And that by greatness only great things become great and greater
greater, and by smallness the less becomes less.
Then if a person remarks that A is taller by a head than B, and B
less by a head than A, you would refuse to admit this, and would
stoutly contend that what you mean is only that the greater is greater
by, and by reason of, greatness, and the less is less only by, or by
reason of, smallness; and thus you would avoid the danger of saying
that the greater is greater and the less by the measure of the head,
which is the same in both, and would also avoid the monstrous
absurdity of supposing that the greater man is greater by reason of
the head, which is small. Would you not be afraid of that?
Indeed, I should, said Cebes, laughing.
In like manner you would be afraid to say that ten exceeded eight
by, and by reason of, two; but would say by, and by reason of, number;
or that two cubits exceed one cubit not by a half, but by
magnitude?-that is what you would say, for there is the same danger in
Very true, he said.
Again, would you not be cautious of affirming that the addition of
one to one, or the division of one, is the cause of two? And you would
loudly asseverate that you know of no way in which anything comes into
existence except by participation in its own proper essence, and
consequently, as far as you know, the only cause of two is the
participation in duality; that is the way to make two, and the
participation in one is the way to make one. You would say: I will let
alone puzzles of division and addition-wiser heads than mine may
answer them; inexperienced as I am, and ready to start, as the proverb
says, at my own shadow, I cannot afford to give up the sure ground
of a principle. And if anyone assails you there, you would not mind
him, or answer him until you had seen whether the consequences which
follow agree with one another or not, and when you are further