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it seems but right we should—of the leaders : for why should we



mention of mere dabblers in philosophy? well, these men from their earliest childhood are utterly ignorant of the way into the market place, or the where-abouts of either law courts or council-chambor, or any other common place of assembly in the city. Laws and decrees, whether proposed or passed, they neither see nor hear of, and as for the rivalries of clubs in elections, feasts, and revels with minstrelsy of women, why they never think of such things even in their dreams. And whether anyone in the city is of high or low descent, or what blot there may be in his pedigree in the male or female line, he knows no more than he does how many gallons there are in the sea, as the saying is. And he is not even aware that he is ignorant of all this, for it is not from self-conceit that he keeps aloof from it, but in reality it is his body alone that dwells in the city and inhabits his home, whilst his mind, from a conviction that all these things are worthless and of no account, holds them in contempt and is borne in every direction, as Pindar has it, and scans the things beneath the earth, and the things upon her surface, and gazes at the stars above the heavens, and thoroughly searches out the nature of everything existing therein in its entirety, but stoops not to anything that is near at hand.

Theo. What do you mean by that, Socrates ?

Soc. As Thales was once gazing at the stars and looking up into the sky, he fell into a well, and was made fun of by a saucy pretty Thracian maid for being so anxious to know what was going on in heaven, when he did not heed what was before his eyes and at his feet-well every philosopher is liable to be made fun of in this same way: for in point of fact men of this description do not know what their next

door neighbour is doing, nay more, they hardly know whether he is a man or some other sort of animal.

But what Man really is, and what properties active or passive are peculiar to a nature such as his,—this he enquires into and earnestly investigates. You follow me do you not, Theodorus ?

Theo. Aye, what you say is perfectly true.

Soc. Well, my friend, when such a man as this has any dealings with another man, whether in private or public as I said when we began, as often as he is forced to argue in a law court or any other place about the things that are at his feet and before his eyes, he affords laughter, not only to Thracian girls, but also to everyone else as well—falling as he does into pitfalls and every kind of embarrasment by reason of his inexperience—and his awkwardness is marvellous and makes him look no better than a fool. For when he is reviled he is unable to make a personal retort, for he knows no harm against a single soul, inasmuch as he has never paid attention to such things, and so his embarrassment makes him

appear ludicrous. And as he laughs openly and honestly without any affectation, when he hears others boasting and uttering panegyrics on their neighbours, he gives people the impression that he is a fool. For when he hears an encomium passed on a tyrant, or king, he thinks that he hears some herdsman or other-it may be a swineherd, or shepherd, or neat-herd-called a lucky fellow for getting a good deal of milk: and in his opinion they tend and milk an animal that is a good deal harder to please and more treacherous than any that the herdsman does. And he considers that, by reason of their want of leisure, they must of necessity be no less boorish and uneducated than the herdsman is; surrounded as they

are by walls as if in a mountain pen. And whenever he hears that a man who has got ten thousand roods of land, or even more, is possessed of an enormous property, he looks upon what he hears of as a very little thing, accustomed as he is to contemplate the whole earth: and when people cant of high birth and say that a man is of noble descent if he can boast of twelve wealthy progenitors, he thinks they show a great dulness and narrowness of perception, when, in consequence of their want of education, they are unable to take a broad view, or to reflect that everyone in the world has had countless thousands of ancestors and progenitors amongst whom there have been numbers of rich men and beggars, kings and slaves, Barbarians and Greeks. And when people pique themselves on a list of twenty-five ancestors and trace their descent from Hercules the son of Amphitryon, their littleness of mind appears to him absurd, and he laughs at their inability to reflect that Amphitryon's ancestor of twenty-five generations back, who was the fiftieth from himself, was just such a man as fortune made him. Well, in all these matters, a man of this sort is ridiculed by the multitude for his apparent pride, as well as for his ignorance of what lies at his feet and his continual embarrassment.

TIE. 'Tis no uncommon character, Socrates.

Soc. But when the philosopher, my friend, draws such a one from the earth, and induces him to leave personal questions of right and wrong, and contemplate justice and injustice in the abstract, to ask what each of them is and wherein they differ from all other things and from each other, to leave such themes as the happiness and richness of a king, for enquiries into the happiness and misery of monarchy and of mankind in general, asking what they

both are and how human nature should seek the one and shun the other-whenever it becomes necessary for that little-minded, sharp, man of law to discourse on any one of these topics, we see the other side of the question : dizzied by the height at which he is suspended, gazing blankly into space from such a strange elevation, by his forlorn dismay and the jargon he utters, he becomes a laughingstock not to Thracian maids or other uneducated persons (they have no eyes to see,) but to all who have received other than a slavish education. Look on this picture and on that, Theodorus; the man who has been nurtured in real freedom and literary ease, the Philosopher, as you name him, to whom it is no discredit to appear simple and worthless when he happens to be engaged in slavish occupations if, for instance, he does not understand how to pack up bedclothes, or to spice a dish, or a fulsome compliment. The other, the man who can perform all such slavish duties with neatness and expedition, but who does not even know how to throw his cloak gracefully over his right shoulder as a gentleman should, much less to use the harmony of language to hymn the true life of gods and heroes. THEO. If you were to convince every one as you do

me, Socrates, there would be more concord and less wickedness in the world.

Soc. Yes, Theodorus; but it is not possible for wickedness to be annihilated, for there needs must always exist something opposed to goodness; neither can it remain firmly fixed in heaven, but of necessity it pervades this mortal nature and this world of ours. Wherefore we must strive to escape hence and fly thitherward as soon as may be. And this flight consists in the becoming as like to God

And to be made like to him is to become just,


as we can.

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and holy, and wise as well. But, my dear friend, it is far from easy to pers jade men that it is not for the reasons vulgarly alleged that we should flee vice and


virtue: I mean that we should strive after the one and avoid the other, that we may appear to be good and not appear to be evil. For such talk as this is, in my opinion mere old wives' fables, as the saying is. But let us state the truth thus. God is never in any wise unjust, but he is the very perfection of justice, and there is nothing more like to him than he among us who is himself become as just as possible. And it is herein that a man's real cleverness consists, as well as his real nothingness and baseness: for a knowledge of this is true wisdom and virtue, whilst a want of this knowledge is palpable ignorance and worthlessness. Other apparent acts of cleverness and wisdom when employed in public life are low, when in trade, mechanical. Accordingly, it is by far the best plan not to allow a man who is unjust and impious in word and deed to get a reputation for his wickedness, for such persons glory in their shame, and expect to be called no fools, no mere cumberers of the ground, but rather the salt of the state. If then the truth must be told they are all the more what they think they are not, because they do not think so. For they do not know the penalty which is attached to villainy, though it is the last thing of which they should be ignorant: for it does not consist as they imagine, in stripes and death, for such things are sometimes the lot of those who commit no villainy, but in that from which they are unable to escape.

THEO. What do you mean?

Soc. In this world of ours, my friend, there are two types of being, whereof the one is godlike and most blessed, the other godless and most wretched, and they not perceiv

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