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[238a] its power is called self-restraint, but when desire irrationally drags us toward pleasures and rules within us, its rule is called excess. Now excess has many names, for it has many members and many forms; and whichever of these forms is most marked gives its own name, neither beautiful nor honorable, to him who possesses it. For example, if the desire for food prevails over the higher reason [238b] and the other desires, it is called gluttony, and he who possesses it will be called by the corresponding name of glutton, and again, if the desire for drink becomes the tyrant and leads him who possesses it toward drink, we know what he is called; and it is quite clear what fitting names of the same sort will be given when any desire akin to these acquires the rule. The reason for what I have said hitherto is pretty clear by this time, but everything is plainer when spoken than when unspoken; so I say that the desire which overcomes the rational opinion [238c] that strives toward the right, and which is led away toward the enjoyment of beauty and again is strongly forced by the desires that are kindred to itself toward personal beauty, when it gains the victory, takes its name from that very force, and is called love.1 Well, my dear Phaedrus, does it seem to you, as it does to me, that I am inspired?

Phaedrus
Certainly, Socrates, you have an unusual fluency.

Socrates
Then listen to me in silence; for truly [238d] the place seems filled with a divine presence; so do not be surprised if I often seem to be in a frenzy as my discourse progresses, for I am already almost uttering dithyrambics.

Phaedrus
That is very true.

Socrates
You are responsible for that; but hear what follows; for perhaps the attack may be averted. That, however, is in the hands of God; we must return to our boy. Well then, my dearest, what the subject is, about which we are to take counsel, has been said and defined, and now let us continue, keeping our attention fixed [238e] upon that definition, and tell what advantage or harm will naturally come from the lover or the non-lover to him who grants them his favors. He who is ruled by desire and is a slave to pleasure will inevitably desire to make his beloved as pleasing to himself as possible. Now to one who is of unsound mind everything is pleasant which does not oppose him, but everything that is better or equal is hateful.


1 This somewhat fanciful statement is based on a supposed etymological connection betweenἔρωςandῥώμη, ἐρρωμένως, ῥωσθεῖσα.

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