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[65a] the soul from communion with the body?”

“It is.”

“Now certainly most people think that a man who takes no pleasure and has no part in such things doesn't deserve to live, and that one who cares nothing for the pleasures of the body is about as good as dead.”

“That is very true.”

“Now, how about the acquirement of pure knowledge? Is the body a hindrance or not, if it is made to share in the search for wisdom? [65b] What I mean is this: Have the sight and hearing of men any truth in them, or is it true, as the poets are always telling us, that we neither hear nor see any thing accurately? And yet if these two physical senses are not accurate or exact, the rest are not likely to be, for they are inferior to these. Do you not think so?”

“Certainly I do,” he replied.

“Then,” said he, “when does the soul attain to truth? For when it tries to consider anything in company with the body, it is evidently deceived by it.” [65c] “True.”

“In thought, then, if at all, something of the realities becomes clear to it?”

“Yes.”

“But it thinks best when none of these things troubles it, neither hearing nor sight, nor pain nor any pleasure, but it is, so far as possible, alone by itself, and takes leave of the body, and avoiding, so far as it can, all association or contact with the body, reaches out toward the reality.”

“That is true.”

“In this matter also, then, [65d] the soul of the philosopher greatly despises the body and avoids it and strives to be alone by itself?”

“Evidently.”

“Now how about such things as this, Simmias? Do we think there is such a thing as absolute justice, or not?”

“We certainly think there is.”

“And absolute beauty and goodness.”

“Of course.”

“Well, did you ever see anything of that kind with your eyes?”

“Certainly not,” said he.

“Or did you ever reach them with any of the bodily senses? I am speaking of all such things, as size, health, strength, and in short the essence [65e] or underlying quality of everything. Is their true nature contemplated by means of the body? Is it not rather the case that he who prepares himself most carefully to understand the true essence of each thing that he examines would come nearest to the knowledge of it?”

“Certainly.”

“Would not that man do this most perfectly who approaches each thing, so far as possible, with the reason alone, not introducing sight into his reasoning nor dragging in


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