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376C - 378E Let us next consider how to educate our future Guardians: the enquiry may help us to discover the origin of Justice and Injustice. We may accept the traditional view that Education consists in ‘Music,’ or culture of the soul, and Gymnastic, or culture of the body. ‘Music’ must be begun before Gymnastic. Now ‘Music’ includes literature (λόγοι), and literature is either true or false (μῦθοι). We shall educate our children by false literature before we teach them true; but we shall eschew all legends that inculcate views inconsistent with those which we desire our Guardians to entertain when they are men. Makers of legend or fable must be submitted to a censorship, and most of our present legends rejected. Caricatures of the gods, like the stories about Cronus and Uranus, Zeus and Cronus, are not only false in themselves, but ought not, even if they were true, to be told to children, lest they breed inhumanity and filial impiety; nor should children be persuaded by Poetry or other imitative arts to believe that the gods quarrel and fight among themselves. No plea of a ‘deeper meaning’ (ὑπόνοια) can justify the telling of such tales to children; for children cannot distinguish the spirit from the letter, and impressions made thus early are difficult to efface.
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