republic (books 6 - 10)
hands now the power which he will one day possess.
That often happens, he said.
And what will a man such as he is be likely to do under such
circumstances, especially if he be a citizen of a great city, rich
and noble, and a tall, proper youth? Will he not be full of
boundless aspirations, and fancy himself able to manage the
affairs of Hellenes and of barbarians, and having got such no-
tions into his head will he not dilate and elevate himself in the
fulness of vain pomp and senseless pride?
To be sure he will.
Now, when he is in this state of mind, if someone gently
comes to him and tells him that he is a fool and must get under-
standing, which can only be got by slaving for it, do you think
that, under such adverse circumstances, he will be easily in-
duced to listen?
And even if there be someone who through inherent good-
ness or natural reasonableness has had his eyes opened a little
and is humbled and taken captive by philosophy, how will his
friends behave when they think that they are likely to lose the
advantage which they were hoping to reap from his compan-
ionship? Will they not do and say anything to prevent him
from yielding to his better nature and to render his teacher
powerless, using to this end private intrigues as well as public
There can be no doubt of it.
And how can one who is thus circumstanced ever become
Then were we not right in saying that even the very qualities
which make a man a philosopher, may, if he be ill-educated,
divert him from philosophy, no less than riches and their ac-
companiments and the other so-called goods of life?
We were quite right.
Thus, my excellent friend, is brought about all that ruin and
failure which I have been describing of the natures best adapted
to the best of all pursuits; they are natures which we maintain
to be rare at any time; this being the class out of which come
the men who are the authors of the greatest evil to States and
individuals; and also of the greatest good when the tide carries
them in that direction; but a small man never was the doer of
any great thing either to individuals or to States.
That is most true, he said.
And so philosophy is left desolate, with her marriage rite
incomplete: for her own have fallen away and forsaken her,
and while they are leading a false and unbecoming life, other
unworthy persons, seeing that she has no kinsmen to be her
protectors, enter in and dishonor her; and fasten upon her the
reproaches which, as you say, her reprovers utter, who affirm
of her votaries that some are good for nothing, and that the