Even among them some are happier than others; and the happiest
both in themselves and their place of abode are those who have
practised the civil and social virtues which are called temperance and
justice, and are acquired by habit and attention without philosophy
Why are they the happiest?
Because they may be expected to pass into some gentle, social nature
which is like their own, such as that of bees or ants, or even back
again into the form of man, and just and moderate men spring from
That is not impossible.
But he who is a philosopher or lover of learning, and is entirely
pure at departing, is alone permitted to reach the gods. And this is
the reason, Simmias and Cebes, why the true votaries of philosophy
abstain from all fleshly lusts, and endure and refuse to give
themselves up to them-not because they fear poverty or the ruin of
their families, like the lovers of money, and the world in general;
nor like the lovers of power and honor, because they dread the
dishonor or disgrace of evil deeds.
No, Socrates, that would not become them, said Cebes.
No, indeed, he replied; and therefore they who have a care of
their souls, and do not merely live in the fashions of the body, say
farewell to all this; they will not walk in the ways of the blind: and
when philosophy offers them purification and release from evil, they
feel that they ought not to resist her influence, and to her they
incline, and whither she leads they follow her.
What do you mean, Socrates?
I will tell you, he said. The lovers of knowledge are conscious that
their souls, when philosophy receives them, are simply fastened and
glued to their bodies: the soul is only able to view existence through
the bars of a prison, and not in her own nature; she is wallowing in
the mire of all ignorance; and philosophy, seeing the terrible