or return into one another, then you know that all things would at
last have the same form and pass into the same state, and there
would be no more generation of them.
What do you mean? he said.
A simple thing enough, which I will illustrate by the case of sleep,
he replied. You know that if there were no compensation of sleeping
and waking, the story of the sleeping Endymion would in the end have
no meaning, because all other things would be asleep, too, and he
would not be thought of. Or if there were composition only, and no
division of substances, then the chaos of Anaxagoras would come again.
And in like manner, my dear Cebes, if all things which partook of life
were to die, and after they were dead remained in the form of death,
and did not come to life again, all would at last die, and nothing
would be alive-how could this be otherwise? For if the living spring
from any others who are not the dead, and they die, must not all
things at last be swallowed up in death?
There is no escape from that, Socrates, said Cebes; and I think that
what you say is entirely true.
Yes, he said, Cebes, I entirely think so, too; and we are not
walking in a vain imagination; but I am confident in the belief that
there truly is such a thing as living again, and that the living
spring from the dead, and that the souls of the dead are in existence,
and that the good souls have a better portion than the evil.
Cebes added: Your favorite doctrine, Socrates, that knowledge is
simply recollection, if true, also necessarily implies a previous time
in which we learned that which we now recollect. But this would be
impossible unless our soul was in some place before existing in the
human form; here, then, is another argument of the soul's immortality.
But tell me, Cebes, said Simmias, interposing, what proofs are given
of this doctrine of recollection? I am not very sure at this moment
that I remember them.
One excellent proof, said Cebes, is afforded by questions. If you