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[518c] What they aver is that they can put true knowledge into a soul that does not possess it, as if they were inserting1 vision into blind eyes.” “They do indeed,” he said. “But our present argument indicates,” said I, “that the true analogy for this indwelling power in the soul and the instrument whereby each of us apprehends is that of an eye that could not be converted to the light from the darkness except by turning the whole body. Even so this organ of knowledge must be turned around from the world of becoming together with the entire soul, like the scene-shifting periact2 in the theater, until the soul is able to endure the contemplation of essence and the brightest region of being.

1 Cf. Theognis 429 ff. Stallbaum compares Eurip.Hippol. 917 f. Similarly Anon. Theaet. Comm.(Berlin, 1905), p. 32, 48. 4καὶ δεῖν αὐτῇ οὐκ ἐνθέσεως μαθημάτων, ἀλλὰ ἀναμνήσεως. Cf. also St. Augustine: “Nolite putare quemquam hominem aliquid discere ab homine. Admonere possumus per strepitum vocis nostrae;” and Emerson's “strictly speaking, it is not instruction but provocation that I can receive from another soul.”

2 περιακτέον is probably a reference to the περίακτοι or triangular prisms on each side of the stage. They revolved on an axis and had different scenes painted on their three faces. Many scholars are of the opinion that they were not known in the classical period, as they are mentioned only by late writers; but others do not consider this conclusive evidence, as a number of classical plays seem to have required something of the sort. Cf. O. Navarre in Daremberg-Saglio s.v. Machine, p. 1469.

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