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What I assert is this,—that a man ought to be in serious earnest about serious things, and not about trifles; and that the object really worthy of all serious and blessed effort is God, while man is contrived, as we said above,1 to be a plaything of God, and the best part of him is really just that; and thus I say that every man and woman ought to pass through life in accordance with this character, playing at the noblest of pastimes, being otherwise minded than they now are. [803d] Clinias
Now they imagine that serious work should be done for the sake of play; for they think that it is for the sake of peace that the serious work of war needs to be well conducted. But as a matter of fact we, it would seem, do not find in war, either as existing or likely to exist, either real play or education worthy of the name, which is what we assert to be in our eyes the most serious thing. It is the life of peace that everyone should live as much and as well as he can. What then is the right way? We should live out our lives playing [803e] at certain pastimes—sacrificing, singing and dancing—so as to be able to win Heaven's favor and to repel our foes and vanquish them in fight. By means of what kinds of song and dance both these aims may be effected,—this has been, in part, stated in outline, and the paths of procedure have been marked out, in the belief that the poet is right when he says—
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