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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)

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laws (books 7 - 12)   

fitted for the duty of a guardian. In the next place, it will not be
easy for them to discover themselves what they ought to learn, or
become the disciple of one who has already made the discovery.
Furthermore, to write down the times at which, and during which,
they ought to receive the several kinds of instruction, would be a
vain thing; for the learners themselves do not know what is learned to
advantage until the knowledge which is the result of learning has
found a place in the soul of each. And so these details, although they
could not be truly said to be secret, might be said to be incapable of
being stated beforehand, because when stated they would have no
Cle. What then are we to do, Stranger, under these circumstances?
Ath. As the proverb says, the answer is no secret, but open to all
of us:-We must risk the whole on the chance of throwing, as they
say, thrice six or thrice ace, and I am willing to share with you
the danger by stating and explaining to you my views about education
and nurture, which is the question coming to the surface again. The
danger is not a slight or ordinary one, and I would advise you,
Cleinias, in particular, to see to the matter; for if you order
rightly the city of the Magnetes, or whatever name God may give it,
you will obtain the greatest glory; or at any rate you will be thought
the most courageous of men in the estimation of posterity. Dear
companions, if this our divine assembly can only be established, to
them we will hand over the city; none of the present company of
legislators, as I may call them, would hesitate about that. And the
state will be perfected and become a waking reality, which a little
while ago we attempted to create as a dream and in idea only, mingling
together reason and mind in one image, in the hope that our citizens
might be duly mingled and rightly educated; and being educated, and
dwelling in the citadel of the land, might become perfect guardians,
such as we have never seen in all our previous life, by reason of
the saving virtue which is in them.
Meg. Dear Cleinias, after all that has been said, either we must
detain the Stranger, and by supplications and in all manner of ways
make him share in the foundation of the city, or we must give up the
Cle. Very true, Megillus; and you must join with me in detaining
Meg. I will.


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