republic (books 6 - 10)
to be filled with malice and envy, contending against men; his
eye is ever directed toward things fixed and immutable, which
he sees neither injuring nor injured by one another, but all in
order moving according to reason; these he imitates, and to
these he will, as far as he can, conform himself. Can a man
help imitating that with which he holds reverential converse?
And the philosopher holding converse with the divine order,
becomes orderly and divine, as far as the nature of man allows;
but like everyone else, he will suffer from detraction.
And if a necessity be laid upon him of fashioning, not only
himself, but human nature generally, whether in States or indi-
viduals, into that which he beholds elsewhere, will be, think
you, be an unskilful artificer of justice, temperance, and every
Anything but unskilful.
And if the world perceives that what we are saying about
him is the truth, will they be angry with philosophy? Will
they disbelieve us, when we tell them that no State can be happy
which is not designed by artists who imitate the heavenly pat-
They will not be angry if they understand, he said. But how
will they draw out the plan of which you are speaking?
They will begin by taking the State and the manners of men,
from which, as from a tablet, they will rub out the picture, and
leave a clean surface. This is no easy task. But whether easy
or not, herein will lie the difference between them and every
other legislator--they will have nothing to do either with in-
dividual or State, and will inscribe no laws, until they have
either found, or themselves made, a clean surface.
They will be very right, he said.
Having effected this, they will proceed to trace an outline
of the constitution?
And when they are filling in the work, as I conceive, they will
often turn their eyes upward and downward: I mean that they
will first look at absolute justice and beauty and temperance,
and again at the human copy; and will mingle and temper the
various elements of life into the image of a man; and this they
will conceive according to that other image, which, when exist-
ing among men, Homer calls the form and likeness of God.
Very true, he said.
And one feature they will erase, and another they will put
in, until they have made the ways of men, as far as possible,
agreeable to the ways of God?
Indeed, he said, in no way could they make a fairer picture.
And now, I said, are we beginning to persuade those whom