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[798a] and fondness for, all this diet, lives a most healthy and pleasant life; and further, should a man be forced again to change back to one of the highly-reputed diets, how he is upset and ill at first, and recovers with difficulty as he gets used again to the food,—it is precisely the same, we must suppose, with the intellects of men and the nature of their souls. For if there exist laws under which men have been reared up and which (by the blessing of Heaven) have remained unaltered [798b] for many centuries, so that there exists no recollection or report of their ever having been different from what they now are,—then the whole soul is forbidden by reverence and fear to alter any of the things established of old. By hook or by crook, then, the lawgiver must devise a means whereby this shall be true of his State. Now here is where I discover the means desired:—Alterations in children's games are regarded by all lawgivers (as we said above1) as being mere matters of play, and not as the causes of serious mischief; [798c] hence, instead of forbidding them, they give in to them and adopt them. They fail to reflect that those children who innovate in their games grow up into men different from their fathers; and being thus different themselves, they seek a different mode of life, and having sought this, they come to desire other institutions and laws; and none of them dreads the consequent approach of that result which we described just now as the greatest of all banes [798d] to a State. The evil wrought by changes in outward forms would be of less importance; but frequent changes in matters involving moral approval and disapproval are, as I maintain, of extreme importance, and require the utmost caution.

Clinias
Most certainly.

Athenian
Well, then, do we still put our trust in those former statements of ours,2 in which we said that matters of rhythm and music generally are imitations of the manners of good [798e] or bad men? Or how do we stand?

Clinias
Our view at least remains unaltered.

Athenian
We assert, then, that every means must be employed, not only to prevent our children from desiring to copy different models in dancing or singing, but also to prevent anyone from tempting them by the inducement of pleasures of all sorts.

Clinias
Quite right.

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