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[87a] For I do not deny that it has been very cleverly, and, if I may say so, conclusively shown that the soul existed before it entered into this bodily form, but it does not seem to me proved that it will still exist when we are dead. I do not agree with Simmias' objection, that the soul is not stronger and more lasting than the body, for I think it is far superior in all such respects. 'Why then,' the argument might say, 'do you still disbelieve, when you see that after a man dies [87b] the weaker part still exists? Do you not think the stronger part must necessarily be preserved during the same length of time?' Now see if my reply to this has any sense. I think I may, like Simmias, best express myself in a figure. It seems to me that it is much as if one should say about an old weaver who had died, that the man had not perished but was safe and sound somewhere, and should offer as a proof of this the fact that the cloak which the man had woven and used to wear was still whole and had not perished. Then if anyone did not believe him, he would ask [87c] which lasts longer, a man or a cloak that is in use and wear, and when the answer was given that a man lasts much longer, he would think it had been proved beyond a doubt that the man was safe, because that which was less lasting had not perished.

“But I do not think he is right, Simmias, and I ask you especially to notice what I say. Anyone can understand that a man who says this is talking nonsense. For the weaver in question wove and wore out many such cloaks and [87d] lasted longer than they, though they were many, but perished, I suppose, before the last one. Yet a man is not feebler or weaker than a cloak on that account at all. And I think the same figure would apply to the soul and the body and it would be quite appropriate to say in like manner about them, that the soul lasts a long time, but the body lasts a shorter time and is weaker. And, one might go on to say that each soul wears out many bodies, especially if the man lives many years. For if the body is constantly changing and being destroyed while the man still lives, [87e] and the soul is always weaving anew that which wears out, then when the soul perishes it must necessarily have on its last garment, and this only will survive it, and when the soul has perished, then the body will at once show its natural weakness and will quickly disappear in decay. And so we are not yet justified in feeling sure, on the strength of this argument,


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