Well, and about the business of the agora, and the ordinary dealings between man and man, or again about agreements with artisans; about insult and injury, or the commencement of actions, and the appointment of juries, what would you say? there may also arise questions about any impositions and exactions of market and harbour dues which may be required, and in general about the regulations of markets, police, harbours, and the like. But, oh heavens! shall we condescend to legislate on any of these particulars?
I think, he said, that there is no need to impose laws about them on good men; what regulations are necessary they will find out soon enough for themselves.
Yes, I said, my friend, if God will only preserve to them the laws which we have given them.
And without divine help, said Adeimantus, they will go on for ever making and mending their laws and their lives in the hope of attaining perfection.
You would compare them, I said, to those invalids who, having no self-restraint, will not leave off their habits of intemperance?
Yes, I said; and what a delightful life they lead! they are always doctoring and increasing and complicating their disorders, and always fancying that they will be cured by any nostrum which anybody advises them to try.
Such cases are very common, he said, with invalids of this sort.
Yes, I replied; and the charming thing is that they deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth, which is simply that, unless they give up eating and drinking and wenching and idling, neither drug nor cautery nor spell nor amulet nor any other remedy will avail.
Charming! he replied. I see nothing charming in going into a passion with a man who tells you what is right.
These gentlemen, I said, do not seem to be in your good graces.
Nor would you praise the behaviour of States which act like the men whom I was just now describing. For are there not ill-ordered States in which the citizens are forbidden under pain of death to alter the constitution; and yet he who most sweetly courts those who live under this regime and indulges them and fawns upon them and is skilful in anticipating and gratifying their humours is held to be a great and good statesman—do not these States resemble the persons whom I was describing?
Yes, he said; the States are as bad as the men; and I am very far from praising them.
But do you not admire, I said, the coolness and dexterity of these ready ministers of political corruption?
Yes, he said, I do; but not of all of them, for there are some whom the applause of the multitude has deluded into the belief that they are really statesmen, and these are not much to be admired.
What do you mean? I said; you should have more feeling for them. When a man cannot measure, and a great many others who cannot measure declare that he is four cubits high, can he help believing what they say?
Nay, he said, certainly not in that case.
Well, then, do not be angry with them; for are they not as good as a play, trying their hand at paltry reforms such as I was describing; they are always fancying that by legislation they will make an end of frauds in contracts, and the other rascalities which I was mentioning, not knowing that they are in reality cutting off the heads of a hydra?
Yes, he said; that is just what they are doing.
I conceive, I said, that the true legislator will not trouble himself with this class of enactments whether concerning laws or the constitution either in an ill-ordered or in a well-ordered State; for in the former they are quite useless, and in the latter there will be no difficulty in devising them; and many of them will naturally flow out of our previous regulations.
What, then, he said, is still remaining to us of the work of legislation?
Nothing to us, I replied; but to Apollo, the God of Delphi, there remains the ordering of the greatest and noblest and chiefest things of all.
Which are they? he said.
The institution of temples and sacrifices, and the entire service of gods, demigods, and heroes; also the ordering of the repositories of the dead, and the rites which have to be observed by him who would propitiate the inhabitants of the world below. These are matters of which we are ignorant ourselves, and as founders of a city we should be unwise in trusting them to any interpreter but our ancestral deity. He is the god who sits in the centre, on the navel of the earth, and he is the interpreter of religion to all mankind.
You are right, and we will do as you propose.
But where, amid all this, is justice? son of Ariston, tell me where. Now that our city has been made habitable, light a candle and search, and get your brother and Polemarchus and the rest of our friends to help, and let us see where in it we can discover justice and where injustice, and in what they differ from one another, and which of them the man who would be happy should have for his portion, whether seen or unseen by gods and men.
Nonsense, said Glaucon: did you not promise to search yourself, saying that for you not to help justice in her need would be an impiety?
I do not deny that I said so, and as you remind me, I will be as good as my word; but you must join.
We will, he replied.
Well, then, I hope to make the discovery in this way: I mean to begin with the assumption that our State, if rightly ordered, is perfect.
That is most certain.
And being perfect, is therefore wise and valiant and temperate and just.
That is likewise clear.
And whichever of these qualities we find in the State, the one which is not found will be the residue?
If there were four things, and we were searching for one of them, wherever it might be, the one sought for might be known to us from the first, and there would be no further trouble; or we might know the other three first, and then the fourth would clearly be the one left.
Very true, he said.
And is not a similar method to be pursued about the virtues, which are also four in number?
First among the virtues found in the State, wisdom comes into view, and in this I detect a certain peculiarity.
What is that?
The State which we have been describing is said to be wise as being good in counsel?
And good counsel is clearly a kind of knowledge, for not by ignorance, but by knowledge, do men counsel well?
And the kinds of knowledge in a State are many and diverse?
There is the knowledge of the carpenter; but is that the sort of knowledge which gives a city the title of wise and good in counsel?
Certainly not; that would only give a city the reputation of skill in carpentering.
Then a city is not to be called wise because possessing a knowledge which counsels for the best about wooden implements?
Nor by reason of a knowledge which advises about brazen pots, I said, nor as possessing any other similar knowledge?
Not by reason of any of them, he said.
Nor yet by reason of a knowledge which cultivates the earth; that would give the city the name of agricultural?
Well, I said, and is there any knowledge in our recently-founded State among any of the citizens which advises, not about any particular thing in the State, but about the whole, and considers how a State can best deal with itself and with other States?
There certainly is.
And what is this knowledge, and among whom is it found? I asked.
It is the knowledge of the guardians, he replied, and is found among those whom we were just now describing as perfect guardians.
And what is the name which the city derives from the possession of this sort of knowledge?
The name of good in counsel and truly wise.
And will there be in our city more of these true guardians or more smiths?
The smiths, he replied, will be far more numerous.
Will not the guardians be the smallest of all the classes who receive a name from the profession of some kind of knowledge?
Much the smallest.
And so by reason of the smallest part or class, and of the knowledge which resides in this presiding and ruling part of itself, the whole State, being thus constituted according to nature, will be wise; and this, which has the only knowledge worthy to be called wisdom, has been ordained by nature to be of all classes the least.
Thus, then, I said, the nature and place in the State of one of the four virtues has somehow or other been discovered.
And, in my humble opinion, very satisfactorily discovered, he replied.
Again, I said, there is no difficulty in seeing the nature of courage, and in what part that quality resides which gives the name of courageous to the State.
How do you mean?
Why, I said, every one who calls any State courageous or cowardly, will be thinking of the part which fights and goes out to war on the State's behalf.
No one, he replied, would ever think of any other.
The rest of the citizens may be courageous or may be cowardly, but their courage or cowardice will not, as I conceive, have the effect of making the city either the one or the other.
The city will be courageous in virtue of a portion of herself which preserves under all circumstances that opinion about the nature of things to be feared and not to be feared in which our legislator educated them; and this is what you term courage.
I should like to hear what you are saying once more, for I do not think that I perfectly understand you.
I mean that courage is a kind of salvation.
Salvation of what?
Of the opinion respecting things to be feared, what they are and of what nature, which the law implants through education; and I mean by the words 'under all circumstances' to intimate that in pleasure or in pain, or under the influence of desire or fear, a man preserves, and does not lose this opinion. Shall I give you an illustration?
If you please.
You know, I said, that dyers, when they want to dye wool for making the true sea-purple, begin by selecting their white colour first; this they prepare and dress with much care and pains, in order that the white ground may take the purple hue in full perfection. The dyeing then proceeds; and whatever is dyed in this manner becomes a fast colour, and no washing either with lyes or without them can take away the bloom. But, when the ground has not been duly prepared, you will have noticed how poor is the look either of purple or of any other colour.
Yes, he said; I know that they have a washed-out and ridiculous appearance.
Then now, I said, you will understand what our object was in selecting our soldiers, and educating them in music and gymnastic; we were contriving influences which would prepare them to take the dye of the laws in perfection, and the colour of their opinion about dangers and of every other opinion was to be indelibly fixed by their nurture and training, not to be washed away by such potent lyes as pleasure—mightier agent far in washing the soul than any soda or lye; or by sorrow, fear, and desire, the mightiest of all other solvents. And this sort of universal saving power of true opinion in conformity with law about real and false dangers I call and maintain to be courage, unless you disagree.
But I agree, he replied; for I suppose that you mean to exclude mere uninstructed courage, such as that of a wild beast or of a slave—this, in your opinion, is not the courage which the law ordains, and ought to have another name.
Then I may infer courage to be such as you describe?
Why, yes, said I, you may, and if you add the words 'of a citizen,' you will not be far wrong;—hereafter, if you like, we will carry the examination further, but at present we are seeking not for courage but justice; and for the purpose of our enquiry we have said enough.
You are right, he replied.
Two virtues remain to be discovered in the State—first, temperance, and then justice which is the end of our search.
Now, can we find justice without troubling ourselves about temperance?
I do not know how that can be accomplished, he said, nor do I desire that justice should be brought to light and temperance lost sight of; and therefore I wish that you would do me the favour of considering temperance first.
Certainly, I replied, I should not be justified in refusing your request.
Then consider, he said.
Yes, I replied; I will; and as far as I can at present see, the virtue of temperance has more of the nature of harmony and symphony than the preceding.
How so? he asked.
Temperance, I replied, is the ordering or controlling of certain pleasures and desires; this is curiously enough implied in the saying of 'a man being his own master;' and other traces of the same notion may be found in language.
No doubt, he said.
There is something ridiculous in the expression 'master of himself;' for the master is also the servant and the servant the master; and in all these modes of speaking the same person is denoted.
The meaning is, I believe, that in the human soul there is a better and also a worse principle; and when the better has the worse under control, then a man is said to be master of himself; and this is a term of praise: but when, owing to evil education or association, the better principle, which is also the smaller, is overwhelmed by the greater mass of the worse—in this case he is blamed and is called the slave of self and unprincipled.
Yes, there is reason in that.
And now, I said, look at our newly-created State, and there you will find one of these two conditions realized; for the State, as you will acknowledge, may be justly called master of itself, if the words 'temperance' and 'self-mastery' truly express the rule of the better part over the worse.
Yes, he said, I see that what you say is true.
Let me further note that the manifold and complex pleasures and desires and pains are generally found in children and women and servants, and in the freemen so called who are of the lowest and more numerous class.
Certainly, he said.
Whereas the simple and moderate desires which follow reason, and are under the guidance of mind and true opinion, are to be found only in a few, and those the best born and best educated.
These two, as you may perceive, have a place in our State; and the meaner desires of the many are held down by the virtuous desires and wisdom of the few.
That I perceive, he said.
Then if there be any city which may be described as master of its own pleasures and desires, and master of itself, ours may claim such a designation?
Certainly, he replied.
It may also be called temperate, and for the same reasons?
And if there be any State in which rulers and subjects will be agreed as to the question who are to rule, that again will be our State?
And the citizens being thus agreed among themselves, in which class will temperance be found—in the rulers or in the subjects?
In both, as I should imagine, he replied.
Do you observe that we were not far wrong in our guess that temperance was a sort of harmony?
Why, because temperance is unlike courage and wisdom, each of which resides in a part only, the one making the State wise and the other valiant; not so temperance, which extends to the whole, and runs through all the notes of the scale, and produces a harmony of the weaker and the stronger and the middle class, whether you suppose them to be stronger or weaker in wisdom or power or numbers or wealth, or anything else. Most truly then may we deem temperance to be the agreement of the naturally superior and inferior, as to the right to rule of either, both in states and individuals.
I entirely agree with you.
And so, I said, we may consider three out of the four virtues to have been discovered in our State. The last of those qualities which make a state virtuous must be justice, if we only knew what that was.
The inference is obvious.