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phaedo   


loves, and lusts, and fears, and fancies, and idols, and every sort of

folly, prevents our ever having, as people say, so much as a

thought. For whence come wars, and fightings, and factions? whence but

from the body and the lusts of the body? For wars are occasioned by

the love of money, and money has to be acquired for the sake and in

the service of the body; and in consequence of all these things the

time which ought to be given to philosophy is lost. Moreover, if there

is time and an inclination toward philosophy, yet the body

introduces a turmoil and confusion and fear into the course of

speculation, and hinders us from seeing the truth: and all

experience shows that if we would have pure knowledge of anything we

must be quit of the body, and the soul in herself must behold all

things in themselves: then I suppose that we shall attain that which

we desire, and of which we say that we are lovers, and that is wisdom,

not while we live, but after death, as the argument shows; for if

while in company with the body the soul cannot have pure knowledge,

one of two things seems to follow-either knowledge is not to be

attained at all, or, if at all, after death. For then, and not till

then, the soul will be in herself alone and without the body. In

this present life, I reckon that we make the nearest approach to

knowledge when we have the least possible concern or interest in the

body, and are not saturated with the bodily nature, but remain pure

until the hour when God himself is pleased to release us. And then the

foolishness of the body will be cleared away and we shall be pure

and hold converse with other pure souls, and know of ourselves the

clear light everywhere; and this is surely the light of truth. For

no impure thing is allowed to approach the pure. These are the sort of

words, Simmias, which the true lovers of wisdom cannot help saying

to one another, and thinking. You will agree with me in that?

Certainly, Socrates.

But if this is true, O my friend, then there is great hope that,

going whither I go, I shall there be satisfied with that which has

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