republic (books 6 - 10)
Then a soul which forgets cannot be ranked among genuine
philosophic natures; we must insist that the philosopher should
have a good memory?
And once more, the inharmonious and unseemly nature can
only tend to disproportion?
And do you consider truth to be akin to proportion or to
Then, besides other qualities, we must try to find a naturally
well-proportioned and gracious mind, which will move spon-
taneously toward the true being of everything.
Well, and do not all these qualities, which we have been
enumerating, go together, and are they not, in a manner, nec-
essary to a soul, which is to have a full and perfect participation
They are absolutely necessary, he replied.
And must not that be a blameless study which he only can
pursue who has the gift of a good memory, and is quick to
learn--noble, gracious, the friend of truth, justice, courage,
temperance, who are his kindred?
The god of jealousy himself, he said, could find no fault
with such a study.
And to men like him, I said, when perfected by years and
education, and to these only you will intrust the State.
Here Adeimantus interposed and said: To these statements,
Socrates, no one can offer a reply; but when you talk in this
way, a strange feeling passes over the minds of your hearers:
They fancy that they are led astray a little at each step in the
argument, owing to their own want of skill in asking and an-
swering questions; these littles accumulate, and at the end of
the discussion they are found to have sustained a mighty over-
throw and all their former notions appear to be turned upside
down. And as unskilful players of draughts are at last shut
up by their more skilful adversaries and have no piece to move,
so they too find themselves shut up at last; for they have noth-
ing to say in this new game of which words are the counters;
and yet all the time they are in the right. The observation is
suggested to me by what is now occurring. For any one of
us might say, that although in words he is not able to meet you
at each step of the argument, he sees as a fact that the votaries
of philosophy, when they carry on the study, not only in youth
as a part of education, but as the pursuit of their maturer years,
most of them become strange monsters, not to say utter rogues,
and that those who may be considered the best of them are made
useless to the world by the very study which you extol.
Well, and do you think that those who say so are wrong?