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Pages of laws (books 1 - 6)



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laws (books 1 - 6)   


Cleinias. Proceed.
Ath. Let me once more recall our doctrine of right education; which,
if I am not mistaken, depends on the due regulation of convivial
intercourse.
Cle. You talk rather grandly.
Ath. Pleasure and pain I maintain to be the first perceptions of
children, and I say that they are the forms under which virtue and
vice are originally present to them. As to wisdom and true and fixed
opinions, happy is the man who acquires them, even when declining in
years; and we may say that he who possesses them, and the blessings
which are contained in them, is a perfect man. Now I mean by education
that training which is given by suitable habits to the first instincts
of virtue in children;-when pleasure, and friendship, and pain, and
hatred, are rightly implanted in souls not yet capable of
understanding the nature of them, and who find them, after they have
attained reason, to be in harmony with her. This harmony of the
soul, taken as a whole, is virtue; but the particular training in
respect of pleasure and pain, which leads you always to hate what
you ought to hate, and love what you ought to love from the
beginning of life to the end, may be separated off; and, in my view,
will be rightly called education.
Cle. I think, Stranger, that you are quite right in all that you
have said and are saying about education.
Ath. I am glad to hear that you agree with me; for, indeed, the
discipline of pleasure and pain which, when rightly ordered, is a
principle of education, has been often relaxed and corrupted in
human life. And the Gods, pitying the toils which our race is born
to undergo, have appointed holy festivals, wherein men alternate
rest with labour; and have given them the Muses and Apollo, the leader
of the Muses, and Dionysus, to be companions in their revels, that
they may improve their education by taking part in the festivals of
the Gods, and with their help. I should like to know whether a
common saying is in our opinion true to nature or not. For men say
that the young of all creatures cannot be quiet in their bodies or
in their voices; they are always wanting to move and cry out; some
leaping and skipping, and overflowing with sportiveness and delight at
something, others uttering all sorts of cries. But, whereas the
animals have no perception of order or disorder in their movements,
that is, of rhythm or harmony, as they are called, to us, the Gods,
who, as we say, have been appointed to be our companions in the dance,
have given the pleasurable sense of harmony and rhythm; and so they
stir us into life, and we follow them, joining hands together in
dances and songs; and these they call choruses, which is a term
naturally expressive of cheerfulness. Shall we begin, then, with the
acknowledgment that education is first given through Apollo and the
Muses? What do you say?
Cle. I assent.
Ath. And the uneducated is he who has not been trained in the
chorus, and the educated is he who has been well trained?
Cle. Certainly.
Ath. And the chorus is made up of two parts, dance and song?
Cle. True.
Ath. Then he who is well educated will be able to sing and dance
well?
Cle. I suppose that he will.
Ath. Let us see; what are we saying?
Cle. What?
Ath. He sings well and dances well; now must we add that he sings
what is good and dances what is good?
Cle. Let us make the addition.
Ath. We will suppose that he knows the good to be good, and the
bad to be bad, and makes use of them accordingly: which now is the
better trained in dancing and music-he who is able to move his body
and to use his voice in what is understood to be the right manner, but

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