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[47a] benefit effected by them, for the sake of which God bestowed them upon us. Vision, in my view, is the cause of the greatest benefit to us, inasmuch as none of the accounts now given concerning the Universe would ever have been given if men had not seen the stars or the sun or the heaven. But as it is, the vision of day and night and of months and circling years has created the art of number and has given us not only the notion of Time1 but also means of research into the nature of the Universe. From these we have procured Philosophy in all its range, [47b] than which no greater boon ever has come or will come, by divine bestowal, unto the race of mortals.2 This I affirm to be the greatest good of eyesight. As for all the lesser goods, why should we celebrate them? He that is no philosopher when deprived of the sight thereof may utter vain lamentations!3 But the cause and purpose of that best good, as we must maintain, is this,—that God devised and bestowed upon us vision to the end that we might behold the revolutions of Reason in the Heaven and use them for the revolvings of the reasoning that is within us, these being akin to those, [47c] the perturbable to the imperturbable; and that, through learning and sharing in calculations which are correct by their nature, by imitation of the absolutely unvarying revolutions of the God we might stabilize the variable revolutions within ourselves.

Concerning sound also and hearing, once more we make the same declaration, that they were bestowed by the Gods with the same object and for the same reasons; for it was for these same purposes that speech was ordained, and it makes the greatest contribution thereto; music too, in so far as it uses audible sound, [47d] was bestowed for the sake of harmony.4 And harmony, which has motions akin to the revolutions of the Soul within us, was given by the Muses to him who makes intelligent use of the Muses, not as an aid to irrational pleasure, as is now supposed, but as an auxiliary to the inner revolution of the Soul, when it has lost its harmony, to assist in restoring it to order and concord with itself. And because of the unmodulated condition, [47e] deficient in grace, which exists in most of us, Rhythm also was bestowed upon us to be our helper by the same deities and for the same ends.

The foregoing part of our discourse, save for a small portion, has been an exposition of the operations of Reason; but we must also furnish an account of what comes into existence through Necessity.5

1 Cf. 37 D ff.

2 Cf. Phileb. 16 C ff.

3 An echo of Eurip.Phoenissae1762 ἀλλὰ γὰρ τί ταῦτα θρηνῶ καὶ μάτην ὀδύρομαι;

4 For the importance of music in education Cf. Rep.401 D,Laws666 D ff.; also Tim.80 B.

5 i.e., the sphere of mechanical causation, physical and physiological processes and results.

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