republic (books 6 - 10)
Very true, he said.
On the other hand, those steadfast natures which can better
be depended upon, which in a battle are impregnable to fear
and immovable, are equally immovable when there is anything
to be learned; they are always in a torpid state, and are apt to
yawn and go to sleep over any intellectual toil.
And yet we were saying that both qualities were necessary in
those to whom the higher education is to be imparted, and who
are to share in any office or command.
Certainly, he said.
And will they be a class which is rarely found?
Then the aspirant must not only be tested in those labors
and dangers and pleasures which we mentioned before, but
there is another kind of probation which we did not mention--
he must be exercised also in many kinds of knowledge, to see
whether the soul will be able to endure the highest of all, or will
faint under them, as in any other studies and exercises.
Yes, he said, you are quite right in testing them. But what
do you mean by the highest of all knowledge?
You may remember, I said, that we divided the soul into
three parts; and distinguished the several natures of justice,
temperance, courage, and wisdom?
Indeed, he said, if I had forgotten, I should not deserve to
And do you remember the word of caution which preceded
the discussion of them?
To what do you refer?
We were saying, if I am not mistaken, that he who wanted
to see them in their perfect beauty must take a longer and more
circuitous way, at the end of which they would appear; but that
we could add on a popular exposition of them on a level with
the discussion which had preceded. And you replied that
such an exposition would be enough for you, and so the in-
quiry was continued in what to me seemed to be a very inac-
curate manner; whether you were satisfied or not, it is for
you to say.
Yes, he said, I thought and the others thought that you gave
us a fair measure of truth.
But, my friend, I said, a measure of such things which in
any degree falls short of the whole truth is not fair measure;
for nothing imperfect is the measure of anything, although per-
sons are too apt to be contented and think that they need search
Not an uncommon case when people are indolent.
Yes, I said; and there cannot be any worse fault in a guardian