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Once more let us address the lawgiver and say: “Be it so, O lawgiver, that for producing fear no such drug apparently has been given to men by God, nor have we devised such ourselves (for quacks I count not of our company); but does there exist a potion for inducing fearlessness and excessive and untimely confidence,—of what shall we say about this?''Clinias
Presumably, he will assert that there is one,—naming wine.Athenian
And is not this exactly the opposite of the potion described just now? For, first, it makes the person who drinks it more jovial than he was before, and the more he imbibes it, the more [649b] he becomes filled with high hopes and a sense of power, till finally, puffed up with conceit, he abounds in every kind of licence of speech and action and every kind of audacity, without a scruple as to what he says or what he does. Everyone, I imagine, would agree that this is so.Clinias
Let us recall our previous statement that we must cultivate in our souls two things—namely, [649c] the greatest possible confidence, and its opposite, the greatest possible fear.Clinias
Which you called, I think, the marks of modesty.Athenian
Your memory serves you well. Since courage and fearlessness ought to be practised amidst fears, we have to consider whether the opposite quality ought to be cultivated amidst conditions of the opposite kind.Clinias
It certainly seems probable.Athenian
It appears then that we ought to be placed amongst those conditions which naturally tend to make us exceptionally confident and audacious when we are practising how to be as free as possible from shamelessness [649d] and excessive audacity, and fearful of ever daring to say or suffer or do anything shameful.Clinias
So it appears.Athenian
And are not these the conditions in which we are of the character described,—anger, lust, insolence, ignorance, covetousness, and extravagance; and these also,—wealth, beauty, strength, and everything which intoxicates a man with pleasure and turns his head? And for the purpose, first, of providing a cheap and comparatively harmless test of these conditions, and, secondly, of affording practice in them, what more suitable pleasure can we mention than wine, [649e] with its playful testing—provided that it is employed at all carefully? For consider: in the case of a man whose disposition is morose and savage (whence spring numberless iniquities), is it not more dangerous to test him by entering into money transactions with him, at one's own personal risk, than by associating with him with the help of Dionysus and his festive insight?
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