laws (books 7 - 12)
assist you in framing one.
Cle. Very good.
Ath. Then let us not answer as if we would look straight at the sun,
making ourselves darkness at midday-I mean as if we were under the
impression that we could see with mortal eyes, or know adequately
the nature of mind;-it will be safer to look at the image only.
Cle. What do you mean?
Ath. Let us select of the ten motions the one which mind chiefly
resembles; this I will bring to your recollection, and will then
make the answer on behalf of us all.
Cle. That will be excellent.
Ath. You will surely remember our saying that all things were either
at rest or in motion?
Cle. I do.
Ath. And that of things in motion some were moving in one place, and
others in more than one?
Ath. Of these two kinds of motion, that which moves in one place
must move about a centre like globes made in a lathe, and is most
entirely akin and similar to the circular movement of mind.
Cle. What do you mean?
Ath. In saying that both mind and the motion which is in one place
move in the same and like manner, in and about the same, and in
relation to the same, and according to one proportion and order, and
are like the motion of a globe, we invented a fair image, which does
no discredit to our ingenuity.
Cle. It does us great credit.
Ath. And the motion of the other sort which is not after the same
manner, nor in the same, nor about the same, nor in relation to the
same, nor in one place, nor in order, nor according to any rule or
proportion, may be said to be akin to senselessness and folly?
Cle. That is most true.
Ath. Then, after what has been said, there is no difficulty in
distinctly stating, that since soul carries all things round, either
the best soul or the contrary must of necessity carry round and
order and arrange the revolution of the heaven.
Cle. And judging from what has been said, Stranger, there would be
impiety in asserting that any but the most perfect soul or souls
carries round the heavens.
Ath. You have understood my meaning right well, Cleinias, and now
let me ask you another question.
Cle. What are you going to ask?
Ath. If the soul carries round the sun and moon, and the other
stars, does she not carry round each individual of them?
Ath. Then of one of them let us speak, and the same argument will
apply to all.
Cle. Which will you take?
Ath. Every one sees the body of the sun, but no one sees his soul,
nor the soul of any other body living or dead; and yet there is
great reason to believe that this nature, unperceived by any of our
senses, is circumfused around them all, but is perceived by mind;
and therefore by mind and reflection only let us apprehend the
Cle. What is that?
Ath. If the soul carries round the sun, we shall not be far wrong in
supposing one of three alternatives.
Cle. What are they?
Ath. Either the soul which moves the sun this way and that,
resides within the circular and visible body, like the soul which
carries us about every way; or the soul provides herself with an
external body of fire or air, as some affirm, and violently propels
body by body; or thirdly, she is without such abody, but guides the
sun by some extraordinary and wonderful power.