republic (books 6 - 10)
be blunted, nor the force of his desire abate until he have at-
tained the knowledge of the true nature of every essence by a
sympathetic and kindred power in the soul, and by that power
drawing near and mingling and becoming incorporate with
very being, having begotten mind and truth, he will have knowl-
edge and will live and grow truly, and then, and not till then,
will he cease from his travail.
Nothing, he said, can be more just than such a description
And will the love of a lie be any part of a philosopher's
nature? Will he not utterly hate a lie?
And when truth is the captain, we cannot suspect any evil
of the band which he leads?
Justice and health of mind will be of the company, and tem-
perance will follow after?
True, he replied.
Neither is there any reason why I should again set in array
the philosopher's virtues, as you will doubtless remember that
courage, magnificence, apprehension, memory, were his natural
gifts. And you objected that, although no one could deny
what I then said, still, if you leave words and look at facts,
the persons who are thus described are some of them manifestly
useless, and the greater number utterly depraved, we were then
led to inquire into the grounds of these accusations, and have
now arrived at the point of asking why are the majority bad,
which question of necessity brought us back to the examination
and definition of the true philosopher.
And we have next to consider the corruptions of the philo-
sophic nature, why so many are spoiled and so few escape spoil-
ing--I am speaking of those who were said to be useless but
not wicked--and, when we have done with them, we will speak
of the imitators of philosophy, what manner of men are they
who aspire after a profession which is above them and of which
they are unworthy, and then, by their manifold inconsistencies,
bring upon philosophy and upon all philosophers that universal
reprobation of which we speak.
What are these corruptions? he said.
I will see if I can explain them to you. Everyone will admit
that a nature having in perfection all the qualities which we re-
quired in a philosopher is a rare plant which is seldom seen
And what numberless and powerful causes tend to destroy
these rare natures!