Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Plato
Pages of laws (books 1 - 6)

Previous | Next

laws (books 1 - 6)   

Ath. Is there any argument which will prove to us that we ought to
encourage the taste for drinking instead of doing all we can to
avoid it?
Cle. I suppose that there is; you at any rate, were just now
saying that you were ready to maintain such a doctrine.
Ath. True, I was; and I am ready still, seeing that you have both
declared that you are anxious to hear me.
Cle. To sure we are, if only for the strangeness of the paradox,
which asserts that a man ought of his own accord to plunge into
utter degradation.
Ath. Are you speaking of the soul?
Cle. Yes.
Ath. And what would you say about the body, my friend? Are you not
surprised at any one of his own accord bringing upon himself
deformity, leanness, ugliness, decrepitude?
Cle. Certainly.
Ath. Yet when a man goes of his own accord to a doctor's shop, and
takes medicine, is he not aware that soon, and for many days
afterwards, he will be in a state of body which he would die rather
than accept as the permanent condition of his life? Are not those
who train in gymnasia, at first beginning reduced to a state of
Cle. Yes, all that is well known.
Ath. Also that they go of their own accord for the sake of the
subsequent benefit?
Cle. Very good.
Ath. And we may conceive this to be true in the same way of other
Cle. Certainly.
Ath. And the same view may be taken of the pastime of drinking wine,
if we are right in supposing that the same good effect follows?
Cle. To be sure.
Ath. If such convivialities should turn out to have any advantage
equal in importance to that of gymnastic, they are in their very
nature to be preferred to mere bodily exercise, inasmuch as they
have no accompaniment of pain.
Cle. True; but I hardly think that we shall be able to discover
any such benefits to be derived from them.
Ath. That is just what we must endeavour to show. And let me ask you
a question:-Do we not distinguish two kinds of fear, which are very
Cle. What are they?
Ath. There is the fear of expected evil.
Cle. Yes.
Ath. And there is the fear of an evil reputation; we are afraid
of being thought evil, because we do or say some dishonourable
thing, which fear we and all men term shame.
Cle. Certainly.
Ath. These are the two fears, as I called them; one of which is
the opposite of pain and other fears, and the opposite also of the
greatest and most numerous sort of pleasures.
Cle. Very true.
Ath. And does not the legislator and every one who is good for
anything, hold this fear in the greatest honour? This is what he terms
reverence, and the confidence which is the reverse of this he terms
insolence; and the latter he always deems to be a very great evil both
to individuals and to states.
Cle. True.
Ath. Does not this kind of fear preserve us in many important
ways? What is there which so surely gives victory and safety in war?
For there are two things which give victory-confidence before enemies,
and fear of disgrace before friends.
Cle. There are.
Ath. Then each of us should be fearless and also fearful; and why we

Previous | Next
Site Search