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[72a] coming to life again, this would be the process of generation from the dead to the living?”


“So by this method also we reach the conclusion that the living are generated from the dead, just as much as the dead from the living; and since this is the case, it seems to me to be a sufficient proof that the souls of the dead exist somewhere, whence they come back to life.”

“I think, Socrates, that results necessarily from our previous admissions.”

“Now here is another method, Cebes, to prove, as it seems to me, that we were right in making those admissions. [72b] For if generation did not proceed from opposite to opposite and back again, going round, as it were in a circle, but always went forward in a straight line without turning back or curving, then, you know, in the end all things would have the same form and be acted upon in the same way and stop being generated at all.”

“What do you mean?” said he.

“It is not at all hard,” said Socrates, “to understand what I mean. For example, if the process of falling asleep existed, but not the opposite process of waking from sleep, [72c] in the end, you know, that would make the sleeping Endymion mere nonsense; he would be nowhere, for everything else would be in the same state as he, sound asleep. Or if all thing were mixed together and never separated, the saying of Anaxagoras, all things are chaos, would soon come true. And in like manner, my dear Cebes, if all things that have life should die, and, when they had died, the dead should remain in that condition, is it not inevitable that at last all things would be dead [72d] and nothing alive? For if the living were generated from any other things than from the dead, and the living were to die, is there any escape from the final result that all things would be swallowed up in death?”

“I see none, Socrates,” said Cebes. “What you say seems to be perfectly true.”

“I think, Cebes,” said he, “it is absolutely so, and we are not deluded in making these admissions, but the return to life is an actual fact, and it is a fact that the living are generated from the dead and that the souls of the dead [72e] exist.”

“And besides,” Cebes rejoined, “if it is true, Socrates, as you are fond of saying, that our learning is nothing else than recollection, then this would be an additional argument that we must necessarily have learned in some previous time what we now remember. But this is impossible if

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