republic (books 6 - 10)
of iron; and they kill one another by reason of their insatiable
lust. For they fill themselves with that which is not sub-
stantial, and the part of themselves which they fill is also un-
substantial and incontinent.
Verily, Socrates, said Glaucon, you describe the life of the
many like an oracle.
Their pleasures are mixed with pains--how can they be
otherwise? For they are mere shadows and pictures of the
true, and are colored by contrast, which exaggerates both light
and shade, and so they implant in the minds of fools insane
desires of themselves; and they are fought about as Stesich-
orus says that the Greeks fought about the shadow of Helen
at Troy, in ignorance of the truth.
Something of that sort must inevitably happen.
And must not the like happen with the spirited or passionate
element of the soul? Will not the passionate man who car-
ries his passion into action, be in the like case, whether he is
envious and ambitious, or violent and contentious, or angry
and discontented, if he be seeking to attain honor and victory
and the satisfaction of his anger without reason or sense?
Yes, he said, the same will happen with the spirited ele-
Then may we not confidently assert that the lovers of money
and honor, when they seek their pleasures under the guidance
and in the company of reason and knowledge, and pursue after
and win the pleasures which wisdom shows them, will also
have the truest pleasures in the highest degree which is attain-
able to them, inasmuch as they follow truth; and they will
have the pleasures which are natural to them, if that which
is best for each one is also most natural to him?
Yes, certainly; the best is the most natural.
And when the whole soul follows the philosophical prin-
ciple, and there is no division, the several parts are just, and
do each of them their own business, and enjoy severally the
best and truest pleasures of which they are capable?
But when either of the two other principles prevails, it fails
in attaining its own pleasure, and compels the rest to pursue
after a pleasure which is a shadow only and which is not their
And the greater the interval which separates them from
philosophy and reason, the more strange and illusive will be
And is not that farthest from reason which is at the greatest
distance from law and order?