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theaetetus   


but not at a distance, or know the same thing with more or less
intensity, and so on without end. Such questions might have been put
to you by a light-armed mercenary, who argued for pay. He would have
lain in wait for you, and when you took up the position, that sense is
knowledge, he would have made an assault upon hearing, smelling, and
the other senses;-he would have shown you no mercy; and while you were
lost in envy and admiration of his wisdom, he would have got you
into his net, out of which you would not have escaped until you had
come to an understanding about the sum to be paid for your release.
Well, you ask, and how will Protagoras reinforce his position? Shall I
answer for him?
Theaet. By all means.
Soc. He will repeat all those things which we have been urging on
his behalf, and then he will close with us in disdain, and say:-The
worthy Socrates asked a little boy, whether the same man could
remember and not know the same thing, and the boy said No, because
he was frightened, and could not see what was coming, and then
Socrates made fun of poor me. The truth is, O slatternly Socrates,
that when you ask questions about any assertion of mine, and the
person asked is found tripping, if he has answered as I should have
answered, then I am refuted, but if he answers something else, then he
is refuted and not I. For do you really suppose that any one would
admit the memory which a man has of an impression which has passed
away to be the same with that which he experienced at the time?
Assuredly not. Or would he hesitate to acknowledge that the same man
may know and not know the same thing? Or, if he is afraid of making
this admission, would he ever grant that one who has become unlike
is the same as before he became unlike? Or would he admit that a man
is one at all, and not rather many and infinite as the changes which
take place in him? I speak by the card in order to avoid entanglements
of words. But, O my good sir, he would say, come to the argument in
a more generous spirit; and either show, if you can, that our
sensations are not relative and individual, or, if you admit them to
be so, prove that this does not involve the consequence that the
appearance becomes, or, if you will have the word, is, to the
individual only. As to your talk about pigs and baboons, you are
yourself behaving like a pig, and you teach your hearers to make sport
of my writings in the same ignorant manner; but this is not to your
credit. For I declare that the truth is as I have written, and that
each of us is a measure of existence and of non-existence. Yet one man
may be a thousand times better than another in proportion as different
things are and appear to him.
And I am far from saying that wisdom and the wise man have no
existence; but I say that the wise man is he who makes the evils which
appear and are to a man, into goods which are and appear to him. And I
would beg you not to my words in the letter, but to take the meaning
of them as I will explain them. Remember what has been already
said,-that to the sick man his food appears to be and is bitter, and
to the man in health the opposite of bitter. Now I cannot conceive
that one of these men can be or ought to be made wiser than the other:
nor can you assert that the sick man because he has one impression
is foolish, and the healthy man because he has another is wise; but
the one state requires to be changed into the other, the worse into
the better. As in education, a change of state has to be effected, and
the sophist accomplishes by words the change which the physician works
by the aid of drugs. Not that any one ever made another think truly,
who previously thought falsely. For no one can think what is not, or
think anything different from that which he feels; and this is
always true. But as the inferior habit of mind has thoughts of kindred
nature, so I conceive that a good mind causes men to have good
thoughts; and these which the inexperienced call true, I maintain to
be only better, and not truer than others. And, O my dear Socrates,
I do not call wise men tadpoles: far from it; I say that they are
the physicians of the human body, and the husbandmen of plants-for the

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