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It is too early to explain how we are to contrive it: let us first make sure that we agree among ourselves as to whether or not we ought to do so.Clinias
Well, surely we ought, if we can.Athenian
Very well then; do we hold the same view about the fair and the good? Ought our wardens to know only that each of these is a plurality, or ought they also to know how and wherein they are each a unity?Clinias
It is fairly obvious that they must necessarily also discern how these are a unity. [966b] Athenian
Well then, ought they to discern it, but be unable to give a verbal demonstration of it?Clinias
Impossible! The state of mind you describe is that of a slave.Athenian
Well then, do we hold the same view about all forms of goodness, that those who are to be real wardens of the laws must really know the true nature of them, and be capable both of expounding it in word and conforming to it in deed, passing judgment on fair actions and foul according to their real character?Clinias
Certainly. [966c] Athenian
And is not one of the fairest things the doctrine about the gods, which we expounded earnestly,1—to know both that they exist, and what power they manifestly possess, so far as a man is capable of learning these matters; so that while one should pardon the mass of the citizens if they merely follow the letter of the law, one must exclude from office those who are eligible for wardenship, unless they labor to grasp all the proofs there are about the existence of gods? Such exclusion from office [966d] consists in refusing ever to choose as a Law-warden, or to number among those approved for excellence, a man who is not divine himself, nor has spent any labor over things divine.Clinias
It is certainly just, as you say, that the man who is idle or incapable in respect of this subject should be strictly debarred from the ranks of the noble.Athenian
Are we assured, then, that there are two causes, amongst those we previously discussed,2 which lead to faith in the gods?Clinias
One is our dogma about the soul,—that it is the most ancient [966e] and divine of all the things whose motion, when developed into “becoming,” provides an ever-flowing fount of “being”; and the other is our dogma concerning the ordering of the motion of the stars3 and all the other bodies under the control of reason, which has made a “cosmos” of the All. For no man that views these objects in no careless or amateurish way has ever proved so godless as not to be affected by them in a way just the opposite of that which most people expect.
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