republic (books 6 - 10)
What classes of things have a greater share of pure ex-
istence, in your judgment--those of which food and drink and
condiments and all kinds of sustenance are examples, or the
class which contains true opinion and knowledge and mind
and all the different kinds of virtue? Put the question in this
way: Which has a more pure being--that which is concerned
with the invariable, the immortal, and the true, and is of such
a nature, and is found in such natures; or that which is con-
cerned with and found in the variable and mortal, and is itself
variable and mortal?
Far purer, he replied, is the being of that which is con-
cerned with the invariable.
And does the essence of the invariable partake of knowl-
edge in the same degree as of essence?
Yes, of knowledge in the same degree.
And of truth in the same degree?
And, conversely, that which has less of truth will also have
less of essence?
Then, in general, those kinds of things which are in the
service of the body have less of truth and essence than those
which are in the service of the soul?
And has not the body itself less of truth and essence than
What is filled with more real existence, and actually has a
more real existence, is more really filled than that which is
filled with less real existence and is less real?
And if there be a pleasure in being filled with that which
is according to nature, that which is more really filled with
more real being will more really and truly enjoy true pleas-
ure; whereas that which participates in less real being will
be less truly and surely satisfied, and will participate in an
illusory and less real pleasure?
Those, then, who know not wisdom and virtue, and are al-
ways busy with gluttony and sensuality, go down and up
again as far as the mean; and in this region they move at
random throughout life, but they never pass into the true
upper world; thither they neither look, nor do they ever find
their way, neither are they truly filled with true being, nor do
they taste of pure and abiding pleasure. Like cattle, with
their eyes always looking down and their heads stooping to
the earth, that is, to the dining-table, they fatten and feed and
breed, and, in their excessive love of these delights, they kick
and butt at one another with horns and hoofs which are made