Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 Next page
SOCRATES - GLAUCON
Nonsense, said Glaucon: did you not promise to search yourself,
saying that for you not to help justice in her need would be an
I do not deny that I said so, and as you remind me, I will be as
good as my word; but you must join.
We will, he replied.
Well, then, I hope to make the discovery in this way: I mean to
begin with the assumption that our State, if rightly ordered, is
That is most certain.
And being perfect, is therefore wise and valiant and temperate and
That is likewise clear.
And whichever of these qualities we find in the State, the one which
is not found will be the residue?
If there were four things, and we were searching for one of them,
wherever it might be, the one sought for might be known to us from the
first, and there would be no further trouble; or we might know the
other three first, and then the fourth would clearly be the one left.
Very true, he said.
And is not a similar method to be pursued about the virtues, which
are also four in number?
First among the virtues found in the State, wisdom comes into
view, and in this I detect a certain peculiarity.
What is that?
The State which we have been describing is said to be wise as
being good in counsel?
And good counsel is clearly a kind of knowledge, for not by
ignorance, but by knowledge, do men counsel well?
And the kinds of knowledge in a State are many and diverse?
There is the knowledge of the carpenter; but is that the sort of
knowledge which gives a city the title of wise and good in counsel?
Certainly not; that would only give a city the reputation of skill
Then a city is not to be called wise because possessing a
knowledge which counsels for the best about wooden implements?
Nor by reason of a knowledge which advises about brazen pots, I
said, nor as possessing any other similar knowledge?
Not by reason of any of them, he said.
Nor yet by reason of a knowledge which cultivates the earth; that
would give the city the name of agricultural?
Well, I said, and is there any knowledge in our recently founded
State among any of the citizens which advises, not about any
particular thing in the State, but about the whole, and considers
how a State can best deal with itself and with other States?
There certainly is.
And what is knowledge, and among whom is it found? I asked.
It is the knowledge of the guardians, he replied, and found among
those whom we were just now describing as perfect guardians.
And what is the name which the city derives from the possession of
this sort of knowledge?
The name of good in counsel and truly wise.
And will there be in our city more of these true guardians or more
The smiths, he replied, will be far more numerous.
Will not the guardians be the smallest of all the classes who
receive a name from the profession of some kind of knowledge?
Much the smallest.
And so by reason of the smallest part or class, and of the knowledge
which resides in this presiding and ruling part of itself, the whole
State, being thus constituted according to nature, will be wise; and
this, which has the only knowledge worthy to be called wisdom, has
been ordained by nature to be of all classes the least.
Thus, then, I said, the nature and place in the State of one of
the four virtues has somehow or other been discovered.
And, in my humble opinion, very satisfactorily discovered, he
Again, I said, there is no difficulty in seeing the nature of
courage; and in what part that quality resides which gives the name of
courageous to the State.
How do you mean?
Why, I said, every one who calls any State courageous or cowardly,
will be thinking of the part which fights and goes out to war on the
No one, he replied, would ever think of any other.
The rest of the citizens may be courageous or may be cowardly but
their courage or cowardice will not, as I conceive, have the effect of
making the city either the one or the other.
The city will be courageous in virtue of a portion of herself
which preserves under all circumstances that opinion about the
nature of things to be feared and not to be feared in which our
legislator educated them; and this is what you term courage.
I should like to hear what you are saying once more, for I do not
think that I perfectly understand you.
I mean that courage is a kind of salvation.
Salvation of what?
Of the opinion respecting things to be feared, what they are and
of what nature, which the law implants through education; and I mean
by the words 'under all circumstances' to intimate that in pleasure or
in pain, or under the influence of desire or fear, a man preserves,
and does not lose this opinion. Shall I give you an illustration?
If you please.
You know, I said, that dyers, when they want to dye wool for
making the true sea-purple, begin by selecting their white colour
first; this they prepare and dress with much care and pains, in
order that the white ground may take the purple hue in full
perfection. The dyeing then proceeds; and whatever is dyed in this
manner becomes a fast colour, and no washing either with lyes or
without them can take away the bloom. But, when the ground has not
been duly prepared, you will have noticed how poor is the look
either of purple or of any other colour.
Yes, he said; I know that they have a washed-out and ridiculous
Then now, I said, you will understand what our object was in
selecting our soldiers, and educating them in music and gymnastic;
we were contriving influences which would prepare them to take the dye
of the laws in perfection, and the colour of their opinion about
dangers and of every other opinion was to be indelibly fixed by
their nurture and training, not to be washed away by such potent
lyes as pleasure --mightier agent far in washing the soul than any
soda or lye; or by sorrow, fear, and desire, the mightiest of all
other solvents. And this sort of universal saving power of true
opinion in conformity with law about real and false dangers I call and
maintain to be courage, unless you disagree.
But I agree, he replied; for I suppose that you mean to exclude mere
uninstructed courage, such as that of a wild beast or of a slave
--this, in your opinion, is not the courage which the law ordains, and
ought to have another name.
Then I may infer courage to be such as you describe?
Why, yes, said I, you may, and if you add the words 'of a
citizen,' you will not be far wrong; --hereafter, if you like, we will
carry the examination further, but at present we are we w seeking
not for courage but justice; and for the purpose of our enquiry we
have said enough.
You are right, he replied.
Two virtues remain to be discovered in the State-first temperance,
and then justice which is the end of our search.
Now, can we find justice without troubling ourselves about
I do not know how that can be accomplished, he said, nor do I desire
that justice should be brought to light and temperance lost sight
of; and therefore I wish that you would do me the favour of
considering temperance first.
Certainly, I replied, I should not be justified in refusing your
Then consider, he said.
Yes, I replied; I will; and as far as I can at present see, the
virtue of temperance has more of the nature of harmony and symphony
than the preceding.
How so? he asked.
Temperance, I replied, is the ordering or controlling of certain
pleasures and desires; this is curiously enough implied in the
saying of 'a man being his own master' and other traces of the same
notion may be found in language.
No doubt, he said.
There is something ridiculous in the expression 'master of himself';
for the master is also the servant and the servant the master; and
in all these modes of speaking the same person is denoted.
The meaning is, I believe, that in the human soul there is a
better and also a worse principle; and when the better has the worse
under control, then a man is said to be master of himself; and this is
a term of praise: but when, owing to evil education or association,
the better principle, which is also the smaller, is overwhelmed by the
greater mass of the worse --in this case he is blamed and is called
the slave of self and unprincipled.
Yes, there is reason in that.
And now, I said, look at our newly created State, and there you will
find one of these two conditions realised; for the State, as you
will acknowledge, may be justly called master of itself, if the
words 'temperance' and 'self-mastery' truly express the rule of the
better part over the worse.
Yes, he said, I see that what you say is true.
Let me further note that the manifold and complex pleasures and
desires and pains are generally found in children and women and
servants, and in the freemen so called who are of the lowest and
more numerous class.
Certainly, he said.
Whereas the simple and moderate desires which follow reason, and are
under the guidance of mind and true opinion, are to be found only in a
few, and those the best born and best educated.
Very true. These two, as you may perceive, have a place in our
State; and the meaner desires of the are held down by the virtuous
desires and wisdom of the few.
That I perceive, he said.
Then if there be any city which may be described as master of its
own pleasures and desires, and master of itself, ours may claim such a
Certainly, he replied.
It may also be called temperate, and for the same reasons?
And if there be any State in which rulers and subjects will be
agreed as to the question who are to rule, that again will be our
And the citizens being thus agreed among themselves, in which