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phaedrus   



destroyed, there could be no beginning out of anything, nor anything

out of a beginning; and all things must have a beginning. And

therefore the self-moving is the beginning of motion; and this can

neither be destroyed nor begotten, else the whole heavens and all

creation would collapse and stand still, and never again have motion

or birth. But if the self-moving is proved to be immortal, he who

affirms that self-motion is the very idea and essence of the soul will

not be put to confusion. For the body which is moved from without is

soulless; but that which is moved from within has a soul, for such

is the nature of the soul. But if this be true, must not the soul be

the self-moving, and therefore of necessity unbegotten and immortal?

Enough of the soul's immortality.

Of the nature of the soul, though her true form be ever a theme of

large and more than mortal discourse, let me speak briefly, and in a

figure. And let the figure be composite-a pair of winged horses and

a charioteer. Now the winged horses and the charioteers of the gods

are all of them noble and of noble descent, but those of other races

are mixed; the human charioteer drives his in a pair; and one of

them is noble and of noble breed, and the other is ignoble and of

ignoble breed; and the driving of them of necessity gives a great deal

of trouble to him. I will endeavour to explain to you in what way

the mortal differs from the immortal creature. The soul in her

totality has the care of inanimate being everywhere, and traverses the

whole heaven in divers forms appearing--when perfect and fully

winged she soars upward, and orders the whole world; whereas the

imperfect soul, losing her wings and drooping in her flight at last

settles on the solid ground-there, finding a home, she receives an

earthly frame which appears to be self-moved, but is really moved by

her power; and this composition of soul and body is called a living

and mortal creature. For immortal no such union can be reasonably

believed to be; although fancy, not having seen nor surely known the

nature of God, may imagine an immortal creature having both a body and

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