend of the gods may be supposed to receive from them all things at their best, excepting only such evil as is the necessary consequence of former sins… 

Then this must be our notion of the just man, that even when he is in poverty or sickness, or any other seeming misfortune, all things will in the end work together for good to him in life and death: for the gods have a care of anyone whose desire it to become just and to be like God, as far as man can attain the divine likeness, by the pursuit of virtue

Look at things as they really are, and you will see that the clever unjust are in the case of runners, who run well from the starting-point to the goal but not back again from the goal: they go off at a great pace, but in the end only look foolish, slinking away with their ears draggling on their shoulders, and without a crown; but the true runner comes to finish and receives the prize and is crowned. And this is the way with the just; he who endures to the end of every action and occasion of his entire life has a good report and carries off the prize which men have to bestow

… the eight together form one harmony… 

Virtue is free, and as a man honours or dishonours her he will have more or less of her; the responsibility is with the chooser—God is justified… 

Let each one of us leave every kind of knowledge and seek and follow one thing only, if peradventure he may be able to learn and discern between good and evil, and so to choose always and everywhere the better life as he has opportunity

He should consider the bearing of all these things which have been mentioned severally and collectively upon virtue; he should know what the effect of beauty is when combined with poverty or wealth in a particular soul, and what are the good and evil consequences of noble and humble birth, of private and public station, of strength and weakness, of cleverness and dullness, and of all the natural and acquired gifts of the soul, and the operation of them when conjoined; he will then look at the nature of the soul, and from the consideration of all these qualities he will be able to determine which is the better and which is the worse; and so he will choose, giving the name of evil to the life which will make his soul more unjust, and good to the life which will make his soul more just; all else he will disregard.

The way of happiness:

  • A man must take with him into the world below an adamantine faith in truth and right, that there too he may be undazzled by the desire of wealth or the other allurements of evil, lest, coming upon tyrannies and similar villainies, he do irremediable wrongs to others and suffer yet worse himself;
  • But let him choose the mean and avoid the extremes on either side, as far as possible, not only in life but in all that which is to come. For this is the way of happiness

For if a man had always on his arrival in this world dedicated himself from the first to the sound of philosophy, and had been moderately fortunate in the number of the lot, he might, as the messenger reported, be happy here, and also in his journey to another life and return to this, instead of being rough and underground, would be smooth and heavenly

The choice of souls was in most cases based on their experience of a previous life… 

Wherefore my counsel is, that we hold fast ever to the heavenly way and follow after justice and virtue always, considering that the soul is immortal and able to endure every sort of good and every sort of evil… 

Thus shall we live dear to one another and to the gods, both while remaining here and when, like conquerors in the games who go round to gather gifts, we receive our reward. And it shall be well with us both in this life and in the pilgrimage of a thousand years which we have been describing.

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