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[174a] of every thing that is, each in its entirety, never lowering itself to anything close at hand.

What do you mean by this, Socrates?

Why, take the case of Thales, Theodorus. While he was studying the stars and looking upwards, he fell into a pit, and a neat, witty Thracian servant girl jeered at him, they say, because he was so eager to know the things in the sky that he could not see what was there before him at his very feet. The same jest applies to all who pass their lives in philosophy. [174b] For really such a man pays no attention to his next door neighbor; he is not only ignorant of what he is doing, but he hardly knows whether he is a human being or some other kind of a creature; but what a human being is and what is proper for such a nature to do or bear different from any other, this he inquires and exerts himself to find out. Do you understand, Theodorus, or not?

Yes, I do; you are right.

Hence it is, my friend, such a man, both in private, when he meets with individuals, and in public, as I said in the beginning, [174c] when he is obliged to speak in court or elsewhere about the things at his feet and before his eyes, is a laughing-stock not only to Thracian girls but to the multitude in general, for he falls into pits and all sorts of perplexities through inexperience, and his awkwardness is terrible, making him seem a fool; for when it comes to abusing people he has no personal abuse to offer against anyone, because he knows no evil of any man, never having cared for such things; so his perplexity makes him appear ridiculous; and as to laudatory speeches [174d] and the boastings of others, it becomes manifest that he is laughing at them—not pretending to laugh, but really laughing—and so he is thought to be a fool. When he hears a panegyric of a despot or a king he fancies he is listening to the praises of some herdsman—a swineherd, a shepherd, or a neatherd, for instance—who gets much milk from his beasts; but he thinks that the ruler tends and milks a more perverse and treacherous creature than the herdsmen, and that he must grow coarse and uncivilized, [174e] no less than they, for he has no leisure and lives surrounded by a wall, as the herdsmen live in their mountain pens. And when he hears that someone is amazingly rich, because he owns ten thousand acres of land or more, to him, accustomed as he is to think of the whole earth, this seems very little. And when people sing the praises of lineage and say someone is of noble birth, because he can show seven wealthy ancestors, he thinks that such praises betray an altogether dull and narrow vision on the part of those who utter them;

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