republic (books 6 - 10)
Shall I give you an illustration of them?
Let me hear.
You would allow, I said, that there is in nature an upper
and lower and middle region?
And if a person were to go from the lower to the middle
region, would he not imagine that he is going up; and he
who is standing in the middle and sees whence he has come,
would imagine that he is already in the upper region, if he
has never seen the true upper world?
To be sure, he said; how can he think otherwise?
But if he were taken back again he would imagine, and truly
imagine, that he was descending?
All that would arise out of his ignorance of the true upper
and middle and lower regions?
Then can you wonder that persons who are inexperienced
in the truth, as they have wrong ideas about many other things,
should also have wrong ideas about pleasure and pain and
the intermediate state; so that when they are only being
drawn toward the painful they feel pain and think the pain
which they experience to be real, and in like manner, when
drawn away from pain to the neutral or intermediate state,
they firmly believe that they have reached the goal of satiety
and pleasure; they, not knowing pleasure, err in contrasting
pain with the absence of pain, which is like contrasting black
with gray instead of white--can you wonder, I say, at this?
No, indeed; I should be much more disposed to wonder
at the opposite.
Look at the matter thus: Hunger, thirst, and the like, are
inanitions of the bodily state?
And ignorance and folly are inanitions of the soul?
And food and wisdom are the corresponding satisfactions
And is the satisfaction derived from that which has less or
from that which has more existence the truer?
Clearly, from that which has more.