[64a] when he is to die, and has strong hopes that when he is dead he will attain the greatest blessings in that other land. So I will try to tell you, Simmias, and Cebes, how this would be.“Other people are likely not to be aware that those who pursue philosophy aright study nothing but dying and being dead. Now if this is true, it would be absurd to be eager for nothing but this all their lives, and then to be troubled when that came for which they had all along been eagerly practicing.”And Simmias laughed and said, “By Zeus, [64b] Socrates, I don't feel much like laughing just now, but you made me laugh. For I think the multitude, if they heard what you just said about the philosophers, would say you were quite right, and our people at home would agree entirely with you that philosophers desire death, and they would add that they know very well that the philosophers deserve it.”“And they would be speaking the truth, Simmias, except in the matter of knowing very well. For they do not know in what way the real philosophers desire death, nor in what way they deserve death, nor what kind of a death it is. [64c] Let us then,” said he, “speak with one another, paying no further attention to them. Do we think there is such a thing as death?”“Certainly,” replied Simmias.“We believe, do we not, that death is the separation of the soul from the body, and that the state of being dead is the state in which the body is separated from the soul and exists alone by itself and the soul is separated from the body and exists alone by itself? Is death anything other than this?”“No, it is this,” said he.“Now, my friend, see if you agree with me; [64d] for, if you do, I think we shall get more light on our subject. Do you think a philosopher would be likely to care much about the so-called pleasures, such as eating and drinking?”“By no means, Socrates,” said Simmias.“How about the pleasures of love?”“Certainly not.”“Well, do you think such a man would think much of the other cares of the body—I mean such as the possession of fine clothes and shoes and the other personal adornments? Do you think he would care about them [64e] or despise them, except so far as it is necessary to have them?”“I think the true philosopher would despise them,” he replied.“Altogether, then, you think that such a man would not devote himself to the body, but would, so far as he was able, turn away from the body and concern himself with the soul?”“Yes.”“To begin with, then, it is clear that in such matters the philosopher, more than other men, separates
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