Cebes answered with a smile: Then, Socrates, you must argue us out of our fears — and yet, strictly speaking, they are not our fears, but there is a child within us to whom death is a sort of hobgoblin; him too we must persuade not to be afraid when he is alone in the dark.
Socrates said: Let the voice of the charmer be applied daily until you have charmed away the fear.
And where shall we find a good charmer of our fears, Socrates, when you are gone?
Hellas, he replied, is a large place, Cebes, and has many good men, and there are barbarous races not a few: seek for him among them all, far and wide, sparing neither pains nor money; for there is no better way of spending your money. And you must seek among yourselves too; for you will not find others better able to make the search.
The search, replied Cebes, shall certainly be made. And now, if you please, let us return to the point of the argument at which we digressed.
By all means, replied Socrates; what else should I please?
Must we not, said Socrates, ask ourselves what that is which, as we imagine, is liable to be scattered, and about which we fear? and what again is that about which we have no fear? And then we may proceed further to enquire whether that which suffers dispersion is or is not of the nature of soul — our hopes and fears as to our own souls will turn upon the answers to these questions.
Very true, he said.
Now the compound or composite may be supposed to be naturally capable, as of being compounded, so also of being dissolved; but that which is uncompounded, and that only, must be, if anything is, indissoluble.
Yes; I should imagine so, said Cebes.
And the uncompounded may be assumed to be the same and unchanging, whereas the compound is always changing and never the same.
I agree, he said.
Then now let us return to the previous discussion. Is that idea or essence, which in the dialectical process we define as essence or true existence — whether essence of equality, beauty, or anything else — are these essences, I say, liable at times to some degree of change? or are they each of them always what they are, having the same simple self-existent and unchanging forms, not admitting of variation at all, or in any way, or at any time?
They must be always the same, Socrates, replied Cebes.
And what would you say of the many beautiful — whether men or horses or garments or any other things which are named by the same names and may be called equal or beautiful, — are they all unchanging and the same always, or quite the reverse? May they not rather be described as almost always changing and hardly ever the same, either with themselves or with one another?
The latter, replied Cebes; they are always in a state of change.
And these you can touch and see and perceive with the senses, but the unchanging things you can only perceive with the mind — they are invisible and are not seen?
That is very true, he said.
Well, then, added Socrates, let us suppose that there are two sorts of existences — one seen, the other unseen.
Let us suppose them.
The seen is the changing, and the unseen is the unchanging?
That may be also supposed.
And, further, is not one part of us body, another part soul?
To be sure.
And to which class is the body more alike and akin?
Clearly to the seen — no one can doubt that.
And is the soul seen or not seen?
Not by man, Socrates.
And what we mean by 'seen' and 'not seen' is that which is or is not visible to the eye of man?
Yes, to the eye of man.
And is the soul seen or not seen?
Then the soul is more like to the unseen, and the body to the seen?
That follows necessarily, Socrates.