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Let us adopt some such method as this. Suppose that a man were to praise the rearing of goats, and the goat itself as a fine thing to own, and suppose also that another man, who had seen goats grazing without a herd and doing damage on cultivated land, were to run them down, and find fault equally with every animal he saw that was without a master or under a bad master,—would such a man's censure, about any object whatsoever, be of the smallest value?Megillus
Certainly not. [639b] Athenian
Do we call the man who possesses only nautical science, whether or not he suffers from sea-sickness, a good commander on a ship—or what?Megillus
By no means good, if along with his skill he suffers in the way you say.Athenian
And how about the army commander? Is a man fit for command, provided that he has military science, even though he be a coward and sea-sick with a kind of tipsy terror when danger comes?Megillus
And suppose he has no military skill, besides being a coward?Megillus
You are describing an utterly worthless fellow, not a commander of men at all, but of the most womanish of women. [639c] Athenian
Now take the case of any social institution whatsoever which naturally has a commander and which, under its commander, is beneficial; and suppose that someone, who had never seen the conduct of the institution under its commander, but seen it only when with no commander or bad commanders, were to commend the institution or censure it: do we imagine that either the praise or the blame of such an observer of such an institution is of any value?Megillus
Certainly not, when the man has never seen nor shared in an institution of the kind [639d] that was properly conducted.Athenian
Now stay a moment! Shall we lay it down that, of the numerous kinds of social institutions, that of banqueters and banquetings forms one?Megillus
Now has anyone ever yet beheld this institution rightly conducted? Both of you can easily make answer—“Never yet at all,” for with you this institution is neither customary nor legal; but I have come across many modes of banqueting in many places, and I have also inquired into nearly all of them, and I have scarcely seen or heard of [639e] a single one that was in all points rightly conducted; for if any were right at all, it was only in a few details, and most of them were almost entirely on the wrong lines.Clinias
What do you mean by that, Stranger? Explain yourself more clearly; for since we are (as you observed) without any experience of such institutions,
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