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[521c]

“Would you, then, have us proceed to consider how such men may be produced in a state and how they may be led upward1 to the light even as some2 are fabled to have ascended from Hades to the gods?” “Of course I would.” “So this, it seems, would not be the whirling of the shell3 in the children's game, but a conversion and turning about of the soul from a day whose light is darkness to the veritable day—that ascension4 to reality of our parable which we will affirm to be true philosophy.” “By all means.” “Must we not, then, consider what studies have

1 Cf. on 515 E, p. 124, note b.

2 This has been much debated. Cf. Adam ad loc.Professor Linforth argues from Pausanias i. 34 that Amphiaraus is meant.

3 Cf. Phaedr. 241 B; also the description of the game in Plato Comicus, Fr. 153 apud Norwood, Greek Comedy, p. 167. The players were divided into two groups. A shell or potsherd, black on one side and white on the other, was thrown, and according to the face on which it fell one group fled and the other pursued. Cf. also commentators on Aristoph.Knights 855.

4 Much quoted by Neoplatonists and Christian Fathers. Cf. Stallbaum ad loc. Again we need to remember that Plato's main and explicitly reiterated purpose is to describe a course of study that will develop the power of consecutive consistent abstract thinking. All metaphysical and mystical suggestions of the imagery which conveys this idea are secondary and subordinate. So, e.g. Urwick, The Message of Plato, pp. 66-67, is mistaken when he says “ . . . Plato expressly tells us that his education is designed simply and solely to awaken the spiritual faculty which every soul contains, by ‘wheeling the soul round and turning it away from the world of change and decay.’ He is not concerned with any of those ‘excellences of mind’ which may be produced by training and discipline, his only aim is to open the eye of the soul . . . “ The general meaning of the sentence is plain but the text is disputed. See crit. note.

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