previous next
[727a] Thus it is that in charging men to honor their own souls next after the gods who rule and the secondary divinities, I am giving a right injunction. But there is hardly a man of us all who pays honor rightly, although he fancies he does so; for honor paid to a thing divine is beneficent, whereas nothing that is maleficent confers honor; and he that thinks to magnify his soul by words or gifts or obeisances, while he is improving it no whit in goodness, fancies indeed that he is paying it honor, but in fact does not do so. Every boy, for example, as soon as he has grown to manhood, deems himself capable of learning all things, and supposes that by lauding his soul he honors it, [727b] and by eagerly permitting it to do whatsoever it pleases. But by acting thus, as we now declare, he is not honoring his soul, but injuring it; whereas, we affirm, he ought to pay honor to it next after the gods. Again, when a man counts not himself but others responsible always for his own sins and for the most and greatest evils, and exempts himself always from blame, thereby honoring, as he fancies, his own soul,—then he is far indeed from honoring it, [727c] since he is doing it injury. Again, when a man gives way to pleasures contrary to the counsel and commendation of the lawgiver, he is by no means conferring honor on his soul, but rather dishonor, by loading it with woes and remorse. Again, in the opposite case, when toils, fears, hardships and pains are commended, and a man flinches from them, instead of stoutly enduring them,—then by his flinching he confers no honor on his soul; for by all such actions he renders it dishonored. Again, when a man deems life at any price to be a good thing, [727d] then also he does not honor, but dishonor, to his soul; for he yields to the imagination of his soul that the conditions in Hades are altogether evil, instead of opposing it, by teaching and convincing his soul that, for all it knows, we may find, on the contrary, our greatest blessings in the realm of the gods below. Again, when a man honors beauty above goodness, this is nothing else than a literal and total dishonoring of the soul; for such a statement asserts that the body is more honorable than the soul,— [727e] but falsely, since nothing earth-born is more honorable than the things of heaven, and he that surmises otherwise concerning the soul knows not that in it he possesses, and neglects, a thing most admirable. Again, when a man craves to acquire wealth ignobly, or feels no qualm in so acquiring it,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: