republic (books 6 - 10)
is her dwelling-place from being a house of death.
True, I said; if the inherent natural vice or evil of the soul
is unable to kill or destroy her, hardly will that which is ap-
pointed to be the destruction of some other body, destroy a soul
or anything else except that of which it was appointed to be
Yes, that can hardly be.
But the soul which cannot be destroyed by an evil, whether
inherent or external, must exist forever, and, if existing for-
ever, must be immortal?
That is the conclusion, I said; and, if a true conclusion, then
the souls must always be the same, for if none be destroyed
they will not diminish in number. Neither will they increase,
for the increase of the immortal natures must come from some-
thing mortal, and all things would thus end in immortality.
But this we cannot believe--reason will not allow us--any
more than we can believe the soul, in her truest nature, to be
full of variety and difference and dissimilarity.
What do you mean? he said.
The soul, I said, being, as is now proven, immortal, must
be the fairest of compositions and cannot be compounded of
Her immortality is demonstrated by the previous argument,
and there are many other proofs; but to see her as she really
is, not as we now behold her, marred by communion with the
body and other miseries, you must contemplate her with the
eye of reason, in her original purity; and then her beauty will
be revealed, and justice and injustice and all the things which
we have described will be manifested more clearly. Thus far,
we have spoken the truth concerning her as she appears at pres-
ent, but we must remember also that we have seen her only in
a condition which may be compared to that of the sea-god Glau-
cus, whose original image can hardly be discerned because his
natural members are broken off and crushed and damaged by
the waves in all sorts of ways, and incrustations have grown
over them of sea-weed and shells and stones, so that he is more
like some monster than he is to his own natural form. And
the soul which we behold is in a similar condition, disfigured
by ten thousand ills. But not there, Glaucon, not there must
At her love of wisdom. Let us see whom she affects, and
what society and converse she seeks in virtue of her near kin-
dred with the immortal and eternal and divine; also how differ-
ent she would become if, wholly following this superior princi-
ple, and borne by a divine impulse out of the ocean in which
she now is, and disengaged from the stones and shells and
things of earth and rock which in wild variety spring up around
her because she feeds upon earth, and is overgrown by the good