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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


from Sophist, * 227d-228e, 230d, translated by B. Jowett

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STR. And do we not see that opinion is opposed to desire, pleasure to anger, reason to pain, and that all these elements are opposed to one another in the souls of bad men? THEAET. Certainly. STR. And yet they must all be akin? THEAET. Of course. STR. Then we shall be right in calling vice a discord and disease of the soul? THEAET. Most true. STR. And when things having motion, an aiming at an appointed mark, continually miss their aim and glance aside, shall we say that this is the effect of symmetry among them, or of the want of symmetry? THEAET. Clearly of the want of symmetry. STR. But surely we know that no soul is voluntarily ignorant of anything? THEAET. Certainly not. STR. And what is ignorance but the aberration of a mind which is bent on truth, and in which the process of understanding is perverted? THEAET. True. STR. Then we are to regard an unintelligent soul as deformed and devoid of symmetry? THEAET. Very true. STR. Then there are these two kinds of evil in the soul-the one which is generally called vice, and is obviously a disease of the soul. THEAET. Yes.

ΞΕ. Τί δέ; ἐν ψυχῇ δόξας ἐπιθυμίαις καὶ θυμὸν ἡδοναῖς καὶ λόγον λύπαις καὶ πάντα ἀλλήλοις ταῦτα τῶν φλαύρως ἐχόντων οὐκ ᾐσθήμεθα διαφερόμενα; ΘΕΑΙ. Καὶ σφόδρα γε. ΞΕ. Συγγενῆ γε μὴν ἐξ ἀνάγκης σύμπαντα γέγονεν. ΘΕΑΙ. Πῶς γὰρ οὔ; ΞΕ. Στάσιν ἄρα καὶ νόσον τῆς ψυχῆς πονηρίαν λέγοντες ὀρθῶς ἐροῦμεν. ΘΕΑΙ. Ὀρθότατα μὲν οὖν. ΞΕ. Τί δ΄; ὅσ΄ ἂν κινήσεως μετασχόντα καὶ σκοπόν τινα θέμενα πειρώμενα τούτου τυγχάνειν καθ΄ ἑκάστην ὁρμὴν παράφορα αὐτοῦ γίγνηται καὶ ἀποτυγχάνῃ͵ πότερον αὐτὰ φήσομεν ὑπὸ συμμετρίας τῆς πρὸς ἄλληλα ἢ τοὐναντίον ὑπὸ ἀμετρίας αὐτὰ πάσχειν; ΘΕΑΙ. Δῆλον ὡς ὑπὸ ἀμετρίας. ΞΕ. Ἀλλὰ μὴν ψυχήν γε ἴσμεν ἄκουσαν πᾶσαν πᾶν ἀγνοοῦσαν. ΘΕΑΙ. Σφόδρα γε. ΞΕ. Τό γε μὴν ἀγνοεῖν ἐστιν ἐπ΄ ἀλήθειαν ὁρμωμένης ψυχῆς͵ παραφόρου συνέσεως γιγνομένης͵ οὐδὲν ἄλλο πλὴν παραφροσύνη. ΘΕΑΙ. Πάνυ μὲν οὖν. ΞΕ. Ψυχὴν ἄρα ἀνόητον αἰσχρὰν καὶ ἄμετρον θετέον. ΘΕΑΙ. Ἔοικεν. ΞΕ. Ἔστι δὴ δύο ταῦτα͵ ὡς φαίνεται͵ κακῶν ἐν αὐτῇ γένη͵ τὸ μὲν πονηρία καλούμενον ὑπὸ τῶν πολλῶν͵ νόσος αὐτῆς σαφέστατα ὄν. ΘΕΑΙ. Ναί.

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