I wish that they could, Socrates, but I greatly fear that
to-morrow at this time there will be no one able to give a reason
Then you are not of opinion, Simmias, that all men know these
Then they are in process of recollecting that which they learned
But when did our souls acquire this knowledge?-not since we were
born as men?
And therefore previously?
Then, Simmias, our souls must have existed before they were in the
form of man-without bodies, and must have had intelligence.
Unless indeed you suppose, Socrates, that these notions were given
us at the moment of birth; for this is the only time that remains.
Yes, my friend, but when did we lose them? for they are not in us
when we are born-that is admitted. Did we lose them at the moment of
receiving them, or at some other time?
No, Socrates, I perceive that I was unconsciously talking nonsense.
Then may we not say, Simmias, that if, as we are always repeating,
there is an absolute beauty, and goodness, and essence in general, and
to this, which is now discovered to be a previous condition of our
being, we refer all our sensations, and with this compare
them-assuming this to have a prior existence, then our souls must have
had a prior existence, but if not, there would be no force in the
argument? There can be no doubt that if these absolute ideas existed
before we were born, then our souls must have existed before we were
born, and if not the ideas, then not the souls.
Yes, Socrates; I am convinced that there is precisely the same