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[519a] or, again, useless and harmful. Have you never observed in those who are popularly spoken of as bad, but smart men,1 how keen is the vision of the little soul,2 how quick it is to discern the things that interest it,3 a proof that it is not a poor vision which it has, but one forcibly enlisted in the service of evil, so that the sharper its sight the more mischief it accomplishes?” “I certainly have,” he said. “Observe then,” said I, “that this part of such a soul, if it had been hammered from childhood, and had thus been struck free4 of the leaden weights, so to speak, of our birth [519b] and becoming, which attaching themselves to it by food and similar pleasures and gluttonies turn downwards the vision of the soul5—If, I say, freed from these, it had suffered a conversion towards the things that are real and true, that same faculty of the same men would have been most keen in its vision of the higher things, just as it is for the things toward which it is now turned.” “It is likely,” he said. “Well, then,” said I, “is not this also likely6 and a necessary consequence of what has been said, that neither could men who are uneducated and inexperienced in truth ever adequately [519c] preside over a state, nor could those who had been permitted to linger on to the end in the pursuit of culture—the one because they have no single aim7 and purpose in life to which all their actions, public and private, must be directed, and the others, because they will not voluntarily engage in action, believing that while still living they have been transported to the Islands of the Blest.8” “True,” he said. “It is the duty of us, the founders, then,” said I, “to compel the best natures to attain the knowledge which we pronounced the greatest, and to win to the vision of the good, [519d] to scale that ascent, and when they have reached the heights and taken an adequate view, we must not allow what is now permitted.” “What is that?” “That they should linger there,” I said, “and refuse to go down again9 among those bondsmen and share their labors and honors, whether they are of less or of greater worth.” “Do you mean to say that we must do them this wrong, and compel them to live an inferior life when the better is in their power?” [519e]

“You have again forgotten,10 my friend,” said I, “that the law is not concerned with the special happiness of any class in the state, but is trying to produce this condition11 in the city as a whole, harmonizing and adapting the citizens to one another by persuasion and compulsion,12 and requiring them to impart to one another any benefit13

1 Cf. Theaet. 176 D, Laws 689 C-D, Cic.De offic. i. 19, and also Laws 819 A.

2 Cf. Theaet. 195 A, ibid. 173 Aσμικροὶ . . . τὰς ψυχάς, Marcus Aurelius’ψυχάριον εἶ βαστάζων νεκρόν, Swinburne's “A little soul for a little bears up this corpse which is man” (“Hymn to Proserpine,” in fine), Tennyson's “If half the little soul is dirt.”

3 Lit. “Toward which it is turned.”

4 The meaning is plain, the precise nature of the image that carries it is doubtful. Jowett's “circumcision” was suggested by Stallbaum's “purgata ac circumcisa,” but carries alien associations. The whole may be compared with the incrustation of the soul, 611 C-D, and with Phaedo 81 B f.

5 Or “eye of the mind.” Cf. 533 D, Sym. 219 A, Soph. 254 A, Aristot.Eth. 1144 a 30 , and the parallels and imitations collected by Gomperz, Apol. der Heilkunst, 166-167. cf. also What Plato Said, p. 534, on Phaedo 99 E, Ovid, Met. 15.64: “. . . quae natura negabat Visibus humanis, oculis ea pectoris hausit.” Cf. Friedlander, Platon, i. pp. 12-13, 15, and perhaps Odyssey, i. 115, Marc. Aurel. iv. 29καταμύειν τῷ νοερῷ ὄμματι.

6 For likely and necessary cf. on 485 C, p. 6, note c.

7 σκοπόν: this is what distinguishes the philosophic statesman from the opportunist politician. Cf. 452 E, Laws 962 A-B, D, Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 18 n. 102.

8 Cf. 540 B, Gorg. 526 C, 520 Dἐν τῷ καθαρῷ and Phaedo 114 C, 109 B. Because they will still suppose that they are “building Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land” (Blake).

9 Cf. 539 E and Laws 803 B-C, and on 520 C, Huxley, Evolution and Ethics, p. 53 “the hero of our story descended the bean-stalk and came back to the common world,” etc.

10 Cf. Vol. I. pp. 314-315 on 419.

11 i.e. happiness, not of course exceptional happiness.

12 Persuasion and compulsion are often bracketed or contrasted. Cf. also Laws 661 C, 722 B, 711 C, Rep. 548 B.

13 Cf. 369 C ff. The reference there however is only to the economic division of labor. For the idea that laws should be for the good of the whole state cf. 420 B ff., 466 A, 341-342, Laws 715 B, 757 D, 875 A.

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