qualities of thickness or thinness, or softness or hardness? And so of
the other senses; do they give perfect intimations of such matters? Is
not their mode of operation on this wise - the sense which is concerned
with the quality of hardness is necessari
of the brighter light, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the
dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by excess of
light. And he will count the one happy in his condition and state of
being, and he will pity the other; or, if
Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than
entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner.
Imagine once more, I said, such an one coming suddenly out of the sun to
be replaced in his old situation; would
Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him
in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in
another; and he will contemplate him as he is.
He will then proceed to argue that this is h
in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one
saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now,
when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards
more real existence, he has a clearer vision
shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of
True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were
never allowed to move their heads?
And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would
1. Cf. iv. para. 268.
2. A play upon tokos, which means both "offspring" and "interest".
And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is
enlightened or unenlightened: - Behold! human beings living in a
underground den, which ha
herself attains by the power of dialectic, using the hypotheses not as
first principles, but only as hypotheses - that is to say, as steps and
points of departure into a world which is above hypotheses, in order
that she may soar beyond them to the first
of science; these are their hypotheses, which they and everybody are
supposed to know, and therefore they do not deign to give any account of
them either to themselves or others; but they begin with them, and go on
until they arrive at last, and in a cons
And whereas the other so-called virtues of the soul seem to be akin to
bodily qualities, for even when they are not originally innate they can
be implanted later by habit and exercise, the of wisdom more than
anything else contains a divine element which
right, parent of light and of the lord of light 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 eye
When speaking of uninviting objects, I mean those which do not pass from
one sensation to the opposite; inviting objects are those which do; in
this latter case the sense coming upon the object, whether at a distance
or near, gives no more vivid idea of a
military tactics, or indeed, I should rather say, if he is to be a man
I should like to know whether you have the same notion which I have of
What is your notion?
It appears to me to be a study of the kind which we are seeking, and
What may that be?
A something which all arts and sciences and intelligences use in common,
and which every one first has to learn among the elements of education.
What is that?
The little matter of distinguishing one, two, and three
There was gymnastic which presided over the growth and decay of the
body, and may therefore be regarded as having to do with generation and
Then that is not the knowledge which we are seeking to discover?
But what do you say
said to have ascended from the world below to the gods?
By all means, he replied.
The process, I said, is not the turning over of an oyster-shell, but
the turning round of a soul passing from a day which is little better
than night to the true day of b
Yes, my friend, I said; and there lies the point. You must contrive for
your future rulers another and a better life than that of a ruler, and
then you may have a well-ordered State; for only in the State which
offers this, will they rule who are truly ri
to them that in other States, men of their class are not obliged to
share in the toils of politics: and this is reasonable, for they grow up
at their own sweet will, and the government would rather not have them.
Being self-taught, they cannot be expected
dwelling apart in the islands of the blest.
Very true, he replied.
Then, I said, the business of us who are the founders of the State will
be to compel the best minds to attain that knowledge which we have
already shown to be the greatest of all - they mu
Imagine, now, the other section, of which this is only the resemblance,
to include the animals which we see, and everything that grows or is
Would you not admit that both the sections of this division have
different degrees of truth, and
Yes, I said, and the exaggeration may be set down to you; for you made
me utter my fancies.
And pray continue to utter them; at any rate let us hear if there is
anything more to be said about the similitude of the sun.
Yes, I said, there is a great deal m
Now, that which imparts truth to the known and the power of knowing to
the knower is what I would have you term the idea of good, and this you
will deem to be the cause of science, and of truth in so far as the
latter becomes the subject of knowledge; bea
little calmer at what they have just heard?
Much calmer, if there is any sense in them.
Why, where can they still find any ground for objection? Will they doubt
that the philosopher is a lover of truth and being?
They would not be so unreasonable.
Yes, my friend, I said, and I then shrank from hazarding the bold word;
but now let me dare to say - that the perfect guardian must be a
Yes, he said, let that be affirmed.
And do not suppose that there will be many of them; for the gifts whi
Then let us suppose that the reconciliation has been effected. Will any
one deny the other point, that there may be sons of kings or princes who
are by nature philosophers?
Surely no man, he said.
And when they have come into being will any one say that t
as from a tablet, they will rub out the picture, and leave a clean
surface. This is no easy task. But whether easy or not, herein will lie
the difference between them and every other legislator, - they will
have nothing to do either with individual or Sta
For he, Adeimantus, whose mind is fixed upon true being, has surely no
time to look down upon the affairs of earth, or to be filled with malice
and envy, contending against men; his eye is ever directed towards
things fixed and immutable, which he sees ne
And now we say not only that our laws, if they could be enacted, would
be for the best, but also that the enactment of them, though difficult,
is not impossible.
And so with pain and toil we have reached the end of one subject, but
death, that this our constitution has been, and is - yea, and will be
whenever the Muse of Philosophy is queen. There is no impossibility in
all this; that there is a difficulty, we acknowledge ourselves.
My opinion agrees with yours, he said.
But do you
never yet seen, neither one nor many of them - do you think that they
No, my friend, and they have seldom, if ever, heard free and noble
sentiments; such as men utter when they are earnestly and by every means
in their power seeking a