republic (books 6 - 10)
sence, and yet the good is not essence, but far exceeds essence
in dignity and power.
Glaucon said, with a ludicrous earnestness: By the light of
heaven, how amazing!
Yes, I said, and the exaggeration may be set down to you;
for you made me utter my fancies.
And pray continue to utter them; at any rate let us hear if
there is anything more to be said about the similitude of the
Yes, I said, there is a great deal more.
Then omit nothing, however slight.
I will do my best, I said; but I should think that a great deal
will have to be omitted.
I hope not, he said.
You have to Imagine, then, that there are two ruling powers,
and that one of them is set over the intellectual world, the other
over the visible. I do not say heaven, lest you should fancy
that I am playing upon the name (ovpavos, opatos). May I
suppose that you have this distinction of the visible and intel-
ligible fixed in your mind?
Now take a line which has been cut into two unequal parts,
and divide each of them again in the same proportion, and sup-
pose the two main divisions to answer, one to the visible and
the other to the intelligible, and then compare the subdivisions
in respect of their clearness and want of clearness, and you will
find that the first section in the sphere of the visible consists of
images. And by images I mean, in the first place, shadows,
and in the second place, reflections in water and in solid, smooth
and polished bodies and the like: Do you understand?
Yes, I understand.
Imagine, now, the other section, of which this is only the re-
semblance, to include the animals which we see, and everything
that grows or is made.
Would you not admit that both the sections of this division
have different degrees of truth, and that the copy is to the origi-
nal as the sphere of opinion is to the sphere of knowledge?
Next proceed to consider the manner in which the sphere of
the intellectual is to be divided.
In what manner?
Thus: There are two subdivisions, in the lower of which the
soul uses the figures given by the former division as images; the
inquiry can only be hypothetical, and instead of going upward
to a principle descends to the other end; in the higher of the
two, the soul passes out of hypotheses, and goes up to a princi-