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[507a] I said, “that I were able to make and you to receive the payment and not merely as now the interest. But at any rate receive this interest1 and the offspring of the good. Have a care, however, lest I deceive you unintentionally with a false reckoning of the interest.” “We will do our best,” he said, “to be on our guard. Only speak on.” “Yes,” I said, “after first coming to an understanding with you and reminding you of what has been said here before and often on other occasions.2” [507b] “What?” said he. “We predicate ‘to be’3 of many beautiful things and many good things, saying of them severally that they are, and so define them in our speech.” “We do.” “And again, we speak of a self-beautiful and of a good that is only and merely good, and so, in the case of all the things that we then posited as many, we turn about and posit each as a single idea or aspect, assuming it to be a unity and call it that which each really is.4 “It is so.” “And the one class of things we say can be seen but not thought, [507c] while the ideas can be thought but not seen.” “By all means.” “With which of the parts of ourselves, with which of our faculties, then, do we see visible things?” “With sight,” he said. “And do we not,” I said, “hear audibles with hearing, and perceive all sensibles with the other senses?” “Surely.” “Have you ever observed,” said I, “how much the greatest expenditure the creator5 of the senses has lavished on the faculty of seeing and being seen?6 “Why, no, I have not,” he said. “Well, look at it thus. Do hearing and voice stand in need of another medium7 so that the one may hear and the other be heard, [507d] in the absence of which third element the one will not hear and the other not be heard?” “They need nothing,” he said. “Neither, I fancy,” said I,” do many others, not to say that none require anything of the sort. Or do you know of any?” “Not I,” he said. “But do you not observe that vision and the visible do have this further need?” “How?” “Though vision may be in the eyes and its possessor may try to use it, and though color be present, yet without [507e] the presence of a third thing8 specifically and naturally adapted to this purpose, you are aware that vision will see nothing and the colors will remain invisible.9” “What10 is this thing of which you speak?” he said. “The thing,” I said, “that you call light.” “You say truly,” he replied. “The bond, then, that yokes together

1 This playful interlude relieves the monotony of the argument and is a transition to the symbolism.τόκος means both interest and offspring. Cf. 555 E, Polit. 267 A, Aristoph.Clouds 34, Thesm. 845, Pindar, Ol. x. 12. the equivocation, which in other languages became a metaphor, has played a great part in the history of opinion about usury. Cf. the article “Usury” in Hastings's Encyclopaedia of Relig. and Ethics.

2 Cf. 475 E f. Plato as often begins by a restatement of the theory of ideas, i.e. practically of the distinction between the concept and the objects of sense. Cf. Rep. 596 A ff., Phaedo 108 b ff.

3 The modern reader will never understand Plato from translation that talk about “Being.” Cf. What Plato Said, p. 605.

4 ἔστιν is technical for the reality of the ideas. Cf. Phaedo 75 B, D, 78 D, Parmen. 129 B, Symp. 211 C, Rep. 490 B, 532 A, 597 A.

5 Creator,δημιουργός, God, the gods, and nature, are all virtual synonyms in such passages.

6 Cf. Phaedr. 259 D, Tim. 45 B.

7 This is literature, not science. Plato knew that sound required a medium, Tim. 67 B. But the statement here is true enough to illustrate the thought.

8 Lit. “kind of thing,”γένος. Cf. 507 C-D.

9 Cf. Troland, The Mystery of Mind, p. 82: “In order that there should be vision, it is not sufficient that a physical object should exist before the eyes. there must also be a source of so-called ‘light.’”

10 Plato would not have tried to explain this loose colloquial genitive, and we need not.

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