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[903a] cares not at all for the small things which are the easier to care for—like one who shirks the labor because he is idle and cowardly,—but only for the great.

By no means let us accept such an opinion of the gods, Stranger: that would be to adopt a view that is neither pious nor true at all.

And now, as I think, we have argued quite sufficiently with him who loves to censure the gods for neglect.


And it was by forcing him by our arguments to acknowledge [903b] that what he says is wrong. But still he needs also, as it seems to me, some words of counsel to act as a charm upon him.

What kind of words, my good sir?

Let us persuade the young man by our discourse that all things are ordered systematically by Him who cares for the World—all with a view to the preservation and excellence of the Whole, whereof also each part, so far as it can, does and suffers what is proper to it. To each of these parts, down to the smallest fraction, rulers of their action and passion are appointed to bring about fulfillment even to the uttermost [903c] fraction; whereof thy portion also, O perverse man, is one, and tends therefore always in its striving towards the All, tiny though it be. But thou failest to perceive that all partial generation is for the sake of the Whole, in order that for the life of the World-all blissful existence may be secured,—it not being generated for thy sake, but thou for its sake. For every physician and every trained craftsman works always for the sake of a Whole, and strives after what is best in general, and he produces a part for the sake of a whole, and not a whole for the sake of a part; [903d] but thou art vexed, because thou knowest not how what is best in thy case for the All turns out best for thyself also, in accordance with the power of your common origin. And inasmuch as soul, being conjoined now with one body, now with another, is always undergoing all kinds of changes either of itself or owing to another soul, there is left for the draughts-player no further task,—save only to shift the character that grows better to a superior place, and the worse to a worse, according to what best suits each of them, so that to each may be allotted its appropriate destiny. [903e]

In what way do you mean?

The way I am describing is, I believe, that in which supervision of all things is most easy for the gods. For if one were to shape all things, without a constant view to the Whole, by transforming them (as, for instance, fire into water), instead of merely converting one into many or many into one,

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