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[67a] will be by itself apart from the body, but not before. And while we live, we shall, I think, be nearest to knowledge when we avoid, so far as possible, intercourse and communion with the body, except what is absolutely necessary, and are not filled with its nature, but keep ourselves pure from it until God himself sets us free. And in this way, freeing ourselves from the foolishness of the body and being pure, we shall, I think, be with the pure and shall know of ourselves all that is pure,— [67b] and that is, perhaps, the truth. For it cannot be that the impure attain the pure.' Such words as these, I think, Simmias, all who are rightly lovers of knowledge must say to each other and such must be their thoughts. Do you not agree?”

“Most assuredly, Socrates.”

“Then,” said Socrates, “if this is true, my friend, I have great hopes that when I reach the place to which I am going, I shall there, if anywhere, attain fully to that which has been my chief object in my past life, so that the journey which is now [67c] imposed upon me is begun with good hope; and the like hope exists for every man who thinks that his mind has been purified and made ready.”

“Certainly,” said Simmias.

“And does not the purification consist in this which has been mentioned long ago in our discourse, in separating, so far as possible, the soul from the body and teaching the soul the habit of collecting and bringing itself together from all parts of the body, and living, so far as it can, both now [67d] and hereafter, alone by itself, freed from the body as from fetters?”

“Certainly,” said he.

“Well, then, this is what we call death, is it not, a release and separation from the body?”

“Exactly so,” said he.

“But, as we hold, the true philosophers and they alone are always most eager to release the soul, and just this—the release and separation of the soul from the body—is their study, is it not?”

“Obviously.”

“Then, as I said in the beginning, it would be absurd if a man who had been all his life fitting himself to live as nearly [67e] in a state of death as he could, should then be disturbed when death came to him. Would it not be absurd?”

“Of course.”

“In fact, then, Simmias,” said he, “the true philosophers practice dying, and death is less terrible to them than to any other men. Consider it in this way. They are in every way hostile to the body and they desire to have the soul apart by itself alone. Would it not be very foolish if they should be frightened and troubled when this very thing happens, and if they should not be glad to go to the place where there is hope of attaining


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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 2.171
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