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Pages of republic (books 6 - 10)



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republic (books 6 - 10)   


greater number deserve the severest punishment.

That is certainly what people say.

Yes; and what else would you expect, I said, when you think
of the puny creatures who, seeing this land open to them--a
land well stocked with fair names and showy titles--like pris-
oners running out of prison into a sanctuary, take a leap out
of their trades into philosophy; those who do so being probably
the cleverest hands at their own miserable crafts? For, al-
though philosophy be in this evil case, still there remains a dig-
nity about her which is not to be found in the arts. And many
are thus attracted by her whose natures are imperfect and whose
souls are maimed and disfigured by their meannesses, as their
bodies are by their trades and crafts. Is not this unavoidable?

Yes.

Are they not exactly like a bald little tinker who has just got
out of durance and come into a fortune--he takes a bath and
puts on a new coat, and is decked out as a bridegroom going to
marry his master's daughter, who is left poor and desolate?

A most exact parallel.

What will be the issue of such marriages? Will they not
be vile and bastard?

There can be no question of it.

And when persons who are unworthy of education approach
philosophy and make an alliance with her who is in a rank above
them, what sort of ideas and opinions are likely to be gener-
ated? Will they not be sophisms captivating to the ear,
having nothing in them genuine, or worthy of or akin to true
wisdom?

No doubt, he said.

Then, Adeimantus, I said, the worthy disciples of philosophy
will be but a small remnant: perchance some noble and well-
educated person, detained by exile in her service, who in the
absence of corrupting influences remains devoted to her; or
some lofty soul born in a mean city, the politics of which he
contemns and neglects; and there may be a gifted few who
leave the arts, which they justly despise, and come to her; or
peradventure there are some who are restrained by our friend
Theages's bridle; for everything in the life of Theages con-
spired to divert him from philosophy; but ill-health kept him
away from politics. My own case of the internal sign is hard-
ly worth mentioning, for rarely, if ever, has such a monitor been
given to any other man. Those who belong to this small class
have tasted how sweet and blessed a possession philosophy is,
and have also seen enough of the madness of the multitude;
and they know that no politician is honest, nor is there any
champion of justice at whose side they may fight and be saved.
Such a one may be compared to a man who has fallen among
wild beasts--he will not join in the wickedness of his fellows,
but neither is he able singly to resist all their fierce natures, and
therefore seeing that he would be of no use to the State or to
his friends, and reflecting that he would have to throw away his
life without doing any good either to himself or others, he holds
his peace, and goes his own way. He is like one who, in the
storm of dust and sleet which the driving wind hurries along,

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