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[301a] would not each of us be just also, and if each is unjust, would not both again also be unjust, or if both are healthy, each of us also? Or if each of us were to be tired or wounded or struck or affected in any other way whatsoever, should we not both of us be affected in the same way? Then, too, if we were to be golden or of silver or of ivory, or, if you please, noble or wise or honored or old or young or whatever else you like of all that flesh is heir to, is it not quite inevitable that each of us be that also? [301b]


But you see, Socrates, you do not consider the entirety of things, nor do they with whom you are in the habit of conversing, but you all test the beautiful and each individual entity by taking them separately and cutting them to pieces. For this reason you fail to observe that embodiments of reality are by nature so great and undivided. And now you have failed to observe to such a degree that you think there is some affection or reality which pertains to both of these together, [301c] but not to each individually, or again to each, but not to both; so unreasoning and undiscerning and foolish and unreflecting is your state of mind.

Human affairs, Hippias, are not what a man wishes, but what he can,1 as the proverb goes which people are constantly citing; but you are always aiding us with admonitions. For now too, until we were admonished by you of our foolish state of mind—shall I continue to speak and make you a still further exhibition of our thoughts on the subject, or shall I not speak? [301d]

You will speak to one who knows, Socrates, for I know the state of mind of all who are concerned with discussions; but nevertheless, if you prefer, speak.

Well, I do prefer. For we, my friend, were so stupid, before you spoke, as to have an opinion concerning you and me, that each of us was one, but that we were not both that which each of us was—for we are not one, but two [301e] —so foolish were we. But now we have been taught by you that if we are both two, then each of us is inevitably two, and if each is one, then both are inevitably one; for it is impossible, by the continuous doctrine of reality according to Hippias, that it be otherwise, but what we both are, that each is, and what each is, both are. So now I have been convinced by you, and I hold this position. But first, Hippias, refresh my memory: Are you and I one, or are you two and I two?

What do you mean, Socrates?

Just what I say; for I am afraid to speak plainly to you, because you are vexed with me, when you think you are talking sensibly;

1 Suidas gives the proverb in the form: ζῶμεν γὰρ οὐχ ὡς θέλομεν, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς δυνάμεθα. “Man proposes, but God disposes” would be an English equivalent.

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