republic (books 6 - 10)
Then the sun is not sight, but the author of sight who is
recognized by sight?
True, he said.
And this is he whom I call the child of the good, whom the
good begat in his own likeness, to be in the visible world, in
relation to sight and the things of sight, what the good is in the
intellectual world in relation to mind and the things of mind:
Will you be a little more explicit? he said.
Why, you know, I said, that the eyes, when a person directs
them toward objects on which the light of day is no longer
shining, but the moon and stars only, see dimly, and are nearly
blind; they seem to have no clearness of vision in them?
But when they are directed toward objects on which the sun
shines, they see clearly and there is sight in them?
And the soul is like the eye: when resting upon that on which
truth and being shine, the soul perceives and understands, and
is radiant with intelligence; but when turned toward the twi-
light of becoming and perishing, then she has opinion only,
and goes blinking about, and is first of one opinion and then of
another, and seems to have no intelligence?
Now, that which imparts truth to the known and the power
of knowing to the knower is what I would have you term the
idea of good, and this you will deem to be the cause of science,
and of truth in so far as the latter becomes the subject of knowl-
edge; beautiful too, as are both truth and knowledge, you will
be right in esteeming this other nature as more beautiful than
either; and, as in the previous instance, light and sight may be
truly said to be like the sun, and yet not to be the sun, so in this
other sphere, science and truth may be deemed to be like the
good, but not the good; the good has a place of honor yet
What a wonder of beauty that must be, he said, which is the
author of science and truth, and yet surpasses them in beauty;
for you surely cannot mean to say that pleasure is the good?
God forbid, I replied; but may I ask you to consider the
image in another point of view?
In what point of view?
You would say, would you not? that the sun is not only the
author of visibility in all visible things, but of generation and
nourishment and growth, though he himself is not generation?
In like manner the good may be said to be not only the author
of knowledge to all things known, but of their being and es-