[516b] of the stars and the moon, than by day the sun and the sun’s light. 1” “Of course.” “And so, finally, I suppose, he would be able to look upon the sun itself and see its true nature, not by reflections in water or phantasms of it in an alien setting, 2 but in and by itself in its own place.” “Necessarily,” he said. “And at this point he would infer and conclude that this it is that provides the seasons and the courses of the year and presides over all things in the visible region,
[516c] and is in some sort the cause 1 of all these things that they had seen.” “Obviously,” he said, “that would be the next step.” “Well then, if he recalled to mind his first habitation and what passed for wisdom there, and his fellow-bondsmen, do you not think that he would count himself happy in the change and pity them 2?” “He would indeed.” “And if there had been honors and commendations among them which they bestowed on one another and prizes for the man who is quickest to make out the shadows as they pass and best able to remember their customary precedences,
[516d] sequences and co-existences, 1 and so most successful in guessing at what was to come, do you think he would be very keen about such rewards, and that he would envy and emulate those who were honored by these prisoners and lorded it among them, or that he would feel with Homer 2 and “‘greatly prefer while living on earth to be serf of another, a landless man,’”Hom. Od. 11.489 and endure anything rather than opine with them
[516e] and live that life?” “Yes,” he said, “I think that he would choose to endure anything rather than such a life.” “And consider this also,” said I, “if such a one should go down again and take his old place would he not get his eyes full 1 of darkness, thus suddenly coming out of the sunlight?” “He would indeed.” “Now if he should be required to contend with these perpetual prisoners
[517a] in ‘evaluating’ these shadows while his vision was still dim and before his eyes were accustomed to the dark—and this time required for habituation would not be very short—would he not provoke laughter, 1 and would it not be said of him that he had returned from his journey aloft with his eyes ruined and that it was not worth while even to attempt the ascent? And if it were possible to lay hands on and to kill the man who tried to release them and lead them up, would they not kill him 2?” “They certainly would,” he said.
“This image then, dear Glaucon, we must apply as a whole to all that has been said,
[517b] likening the region revealed through sight to the habitation of the prison, and the light of the fire in it to the power of the sun. And if you assume that the ascent and the contemplation of the things above is the soul’s ascension to the intelligible region, 1 you will not miss my surmise, since that is what you desire to hear. But God knows 2 whether it is true. But, at any rate, my dream as it appears to me is that in the region of the known the last thing to be seen and hardly seen is the idea of good,
[517c] and that when seen it must needs point us to the conclusion that this is indeed the cause for all things of all that is right and beautiful, giving birth 1 in the visible world to light, and the author of light and itself in the intelligible world being the authentic source of truth and reason, and that anyone who is to act wisely 2 in private or public must have caught sight of this.” “I concur,” he said, “so far as I am able.” “Come then,” I said, “and join me in this further thought, and do not be surprised that those who have attained to this height are not willing 3 to occupy themselves with the affairs of men, but their souls ever feel the upward urge and
[517d] the yearning for that sojourn above. For this, I take it, is likely if in this point too the likeness of our image holds” “Yes, it is likely.” “And again, do you think it at all strange,” said I, “if a man returning from divine contemplations to the petty miseries 1 of men cuts a sorry figure 2 and appears most ridiculous, if, while still blinking through the gloom, and before he has become sufficiently accustomed to the environing darkness, he is compelled in courtrooms 3 or elsewhere to contend about the shadows of justice or the images 4 that cast the shadows and to wrangle in debate
[517e] about the notions of these things in the minds of those who have never seen justice itself?” “It would be by no men strange,” he said. “But a sensible man,”
[518a] I said, “would remember that there are two distinct disturbances of the eyes arising from two causes, according as the shift is from light to darkness or from darkness to light, 1 and, believing that the same thing happens to the soul too, whenever he saw a soul perturbed and unable to discern something, he would not laugh 2 unthinkingly, but would observe whether coming from a brighter life its vision was obscured by the unfamiliar darkness, or
[518b] whether the passage from the deeper dark of ignorance into a more luminous world and the greater brightness had dazzled its vision. 1 And so 2 he would deem the one happy in its experience and way of life and pity the other, and if it pleased him to laugh at it, his laughter would be less laughable than that at the expense of the soul that had come down from the light above.” “That is a very fair statement,” he said.
“Then, if this is true, our view of these matters must be this, that education is not in reality what some people proclaim it to be in their professions. 3
[518c] What they aver is that they can put true knowledge into a soul that does not possess it, as if they were inserting 1 vision into blind eyes.” “They do indeed,” he said. “But our present argument indicates,” said I, “that the true analogy for this indwelling power in the soul and the instrument whereby each of us apprehends is that of an eye that could not be converted to the light from the darkness except by turning the whole body. Even so this organ of knowledge must be turned around from the world of becoming together with the entire soul, like the scene-shifting periact 2 in the theater, until the soul is able to endure the contemplation of essence and the brightest region of being.
[518d] And this, we say, is the good, 1 do we not?” “Yes.” “Of this very thing, then,” I said, “there might be an art, 2 an art of the speediest and most effective shifting or conversion of the soul, not an art of producing vision in it, but on the assumption that it possesses vision but does not rightly direct it and does not look where it should, an art of bringing this about.” “Yes, that seems likely,” he said. “Then the other so-called virtues 3 of the soul do seem akin to those of the body.
[518e] For it is true that where they do not pre-exist, they are afterwards created by habit 1 and practice. But the excellence of thought, 2 it seems, is certainly of a more divine quality, a thing that never loses its potency, but, according to the direction of its conversion, becomes useful and beneficent,
[519a] or, again, useless and harmful. Have you never observed in those who are popularly spoken of as bad, but smart men, 1 how keen is the vision of the little soul, 2 how quick it is to discern the things that interest it, 3 a proof that it is not a poor vision which it has, but one forcibly enlisted in the service of evil, so that the sharper its sight the more mischief it accomplishes?” “I certainly have,” he said. “Observe then,” said I, “that this part of such a soul, if it had been hammered from childhood, and had thus been struck free 4 of the leaden weights, so to speak, of our birth
[519b] and becoming, which attaching themselves to it by food and similar pleasures and gluttonies turn downwards the vision of the soul 1—If, I say, freed from these, it had suffered a conversion towards the things that are real and true, that same faculty of the same men would have been most keen in its vision of the higher things, just as it is for the things toward which it is now turned.” “It is likely,” he said. “Well, then,” said I, “is not this also likely 2 and a necessary consequence of what has been said, that neither could men who are uneducated and inexperienced in truth ever adequately ( The Republic)
Confucius (c. 551 – c. 479 BCE)
But “I have no brothers”
Si Ma Niu, full of anxiety, said, “Other men all have their brothers, I only have not.” Zi Xia said to him, “There is the following saying which I have heard – ‘Death and life have their determined appointment; riches and honors depend upon Heaven.’ Let the superior man never fail reverentially to order his own conduct, and let him be respectful to others and observant of propriety – then all within the four seas will be his brothers. What has the superior man to do with being distressed because he has no brothers?” ( Analects 12:5)
Sin no more
John 8: 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”