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[904a] then when things had shared in a first, or second, or even third generation,1 they would be countless in number in such a system of transformations; but as things are, the task before the Supervisor of the All is wondrous easy.

How do you mean?

Thus:—Since our King saw that all actions involve soul, and contain much good and much evil, and that body and soul are, when generated, indestructible but not eternal,2 as are the gods ordained by law (for if either soul or body had been destroyed, [904b] there would never have been generation of living creatures), and since He perceived that all soul that is good naturally tends always to benefit, but the bad to injure,—observing all this, He designed a location for each of the parts, wherein it might secure the victory of goodness in the Whole and the defeat of evil most completely, easily, and well. For this purpose He has designed the rule which prescribes what kind of character should be set to dwell in what kind of position and in what regions;3 but the causes of the generation of any special kind he left to the wills [904c] of each one of us men.4 For according to the trend of our desires and the nature of our souls, each one of us generally becomes of a corresponding character.

That is certainly probable.

All things that share in soul change, since they possess within themselves the cause of change, and in changing they move according to the law and order of destiny; the smaller the change of character, the less is the movement over surface in space, but when the change is great and towards great iniquity, [904d] then they move towards the deep and the so-called lower regions, regarding which—under the names of Hades and the like—men are haunted by most fearful imaginings, both when alive and when disparted from their bodies. And whenever the soul gets a specially large share of either virtue or vice, owing to the force of its own will and the influence of its intercourse growing strong, then, if it is in union with divine virtue, it becomes thereby eminently virtuous, and moves to an eminent region, being transported by a holy road to another and a better region; [904e] whereas, if the opposite is the case, it changes to the opposite the location of its life's abode.““This is the just decree of the gods who inhabit Olympus,”
Hom. Od. 19.43O thou child and stripling who thinkest thou art neglected by the gods,—the decree that as thou becomest worse, thou goest to the company of the worse souls, and as thou becomest better, to the better souls; and that, alike in life and in every shape of death, thou both doest and sufferest what it is befitting that like should do towards like.5

1 This seems to refer to three stages of the soul's incarnation; see p. 367, n. 2.

2 Cp.Plat. Tim 37c ff.

3 Cp.Plat. Tim 42b ff. where it is said that the soul of the good man returns at death to its native star, while that of the bad takes the form of a woman in its second, and that of a beast in its third incarnation.

4 Cp. Plat. Rep. 617e.

5 Cp. Plat. Laws 728b., Plat. Laws 837a.

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