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[458a] Permit me to take a holiday, just as men of lazy minds are wont to feast themselves on their own thoughts when they walk alone.1 Such persons, without waiting to discover how their desires may be realized, dismiss that topic to save themselves the labor of deliberating about possibilities and impossibilities, assume their wish fulfilled, and proceed to work out the details in imagination, and take pleasure in portraying what they will do when it is realized, thus making still more idle a mind that is idle without that.2 I too now succumb to this weakness3 [458b] and desire to postpone4 and examine later the question of feasibility, but will at present assume that, and will, with your permission, inquire how the rulers will work out the details in practice, and try to show that nothing could be more beneficial to the state and its guardians than the effective operation of our plan. This is what I would try to consider first together with you, and thereafter the other topic, if you allow it.” “I do allow it,” he said: “proceed with the inquiry.” “I think, then,” said I, “that the rulers, [458c] if they are to deserve that name, and their helpers likewise, will, the one, be willing to accept orders,5 and the other, to give them, in some things obeying our laws, and imitating6 them in others which we leave to their discretion.” “Presumably.” “You, then, the lawgiver,” I said, “have picked these men and similarly will select to give over to them women as nearly as possible of the same nature.7 And they, having houses and meals in common, and no private possessions of that kind, [458d] will dwell together, and being commingled in gymnastics and in all their life and education, will be conducted by innate necessity to sexual union. Is not what I say a necessary consequence?” “Not by the necessities of geometry,” he said, “but by those of love,8 which are perhaps keener and more potent than the other to persuade and constrain the multitude.”

“They are, indeed,” I said; “but next, Glaucon, disorder and promiscuity in these unions or [458e] in anything else they do would be an unhallowed thing in a happy state and the rulers will not suffer it.” “It would not be right,” he said. “Obviously, then, we must arrange marriages, sacramental so far as may be. And the most sacred marriages would be those that were most beneficial.”

1 Cf. Isocrates ii. 47, on “those who in solitude do not deliberate but imagine what they wish,” and Chesterton's saying, “All feeble spirits live in the future, because it is a soft job”; cf. further on day-dreams, Schmidt, Ethik der Griechen, ii. p. 71, and Lucian's Πλοῖον εὐχαί. Plato's description anticipates the most recent psychology in everything except the term “autistic thinking.”

2 ἄλλως: Cf. 495 B.

3 Cf. Blaydes on Aristophanes Clouds 727.

4 Cf. Herodotus ix. 8. He returns to the postponed topic in 466 D, but again digresses and does not take it up definitely till 471 C or rather 473 C-D. The reason is that the third wave of paradox is also the condition of the possibility of realization. Cf. Introduction p. xvii.

5 Cf. on 340 A-B.

6 That is to say, they are to imitate or conform to our principles in the details which we leave to them. So in the Laws, 770 B, 846 C, 876 E, and the secondary divinities in the Timaeus, 69 C. Cf. Politicus 301 A, and Aristotle Politics 1261 b 2μιμεῖται.

7 Cf. 456 B. Plato has already explained that he means “of like nature in respect to capacity for government.” There is no contradiction of the doctrine of the Politicus, 310 A (Cf. Laws 773 A-B) that the mating should blend opposite temperaments. Those elements are already mixed in the selection of the guardians. Cf. 375 B-C, 410 D-E and Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 62, n. 481.

8 The phrase is imitated by Plutarch, Adv. Col. 1122 Dφυσικαῖς, οὐ γεωμετρικαῖς ἑλκόμενος ἀνάγκαις.

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