Simple Republic Book 3 (under construction)

Such are our principles of theology.

But if they are to be courageous they must learn other lessons, such as those that will take away the fear of death

We shall have to obliterate many obnoxious passages, beginning with the verses:

We must also expunge the verse, which tells us how Pluto feared:

Again of Tiresias:

We must beg Homer and the other poets not to be angry if we strike out these and similar passages because the greater the poetical charm of them, the less are they meet for the ears of boys and men who are meant to be free, and who should fear slavery more than death.

We shall have to reject all the terrible and appalling names which describe the world below:

These horrible stories are not useless.

  • Another and a nobler strain must be composed and sung by us.
  • We shall get rid of the weepings and wailings of famous men.
  • They will go with the rest.

    Still less of the gods, as you say, he replied.On your views, we must not admit them.On my views, if you like to father them on me; that we must not admit them is certain.Again, truth should be highly valued; if, as we were saying, a lie is useless to the gods, and useful only as a medicine to men, then the use of such medicines should be restricted to physicians; private individuals have no business with them.Clearly not, he said.If, then, the ruler catches anybody beside himself lying in the State, 'Any of the craftsmen, whether he be priest or physician or carpenter,' he will punish him for introducing a practice which is equally subversive and destructive of ship or State.Indeed. I strongly think that they should not hear that sort of thing.   Undoubtedly. These are not sentiments which can be approved.   That also, he said, I understand; you mean, for example, as in tragedy.You mean, I suspect, to ask whether tragedy and comedy shall be admitted into our State?Certainly.He cannot.Yes, I did; and you are right in thinking that the same persons cannot succeed in both.Any more than they can be rhapsodists and actors at once?True.Neither are comic and tragic actors the same; yet all these things are but imitations.They are so.They must not.Nay, he said, if madness be forbidden, neither may they copy the behaviour of madmen.You mean, I said, if I understand you aright, that there is one sort of narrative style which may be employed by a truly good man when he has anything to say, and that another sort will be used by a man of an opposite character and education.And which are these two sorts?That is the model which such a speaker must necessarily take.I should prefer only to admit the pure imitator of virtue.Yes; quite unsuitable.Yes if we have the power.Glaucon"  (laughing) I fear that the word 'every one' hardly includes me, for I cannot at the moment say what they should be; though I may guess.And which are the harmonies expressive of sorrow? You are musical, and can tell me.The Ionian, and the Lydian; they are termed 'relaxed.'Quite the reverse, he replied; and if so the Dorian and the Phrygian are the only ones which you have left.These are the Dorian and Phrygian harmoniesBut I cannot tell you. I only know that there are some three principles of rhythm out of which metrical systems are framed, just as in sounds there are four notes (i.e. the four notes of the tetrachord.) out of which all the harmonies are composed; that is an observation which I have made. But of what sort of lives they are severally the imitations I am unable to say.Yes, our youth should be trained in music and on the grounds which you mention.The fairest indeed.Yes if the deficiency be in his soul. But if there be any merely bodily defect in another he will be patient of it, and will love all the same.How can that be? Pleasure deprives a man of the use of his faculties quite as much as pain.None whatever.Yes, the greatest.No, nor a madder.Quite true, he said.Certainly not.No, it must never come near them. Yes, a guardian should require another guardian to take care of him is ridiculous.How so?I think not. Yes, that is still more disgraceful.Yes, they do certainly give very strange and newfangled names to diseases.That was surely an extraordinary drink to be given to a person in his condition.A rare reward of his skill!Yes, I said; a reward which a man might fairly expect who never understood that, if Asclepius did not instruct his descendants in valetudinarian arts, the omission arose, not from ignorance or inexperience of such a branch of medicine, but because he knew that in all well-ordered states every individual has an occupation to which he must attend, and has therefore no leisure to spend in continually being ill. This we remark in the case of the artisan, but, ludicrously enough, do not apply the same rule to people of the richer sort.Yes, a man in his condition of life should use the art of medicine thus far only.But with the rich man this is otherwise; of him we do not say that he has any specially appointed work which he must perform, if he would live.He is generally supposed to have nothing to do.Then you never heard of the saying of Phocylides, that as soon as a man has a livelihood he should practise virtue?Nay, he said, I think that he had better begin somewhat sooner.Let us not have a dispute with him about this, I said; but rather ask ourselves: Is the practice of virtue obligatory on the rich man, or can he live without it? And if obligatory on him, then let us raise a further question, whether this dieting of disorders, which is an impediment to the application of the mind in carpentering and the mechanical arts, does not equally stand in the way of the sentiment of Phocylides?Of that, he replied, there can be no doubt; such excessive care of the body, when carried beyond the rules of gymnastic, is most inimical to the practice of virtue.Yes, indeed, I replied, and equally incompatible with the management of a house, an army, or an office of state; and, what is most important of all, irreconcileable with any kind of study or thought or self-reflection—there is a constant suspicion that headache and giddiness are to be ascribed to philosophy, and hence all practising or making trial of virtue in the higher sense is absolutely stopped; for a man is always fancying that he is being made ill, and is in constant anxiety about the state of his body.Yes, likely enough.And therefore our politic Asclepius may be supposed to have exhibited the power of his art only to persons who, being generally of healthy constitution and habits of life, had a definite ailment; such as these he cured by purges and operations, and bade them live as usual, herein consulting the interests of the State; but bodies which disease had penetrated through and through he would not have attempted to cure by gradual processes of evacuation and infusion: he did not want to lengthen out good-for-nothing lives, or to have weak fathers begetting weaker sons;—if a man was not able to live in the ordinary way he had no business to cure him; for such a cure would have been of no use either to himself, or to the State.Then, he said, you regard Asclepius as a statesman.Clearly; and his character is further illustrated by his sons. Note that they were heroes in the days of old and practised the medicines of which I am speaking at the siege of Troy: You will remember how, when Pandarus wounded Menelaus, they'Sucked the blood out of the wound, and sprinkled soothing remedies,'but they never prescribed what the patient was afterwards to eat or drink in the case of Menelaus, any more than in the case of Eurypylus; the remedies, as they conceived, were enough to heal any man who before he was wounded was healthy and regular in his habits; and even though he did happen to drink a posset of Pramnian wine, he might get well all the same. But they would have nothing to do with unhealthy and intemperate subjects, whose lives were of no use either to themselves or others; the art of medicine was not designed for their good, and though they were as rich as Midas, the sons of Asclepius would have declined to attend them.They were very acute persons, those sons of Asclepius.Naturally so, I replied. Nevertheless, the tragedians and Pindar disobeying our behests, although they acknowledge that Asclepius was the son of Apollo, say also that he was bribed into healing a rich man who was at the point of death, and for this reason he was struck by lightning. But we, in accordance with the principle already affirmed by us, will not believe them when they tell us both;—if he was the son of a god, we maintain that he was not avaricious; or, if he was avaricious, he was not the son of a god.All that, Socrates, is excellent; but I should like to put a question to you: Ought there not to be good physicians in a State, and are not the best those who have treated the greatest number of constitutions good and bad? and are not the best judges in like manner those who are acquainted with all sorts of moral natures?Yes, I said, I too would have good judges and good physicians. But do you know whom I think good?Will you tell me?I will, if I can. Let me however note that in the same question you join two things which are not the same.How so? he asked.Why, I said, you join physicians and judges. Now the most skilful physicians are those who, from their youth upwards, have combined with the knowledge of their art the greatest experience of disease; they had better not be robust in health, and should have had all manner of diseases in their own persons. For the body, as I conceive, is not the instrument with which they cure the body; in that case we could not allow them ever to be or to have been sickly; but they cure the body with the mind, and the mind which has become and is sick can cure nothing.That is very true, he said.But with the judge it is otherwise; since he governs mind by mind; he ought not therefore to have been trained among vicious minds, and to have associated with them from youth upwards, and to have gone through the whole calendar of crime, only in order that he may quickly infer the crimes of others as he might their bodily diseases from his own self-consciousness; the honourable mind which is to form a healthy judgment should have had no experience or contamination of evil habits when young. And this is the reason why in youth good men often appear to be simple, and are easily practised upon by the dishonest, because they have no examples of what evil is in their own souls.Yes, he said, they are far too apt to be deceived.Therefore, I said, the judge should not be young; he should have learned to know evil, not from his own soul, but from late and long observation of the nature of evil in others: knowledge should be his guide, not personal experience.Yes, he said, that is the ideal of a judge.Yes, I replied, and he will be a good man (which is my answer to your question); for he is good who has a good soul. But the cunning and suspicious nature of which we spoke,—he who has committed many crimes, and fancies himself to be a master in wickedness, when he is amongst his fellows, is wonderful in the precautions which he takes, because he judges of them by himself: but when he gets into the company of men of virtue, who have the experience of age, he appears to be a fool again, owing to his unseasonable suspicions; he cannot recognise an honest man, because he has no pattern of honesty in himself; at the same time, as the bad are more numerous than the good, and he meets with them oftener, he thinks himself, and is by others thought to be, rather wise than foolish.Most true, he said.Then the good and wise judge whom we are seeking is not this man, but the other; for vice cannot know virtue too, but a virtuous nature, educated by time, will acquire a knowledge both of virtue and vice: the virtuous, and not the vicious, man has wisdom—in my opinion.And in mine also.This is the sort of medicine, and this is the sort of law, which you will sanction in your state. They will minister to better natures, giving health both of soul and of body; but those who are diseased in their bodies they will leave to die, and the corrupt and incurable souls they will put an end to themselves.That is clearly the best thing both for the patients and for the State.And thus our youth, having been educated only in that simple music which, as we said, inspires temperance, will be reluctant to go to law.Clearly.And the musician, who, keeping to the same track, is content to practise the simple gymnastic, will have nothing to do with medicine unless in some extreme case.That I quite believe.The very exercises and tolls which he undergoes are intended to stimulate the spirited element of his nature, and not to increase his strength; he will not, like common athletes, use exercise and regimen to develope his muscles.Very right, he said.Neither are the two arts of music and gymnastic really designed, as is often supposed, the one for the training of the soul, the other for the training of the body.What then is the real object of them?I believe, I said, that the teachers of both have in view chiefly the improvement of the soul.How can that be? he asked.Did you never observe, I said, the effect on the mind itself of exclusive devotion to gymnastic, or the opposite effect of an exclusive devotion to music?In what way shown? he said.The one producing a temper of hardness and ferocity, the other of softness and effeminacy, I replied.Yes, he said, I am quite aware that the mere athlete becomes too much of a savage, and that the mere musician is melted and softened beyond what is good for him.Yet surely, I said, this ferocity only comes from spirit, which, if rightly educated, would give courage, but, if too much intensified, is liable to become hard and brutal.That I quite think.On the other hand the philosopher will have the quality of gentleness. And this also, when too much indulged, will turn to softness, but, if educated rightly, will be gentle and moderate.True.And in our opinion the guardians ought to have both these qualities?Assuredly.And both should be in harmony?Beyond question.And the harmonious soul is both temperate and courageous?Yes.And the inharmonious is cowardly and boorish?Very true.And, when a man allows music to play upon him and to pour into his soul through the funnel of his ears those sweet and soft and melancholy airs of which we were just now speaking, and his whole life is passed in warbling and the delights of song; in the first stage of the process the passion or spirit which is in him is tempered like iron, and made useful, instead of brittle and useless. But, if he carries on the softening and soothing process, in the next stage he begins to melt and waste, until he has wasted away his spirit and cut out the sinews of his soul; and he becomes a feeble warrior.Very true.If the element of spirit is naturally weak in him the change is speedily accomplished, but if he have a good deal, then the power of music weakening the spirit renders him excitable;—on the least provocation he flames up at once, and is speedily extinguished; instead of having spirit he grows irritable and passionate and is quite impracticable.Exactly.And so in gymnastics, if a man takes violent exercise and is a great feeder, and the reverse of a great student of music and philosophy, at first the high condition of his body fills him with pride and spirit, and he becomes twice the man that he was.Certainly.And what happens? if he do nothing else, and holds no converse with the Muses, does not even that intelligence which there may be in him, having no taste of any sort of learning or enquiry or thought or culture, grow feeble and dull and blind, his mind never waking up or receiving nourishment, and his senses not being purged of their mists?True, he said.And he ends by becoming a hater of philosophy, uncivilized, never using the weapon of persuasion,—he is like a wild beast, all violence and fierceness, and knows no other way of dealing; and he lives in all ignorance and evil conditions, and has no sense of propriety and grace.That is quite true, he said.And as there are two principles of human nature, one the spirited and the other the philosophical, some God, as I should say, has given mankind two arts answering to them (and only indirectly to the soul and body), in order that these two principles (like the strings of an instrument) may be relaxed or drawn tighter until they are duly harmonized.That appears to be the intention.And he who mingles music with gymnastic in the fairest proportions, and best attempers them to the soul, may be rightly called the true musician and harmonist in a far higher sense than the tuner of the strings.You are quite right, Socrates.And such a presiding genius will be always required in our State if the government is to last.Yes, he will be absolutely necessary.Such, then, are our principles of nurture and education: Where would be the use of going into further details about the dances of our citizens, or about their hunting and coursing, their gymnastic and equestrian contests? For these all follow the general principle, and having found that, we shall have no difficulty in discovering them.I dare say that there will be no difficulty.Very good, I said; then what is the next question? Must we not ask who are to be rulers and who subjects?Certainly.There can be no doubt that the elder must rule the younger.Clearly.And that the best of these must rule.That is also clear.Now, are not the best husbandmen those who are most devoted to husbandry?Yes.And as we are to have the best of guardians for our city, must they not be those who have most the character of guardians?Yes.And to this end they ought to be wise and efficient, and to have a special care of the State?True.And a man will be most likely to care about that which he loves?To be sure.And he will be most likely to love that which he regards as having the same interests with himself, and that of which the good or evil fortune is supposed by him at any time most to affect his own?Very true, he replied.Then there must be a selection. Let us note among the guardians those who in their whole life show the greatest eagerness to do what is for the good of their country, and the greatest repugnance to do what is against her interests.Those are the right men.And they will have to be watched at every age, in order that we may see whether they preserve their resolution, and never, under the influence either of force or enchantment, forget or cast off their sense of duty to the State.How cast off? he said.I will explain to you, I replied. A resolution may go out of a man's mind either with his will or against his will; with his will when he gets rid of a falsehood and learns better, against his will whenever he is deprived of a truth.I understand, he said, the willing loss of a resolution; the meaning of the unwilling I have yet to learn.Why, I said, do you not see that men are unwillingly deprived of good, and willingly of evil? Is not to have lost the truth an evil, and to possess the truth a good? and you would agree that to conceive things as they are is to possess the truth?Yes, he replied; I agree with you in thinking that mankind are deprived of truth against their will.And is not this involuntary deprivation caused either by theft, or force, or enchantment?Still, he replied, I do not understand you.I fear that I must have been talking darkly, like the tragedians. I only mean that some men are changed by persuasion and that others forget; argument steals away the hearts of one class, and time of the other; and this I call theft. Now you understand me?Yes.Those again who are forced, are those whom the violence of some pain or grief compels to change their opinion.I understand, he said, and you are quite right.And you would also acknowledge that the enchanted are those who change their minds either under the softer influence of pleasure, or the sterner influence of fear?Yes, he said; everything that deceives may be said to enchant.Therefore, as I was just now saying, we must enquire who are the best guardians of their own conviction that what they think the interest of the State is to be the rule of their lives. We must watch them from their youth upwards, and make them perform actions in which they are most likely to forget or to be deceived, and he who remembers and is not deceived is to be selected, and he who fails in the trial is to be rejected. That will be the way?Yes.And there should also be toils and pains and conflicts prescribed for them, in which they will be made to give further proof of the same qualities.Very right, he replied.And then, I said, we must try them with enchantments—that is the third sort of test—and see what will be their behaviour: like those who take colts amid noise and tumult to see if they are of a timid nature, so must we take our youth amid terrors of some kind, and again pass them into pleasures, and prove them more thoroughly than gold is proved in the furnace, that we may discover whether they are armed against all enchantments, and of a noble bearing always, good guardians of themselves and of the music which they have learned, and retaining under all circumstances a rhythmical and harmonious nature, such as will be most serviceable to the individual and to the State. And he who at every age, as boy and youth and in mature life, has come out of the trial victorious and pure, shall be appointed a ruler and guardian of the State; he shall be honoured in life and death, and shall receive sepulture and other memorials of honour, the greatest that we have to give. But him who fails, we must reject. I am inclined to think that this is the sort of way in which our rulers and guardians should be chosen and appointed. I speak generally, and not with any pretension to exactness.And, speaking generally, I agree with you, he said.And perhaps the word 'guardian' in the fullest sense ought to be applied to this higher class only who preserve us against foreign enemies and maintain peace among our citizens at home, that the one may not have the will, or the others the power, to harm us. The young men whom we before called guardians may be more properly designated auxiliaries and supporters of the principles of the rulers.I agree with you, he said.How then may we devise one of those needful falsehoods of which we lately spoke—just one royal lie which may deceive the rulers, if that be possible, and at any rate the rest of the city?What sort of lie? he said.Nothing new, I replied; only an old Phoenician tale (Laws) of what has often occurred before now in other places, (as the poets say, and have made the world believe,) though not in our time, and I do not know whether such an event could ever happen again, or could now even be made probable, if it did.How your words seem to hesitate on your lips!You will not wonder, I replied, at my hesitation when you have heard.Speak, he said, and fear not.Well then, I will speak, although I really know not how to look you in the face, or in what words to utter the audacious fiction, which I propose to communicate gradually, first to the rulers, then to the soldiers, and lastly to the people. They are to be told that their youth was a dream, and the education and training which they received from us, an appearance only; in reality during all that time they were being formed and fed in the womb of the earth, where they themselves and their arms and appurtenances were manufactured; when they were completed, the earth, their mother, sent them up; and so, their country being their mother and also their nurse, they are bound to advise for her good, and to defend her against attacks, and her citizens they are to regard as children of the earth and their own brothers.You had good reason, he said, to be ashamed of the lie which you were going to tell.True, I replied, but there is more coming; I have only told you half. Citizens, we shall say to them in our tale, you are brothers, yet God has framed you differently. Some of you have the power of command, and in the composition of these he has mingled gold, wherefore also they have the greatest honour; others he has made of silver, to be auxiliaries; others again who are to be husbandmen and craftsmen he has composed of brass and iron; and the species will generally be preserved in the children. But as all are of the same original stock, a golden parent will sometimes have a silver son, or a silver parent a golden son. And God proclaims as a first principle to the rulers, and above all else, that there is nothing which they should so anxiously guard, or of which they are to be such good guardians, as of the purity of the race. They should observe what elements mingle in their offspring; for if the son of a golden or silver parent has an admixture of brass and iron, then nature orders a transposition of ranks, and the eye of the ruler must not be pitiful towards the child because he has to descend in the scale and become a husbandman or artisan, just as there may be sons of artisans who having an admixture of gold or silver in them are raised to honour, and become guardians or auxiliaries. For an oracle says that when a man of brass or iron guards the State, it will be destroyed. Such is the tale; is there any possibility of making our citizens believe in it?Not in the present generation, he replied; there is no way of accomplishing this; but their sons may be made to believe in the tale, and their sons' sons, and posterity after them.I see the difficulty, I replied; yet the fostering of such a belief will make them care more for the city and for one another. Enough, however, of the fiction, which may now fly abroad upon the wings of rumour, while we arm our earth-born heroes, and lead them forth under the command of their rulers. Let them look round and select a spot whence they can best suppress insurrection, if any prove refractory within, and also defend themselves against enemies, who like wolves may come down on the fold from without; there let them encamp, and when they have encamped, let them sacrifice to the proper Gods and prepare their dwellings.Just so, he said.And their dwellings must be such as will shield them against the cold of winter and the heat of summer.I suppose that you mean houses, he replied.Yes, I said; but they must be the houses of soldiers, and not of shop-keepers.What is the difference? he said.That I will endeavour to explain, I replied. To keep watch-dogs, who, from want of discipline or hunger, or some evil habit or other, would turn upon the sheep and worry them, and behave not like dogs but wolves, would be a foul and monstrous thing in a shepherd?Truly monstrous, he said.And therefore every care must be taken that our auxiliaries, being stronger than our citizens, may not grow to be too much for them and become savage tyrants instead of friends and allies?Yes, great care should be taken.And would not a really good education furnish the best safeguard?But they are well-educated already, he replied.I cannot be so confident, my dear Glaucon, I said; I am much more certain that they ought to be, and that true education, whatever that may be, will have the greatest tendency to civilize and humanize them in their relations to one another, and to those who are under their protection.Very true, he replied.And not only their education, but their habitations, and all that belongs to them, should be such as will neither impair their virtue as guardians, nor tempt them to prey upon the other citizens. Any man of sense must acknowledge that.He must.

    Then now let us consider what will be their way of life, if they are to realize our idea of them.

    Yes, said Glaucon.