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Evidently, then, you are both ready to play your part as listeners. But as for my part, though the will is there, to compass the task is hard: still, I must try. In the first place, then, our argument requires that we should define education and describe its effects: that is the path on which our present discourse must proceed until it finally arrives at the god of Wine.Clinias
By all means let us do so, since it is your wish. [643b] Athenian
Then while I am stating how education ought to be defined, you must be considering whether you are satisfied with my statement.Clinias
Proceed with your statement.Athenian
I will. What I assert is that every man who is going to be good at any pursuit must practice that special pursuit from infancy, by using all the implements of his pursuit both in his play and in his work. For example, the man who is to make a good builder [643c] must play at building toy houses, and to make a good farmer he must play at tilling land; and those who are rearing them must provide each child with toy tools modelled on real ones. Besides this, they ought to have elementary instruction in all the necessary subjects,—the carpenter, for instance, being taught in play the use of rule and measure, the soldier taught riding or some similar accomplishment. So, by means of their games, we should endeavor to turn the tastes and desires of the children in the direction of that object which forms their ultimate goal. First and foremost, [643d] education, we say, consists in that right nurture which most strongly draws the soul of the child when at play to a love for that pursuit of which, when he becomes a man, he must possess a perfect mastery. Now consider, as I said before, whether, up to this point, you are satisfied with this statement of mine.Clinias
Certainly we are.Athenian
But we must not allow our description of education to remain indefinite. For at present, when censuring or commending a man's upbringing, we describe one man [643e] as educated and another as uneducated, though the latter may often be uncommonly well educated in the trade of a pedlar or a skipper, or some other similar occupation. But we, naturally, in our present discourse are not taking the view that such things as these make up education: the education we speak of is training from childhood in goodness, which makes a man eagerly desirous of becoming a perfect citizen, understanding how both to rule and be ruled righteously. This is the special form of nurture
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