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[83a] chief assistant in his own imprisonment. The lovers of knowledge, then, I say, perceive that philosophy, taking possession of the soul when it is in this state, encourages it gently and tries to set it free, pointing out that the eyes and the ears and the other senses are full of deceit, and urging it to withdraw from these, except in so far as their use is unavoidable, and exhorting it to collect and concentrate itself within itself, and to trust nothing except [83b] itself and its own abstract thought of abstract existence; and to believe that there is no truth in that which it sees by other means and which varies with the various objects in which it appears, since everything of that kind is visible and apprehended by the senses, whereas the soul itself sees that which is invisible and apprehended by the mind. Now the soul of the true philosopher believes that it must not resist this deliverance, and therefore it stands aloof from pleasures and lusts and griefs and fears, so far as it can, considering that when anyone has violent pleasures or fears or griefs or lusts he suffers from them not merely what one might think—for example, illness or loss of money spent [83c] for his lusts—but he suffers the greatest and most extreme evil and does not take it into account.”

“What is this evil, Socrates?” said Cebes.

“The evil is that the soul of every man, when it is greatly pleased or pained by anything, is compelled to believe that the object which caused the emotion is very distinct and very true; but it is not. These objects are mostly the visible ones, are they not?” [83d] “Certainly.”

“And when this occurs, is not the soul most completely put in bondage by the body?”

“How so?”

“Because each pleasure or pain nails it as with a nail to the body and rivets it on and makes it corporeal, so that it fancies the things are true which the body says are true. For because it has the same beliefs and pleasures as the body it is compelled to adopt also the same habits and mode of life, and can never depart in purity to the other world, but must always go away contaminated with the body; and so it sinks quickly into another body again and grows into it, [83e] like seed that is sown. Therefore it has no part in the communion with the divine and pure and absolute.”

“What you say, Socrates, is very true,” said Cebes.

“This, Cebes, is the reason why the true lovers of knowledge are temperate and brave; not the world's reason.


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