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[492a] “Then the nature which we assumed in the philosopher, if it receives the proper teaching, must needs grow and attain to consummate excellence, but, if it be sown1 and planted and grown in the wrong environment, the outcome will be quite the contrary unless some god comes to the rescue.2 Or are you too one of the multitude who believe that there are young men who are corrupted by the sophists,3 and that there are sophists in private life4 who corrupt to any extent worth mentioning,5 and that it is not rather the very men who talk in this strain [492b] who are the chief sophists and educate most effectively and mould to their own heart's desire young and old, men and women?” “When?” said he. “Why, when,” I said, “the multitude are seated together6 in assemblies or in court-rooms or theaters or camps or any other public gathering of a crowd, and with loud uproar censure some of the things that are said and done and approve others, both in excess, with full-throated clamor [492c] and clapping of hands, and thereto the rocks and the region round about re-echoing redouble the din of the censure and the praise.7 In such case how do you think the young man's heart, as the saying is, is moved within him?8 What private teaching do you think will hold out and not rather be swept away by the torrent of censure and applause, and borne off on its current, so that he will affirm9 the same things that they do to be honorable and base, [492d] and will do as they do, and be even such as they?” “That is quite inevitable, Socrates,” he said.

“And, moreover,” I said, “we have not yet mentioned the chief necessity and compulsion.” “What is it?” said he. “That which these ‘educators’ and sophists impose by action when their words fail to convince. Don't you know that they chastise the recalcitrant with loss of civic rights and fines and death?” “They most emphatically do,” he said. “What other sophist, then, or what private teaching do you think [492e] will prevail in opposition to these?” “None, I fancy,” said he. “No,” said I, “the very attempt10 is the height of folly. For there is not, never has been and never will be,11 a divergent type of character and virtue created by an education running counter to theirs12—humanly speaking, I mean, my friend; for the divine, as the proverb says, all rules fail.13 And you may be sure that, if anything is saved and turns out well

1 Cf. 107 B, Tim. 42 D.

2 This is the θεῖα μοῖρα of 493 A and Meno 99 E. Cf. What Plato Said, p. 517.

3 See What Plato Said, pp. 12 ff. and on Meno 93-94. Plato again anticipates many of his modern critics. Cf. Grote's defence of the sophists passim, and Mill, Unity of ReligionThree essays on Religion, pp. 78, 84 ff.).

4 ἰδιωτικούς refers to individual sophists as opposed to the great sophist of public opinion. Cf. 492 D, 493 A, 494 A.

5 For καὶ ἄξιον λόγου Cf. Euthydem 279 C, Laches 192 A, Laws 908 B, 455 C, Thucyd. ii. 54. 5, Aristot.Pol. 1272 b 32, 1302 a 13, De part. an. 654 a 13, Demosth. v. 16, Isoc. vi. 65.

6 Cf. Gorg. 490 B, Emerson, Self-Reliance: “It is easy . . . to brook the rage of the cultivated classes . . . . But . . . when the unintelligent brute force that lies at the bottom of society is made to growl and mow, it needs the habit of magnanimity and religion to treat it godlike as a trifle of no concernment,” Carlyle, French Revolution: “Great is the combined voice of men . . . . He who can resist that has his footing somewhere beyond time.” For the public as the great sophist cf. Brimley, Essays, p. 224 (The Angel in the House): “The miserable view of life and its purposes which society instils into its youth of both sexes, being still, as in Plato's time, the sophist par excellence of which all individual talking and writing sophists are but feeble copies.” Cf. Zeller, Ph. d. Gr. 4 II. 1. 601 “Die sophistische Ethik ist seiner Ansicht nach die einfache Konsequenz der Gewöhnlichen.” This is denied by some recent critics. The question is a logomachy. Of course there is more than one sophistic ethics. Cf. Mill, Dissertations and Discussions, iv. pp. 247 ff., 263 ff., 275. For Plato's attitude toward the sophists see also Polit. 303 C, Phaedr, 260 C, What Plato Said, pp. 14-15, 158.

7 Cf. Eurip.Orest. 901, they shouted ὡς καλῶς λέγοι, also Euthydem. 303 Bοἱ κίονες,276 B and D, Shorey on Horace, Odes i.20.7 “datus in theatro cum tibi plausus,” and also the account of the moulding process in Protag. 323-326.

8 What would be his plight, his state of mind; how would he feel? Cf. Shorey in Class. Phil. v. (1910) pp. 220-221, Iliad xxiv. 367, Theognis 748καὶ τίνα θυμὸν ἔχων;Symp. 219 D 3τίνα οἴεσθέ με διάνοιαν ἔχειν; Eurip.I.A. 1173τίν᾽ ἐν δόμοις με καρδίαν ἕξειν δοκεῖς;

9 Adam translates as if it were καὶ φήσει. Cf. my “Platonism and the History of Science,” Amer. Philos. Soc. Proc. lxvi. p. 174 n. See Stallbaum ad loc.

10 Cf. Protag. 317 A-B, Soph. 239 C, Laws 818 D.

11 Cf. Od. xvi. 437. See Friedländer, Platon, ii. 386 n. who says ἀλλοῖον γίγνεσθαι can only =ἀλλοιοῦσθαι, “be made different.”

12 Cf. 429 C for the idiom, and Laws 696 Aοὐ γὰρ μή ποτε γένηται παῖς καὶ ἀνὴρ καὶ γέρων ἐκ ταύτης τῆς τροφῆς διαφέρων πρὸς ἀρετήν.

13 Cf. Symp. 176 C (of Socrates), Phaedr. 242 B, Theaet. 162 D-E.

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