Classics
Bulfinch Mythol.
The Odyssey
The Iliad
Argonautica
Hesiod-Theogony

Site Search



greece
athens airport
casino
bet
greek news
tavli sto internet
livescore
news now

Olympians Titans Other Gods Myths Online Books
 
Plato Index


< Previous Next>

CHARMIDES, or TEMPERANCE by Plato, Part 10


Yet I think, he replied, that if you discard knowledge, you will hardly find the crown of happiness in anything else.

But of what is this knowledge? I said. Just answer me that small question. Do you mean a knowledge of shoemaking?

God forbid.
Or of working in brass?
Certainly not.
Or in wool, or wood, or anything of that sort?
No, I do not.
Then, I said, we are giving up the doctrine that he who lives according to knowledge is happy, for these live according to knowledge, and yet they are not allowed by you to be happy; but I think that you mean to confine happiness to particular individuals who live according to knowledge, such for example as the prophet, who, as I was saying, knows the future. Is it of him you are speaking or of some one else?

Yes, I mean him, but there are others as well.
Yes, I said, some one who knows the past and present as well as the future, and is ignorant of nothing. Let us suppose that there is such a person, and if there is, you will allow that he is the most knowing of all living men.

Certainly he is.
Yet I should like to know one thing more: which of the different kinds of knowledge makes him happy? or do all equally make him happy?

Not all equally, he replied.
But which most tends to make him happy? the knowledge of what past, present, or future thing? May I infer this to be the knowledge of the game of draughts?

Nonsense about the game of draughts.
Or of computation?
No.
Or of health?
That is nearer the truth, he said.
And that knowledge which is nearest of all, I said, is the knowledge of what?

The knowledge with which he discerns good and evil.
Monster! I said; you have been carrying me round in a circle, and all this time hiding from me the fact that the life according to knowledge is not that which makes men act rightly and be happy, not even if knowledge include all the sciences, but one science only, that of good and evil. For, let me ask you, Critias, whether, if you take away this, medicine will not equally give health, and shoemaking equally produce shoes, and the art of the weaver clothes?-whether the art of the pilot will not equally save our lives at sea, and the art of the general in war?

Quite so.
And yet, my dear Critias, none of these things will be well or beneficially done, if the science of the good be wanting.

True.
But that science is not wisdom or temperance, but a science of human advantage; not a science of other sciences, or of ignorance, but of good and evil: and if this be of use, then wisdom or temperance will not be of use.

And why, he replied, will not wisdom be of use? For, however much we assume that wisdom is a science of sciences, and has a sway over other sciences, surely she will have this particular science of the good under her control, and in this way will benefit us.

And will wisdom give health? I said; is not this rather the effect of medicine? Or does wisdom do the work any of the other arts, do they not each of them do their own work? Have we not long ago asseverated that wisdom is only the knowledge of knowledge and of ignorance, and of nothing else?

That is obvious.
Then wisdom will not be the producer of health.
Certainly not.
The art of health is different.
Yes, different.
Nor does wisdom give advantage, my good friend; for that again we have just now been attributing to another art.

Very true.
How then can wisdom be advantageous, when giving no advantage?
That, Socrates, is certainly inconceivable.
You see then, Critias, that I was not far wrong in fearing that I could have no sound notion about wisdom; I was quite right in depreciating myself; for that which is admitted to be the best of all things would never have seemed to us useless, if I had been good for anything at an enquiry. But now I have been utterly defeated, and have failed to discover what that is to which the imposer of names gave this name of temperance or wisdom. And yet many more admissions were made by us than could be fairly granted; for we admitted that there was a science of science, although the argument said No, and protested against us; and we admitted further, that this science knew the works of the other sciences (although this too was denied by the argument), because we wanted to show that the wise man had knowledge of what he knew and did not know; also we nobly disregarded, and never even considered, the impossibility of a man knowing in a sort of way that which he does not know at all; for our assumption was, that he knows that which he does not know; than which nothing, as I think, can be more irrational. And yet, after finding us so easy and good-natured, the enquiry is still unable to discover the truth; but mocks us to a degree, and has gone out of its way to prove the inutility of that which we admitted only by a sort of supposition and fiction to be the true definition of temperance or wisdom: which result, as far as I am concerned, is not so much to be lamented, I said. But for your sake, Charmides, I am very sorry-that you, having such beauty and such wisdom and temperance of soul, should have no profit or good in life from your wisdom and temperance. And still more am I grieved about the charm which I learned with so much pain, and to so little profit, from the Thracian, for the sake of a thing which is nothing worth. I think indeed that there is a mistake, and that I must be a bad enquirer, for wisdom or temperance I believe to be really a great good; and happy are you, Charmides, if you certainly possess it. Wherefore examine yourself, and see whether you have this gift and can do without the charm; for if you can, I would rather advise you to regard me simply as a fool who is never able to reason out anything; and to rest assured that the more wise and temperate you are, the happier you will be.

 

< Previous Next>

Plato Index

 

[Home] [Olympians] [Titans] [Other Gods] [Myths] [Online Books]

Contact:  
Copyright 2000-2014, GreekMythology.comTM. 

For more general info on Greek Gods, Greek Goddesses, Greek Heroes, Greek Monsters and Greek Mythology Movies visit Greece.com Mythology.

All information in this site is free for personal use. You can freely use it for term papers, research papers, college essays, school essays. Commercial use, and use in other websites is prohibited.
If you have your own Greek Mythology stories, free research papers, college term papers, college essays, book reports, coursework, homework papers and you want to publish them in this site please contact us now at:

Griyego mitolohiya, 그리스 신화, 希腊神话, griekse mythologie, mythologie grecque, griechischen Mythologie, ギリシャ神話, Греческая мифология, mitología griega, ग्रीक पौराणिक कथाओं, الأساطير اليونانية, Grekisk mytologi