“Theages” by Plato

Socrates’ Spiritual Power

“There is something spiritual which, by a divine dispensation, has accompanied me from my childhood up. It is a voice that, when it occurs, always indicates to me a prohibition of something I may be about to do, but never urges me on to anything ; and if one of my friends consults me and the voice occurs, the same thing happens : it prohibits, and does not allow him to act. ”

“This spiritual power that attends me also exerts itself to the full in my intercourse with those who spend their time with me. To many, indeed, it is adverse, and it is not possible for these to get any good by conversing with me, and I am therefore unable to spend my time in conversing with them. And there are many with whom it does not prohibit my intercourse, yet the intercourse does them no good. But those who are assisted in their intercourse by that spiritual power are the persons whom you have noticed; for they make rapid progress there and then. And of these, again, who make progress some find the benefit both solid and enduring; while there are many who, for as long a time as they are with me, make wonderful progress, but when they are parted from me relapse, and are no different from anybody else. ”

“For I never yet learnt anything from you, [Socrates], as you know yourself : but I made progress, whenever I was with you, if I was merely in the same house, without being in the same room, but more progress, when I was in the same room. And it seemed to me to be much more when I was in the same room and looked at you as you were speaking, than when I turned my eyes elsewhere : but my progress was far the greatest and most marked whenever I sat beside you and held and touched you. Now, however, that condition has all oozed away.”


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