republic (books 6 - 10)
But when a man is drawn in two opposite directions, to and
from the same object, this, as we affirm, necessarily implies two
distinct principles in him?
One of them is ready to follow the guidance of the law?
How do you mean?
The law would say that to be patient under suffering is best,
and that we should not give way to impatience, as there is no
knowing whether such things are good or evil; and nothing is
gained by impatience; also, because no human thing is of seri-
ous importance, and grief stands in the way of that which at
the moment is most required.
What is most required? he asked.
That we should take counsel about what has happened, and
when the dice have been thrown order our affairs in the way
which reason deems best; not, like children who have had a
fall, keeping hold of the part struck and wasting time in setting
up a howl, but always accustoming the soul forthwith to apply
a remedy, raising up that which is sickly and fallen, banishing
the cry of sorrow by the healing art.
Yes, he said, that is the true way of meeting the attacks of
Yes, I said; and the higher principle is ready to follow this
suggestion of reason?
And the other principle, which inclines us to recollection of
our troubles and to lamentation, and can never have enough of
them, we may call irrational, useless, and cowardly?
Indeed, we may.
And does not the latter--I mean the rebellious principle--
furnish a great variety of materials for imitation? Whereas
the wise and calm temperament, being always nearly equable,
is not easy to imitate or to appreciate when imitated, especially
at a public festival when a promiscuous crowd is assembled in a
theatre. For the feeling represented is one to which they are
Then the imitative poet who aims at being popular is not by
nature made, nor is his art intended, to please or to affect the
rational principle in the soul; but he will prefer the passionate
and fitful temper, which is easily imitated?
And now we may fairly take him and place him by the side
of the painter, for he is like him in two ways: first, inasmuch
as his creations have an inferior degree of truth--in this, I say,
he is like him; and he is also like him in being concerned with
an inferior part of the soul; and therefore we shall be right in
refusing to admit him into a well-ordered State, because he