245c-d Every soul is immortal: for that which is perpetually moved is eternal.

But that which moves another and is moved by another, when it has a cessation of motion, has also a cessation of life. Hence that alone which moves itself, because it does not desert itself, never ceases to be moved; but this also is the fountain and principle of motion to other things which are moved. But a principle is unbegotten: for every thing which is generated, is necessarily generated from a principle, while the principle itself is incapable of being generated. For neither could it any longer be a principle, if it was generated from an external cause. Since then it is unbegotten, it is also necessary that it should be incorruptible: for, should the principle become extinct, it could neither renew its being from another, nor generate another from itself, since it is necessary that all things should be generated from that which is the principle. And thus the beginning of motion is derived from that which moves itself: and this can neither be destroyed nor generated. For, if this were admitted, all heaven and earth falling together must stop; nor could any force be found, whence being moved, they would be again generated. Since then it appears that a self-motive nature is immortal, he who asserts that this is the very essence and definition of soul, will have no occasion to blush. For every body to which motion externally accedes, is inanimate. But that to which motion is inherent from itself, is animated; as if this was the very nature of soul. And if there is nothing else which moves itself except soul, soul is necessarily without generation, and immortal. And thus much may suffice, concerning the immortality of the soul. But respecting its idea we must speak after the following manner: To give a perfect description of its nature, would indeed be the employment of narration every way prolix and divine; but to describe a certain similitude of this idea is the business of a human and shorter discourse. Let it then be similar to the kindred power of a winged chariot and charioteer. All the horses and chariots of the Gods are indeed good, and composed from things good; but those of other natures are mixed. And, in the first place, our principal part governs the reins of its two-yoked car. In the next place, one of the horses is good and beautiful, and is composed from things of this kind; but the other is of a contrary nature, and is composed of contrary qualities: and on this account our course is necessarily difficult and hard. But we must endeavour to explain why it is called in a certain respect a mortal and immortal animal. Every soul takes care of every thing which is inanimate, and revolves about the whole of heaven, becoming situated at different times in different forms. While it is perfect, indeed, and winged, its course is sublime, and it governs the universe. But the soul whose wings suffer a defluxion verges downward, till something solid terminates its descent; whence it receives a terrene body, as its destined receptacle, which appears to move itself through the power of the soul: and the whole is called an animal composed from soul and body, and is surnamed a mortal animal. But that which is immortal is perceived by no rational deduction, except that which is hypothetical and feigned: since we neither see, nor sufficiently

participating of depravity. as it pleases divinity. And this is of the following kind: There is a natural power in the wings of the soul. and perishes. in the following manner. But that which is divine is beautiful. and the enjoyment of delicious food. presides over the office committed to his charge. but Vesta alone remains in the habitation of the Gods. These things however are asserted. indeed. adorning and disposing all things with providential care. verges and gravitates to the earth. Likewise Jupiter. the circumference carries them round. driving his winged chariot. And with these indeed the winged nature of the soul is especially nourished and increased: but it departs from its integrity. and possessing a body naturally conjoined with soul. through that which is evil and base. and when he has not been properly disciplined by the charioteers. subsisting as true essence. and good. But those who are denominated immortals. proceeding beyond the extremity of heaven. for we should dare to affirm the truth. the governor of the soul. to raise that which is weighty on high. and an extreme contest.understand. so likewise the dianoetic power of every soul. and without contact. and fell from the soul. The army of Gods and daemons. without figure. stand on its back: and while they are established in this eminence. resides. the vehicles of the Gods being properly adapted to the guiding reins. and whatever can be asserted of a similar kind. and blessed spectacles and processions within the heavens. through the whole of time. But each of the other Gods belonging to the twelve. therefore. however. where the genus of the Gods resides. distributed into eleven parts. proceed with an easy motion: but the vehicles of other natures are attended in their progressions with difficulty and labour. And in this case labour. the soul most participates of that which is divine. But of every thing subsisting about body. nor will it ever be praised according to its dignity and worth. especially when speaking concerning the truth: without colour. And. that a God is a certain immortal animal endued with a soul. But the supercelestial place has not yet been celebrated by any of our poets. But will and power are the perpetual attendants of their processions: for envy is far distant from the divine choir of Gods. to which the genus of the blessed Gods is converted as each accomplishes the proper employment of his nature. and may exist. begins the divine procession. As the dianoetic power. and they behold what the region beyond the heavens contains. the genus of true science. But when they proceed to the banquet. But let us now declare the cause through which the wings were cast aside. of divinity revolves with intellect and immaculate science. it alone uses contemplative intellect. . and from contraries of a similar kind. wise. becomes heavy. therefore. For the horse. are proposed to the soul. when they arrive at the summit. the mighty leader in the heavens. they sublimely ascend in their progression to the subcelestial arch. when it receives a condition accommodated to its nature. follows his course. There are many. about which essence. It subsists. and equally balanced.

spurning against and rushing on each other. they are carried round in a merged condition. contest. and scarcely obtains the vision of perfect realities. nectar for drink. she becomes heavy and drowsy. whose perceptions rank in the second class. But in this circuit it beholds justice herself. But it distributes a soul of the . it returns to its proper home. Hence the tumult. and together with it. And this is the law of Adrastia. involved in mighty labour. raise the head of the charioteer into the supercelestial place. and at another time depress. and being filled with oblivion and depravity. and falls again on the earth. depart destitute of the perception of reality. But if. For. But. And this is the life of the Gods. many break many of their wings. they partly see indeed. And. through the violence of the horses. till the circumference by a circular revolution brings it back again to its pristine situation. besides this. the head of the charioteer: and. then this law prevents her in her first generation from being implanted in some brutal nature.perceiving being through time. but is disturbed by the course of the horses. but that which is science in true being. or a man studious of empire and war. are extreme. the charioteer. and perspiration. and all of them. when it returns. and become similar to its nature. and from some misfortune. And again. but after their departure they use an aliment composed from opinion. or of one desirous of beauty. But. stopping his horses at the manger. is nourished and filled with joy. where he is borne along with the circumference. and to which we give the appellation of beings. of a musician. But it orders the soul. nor in which one thing has a particular local residence in another. again entering within the heavens. many become lame through the fault of the charioteers. that which is best in the soul receives convenient nutriment. or of one devoted to love. with respect to other souls. till another period takes place: and that if she is always able to accomplish this. she has not perceived reality. it beholds temperance. And here. and are partly destitute of vision. it becomes enamoured with it. from a meadow of this kind. to descend into a legitimate king. presents them with ambrosia. through which there is a great endeavour to behold where the plain of truth is situated. by which the soul is enabled to ascend. but commands the soul which has seen the most. contemplating and banqueting on other true beings in the same manner. through an impotency of accomplishing this end. breaks her wings. that whatever soul attending on divinity has beheld any thing of reality shall be free from damage. indeed. and science herself: not that with which generation is present. such as follow divinity in the best manner. and contemplating truth. all of them affecting the vision of this superior place: but from being unable to accomplish this design. she shall be perpetually free from the incursions of evil. to inform the body of a philosopher. But other souls at one time raise. and from this the nature of the wing is nourished. other souls follow. through a contention of precedency in their course.

and was supernally elevated to the contemplation of that which is true. it distributes a soul of the fourth rank into one engaged in gymnastic exercise. On this account. For no soul will return to its pristine condition till the expiration of ten thousand years: since it will not recover the use of its wings before this period. and adhering to that which is divine. may struggle to fly away. and taking care of the body: but souls of the fifth order it distributes into prophets and mystics. is accused by the multitude as insane. in consequence of a favourable judgment. or in procuring remedies. he who passes his life justly will afterwards obtain a better condition of being: but he who acts unjustly will pass into a worse state of existence. For the soul which has never perceived the truth. or together with philosophy has loved beautiful forms. shall be judged. And such a one being separated from human studies and pursuits. on perceiving a portion of terrene beauty. if it has first been the soul of a man. some proceeding to a subterranean place of judgement. therefore. indeed. it makes a distribution into a poetic life. when he has recovered them. alone acquires true perfection. And of those who are judged. into a geometrician or artificer. being always initiated in perfect mysteries. and when she despised what we now consider as realities. tends to the means by which any one. into a tyrant. if they have thrice chosen this mode of life in succession. and from that of a beast again into a man. But in all these. shall in the three thousandth year. Here also the human soul shall pass into the life of a beast. returning to the lot and election of a second life. This whole discourse. the dianoetic power alone of the philosopher is justly winged.third order into the governor of a republic. But he who properly uses meditations of this kind. shall there sustain the punishments they have deserved. while in the mean time. as a being proceeding from the information of many senses to a perception contracted into one by the reasoning power. In the seventh. both the kinds of those who have been judged. In the eighth. into a sophist or popular character. or the master of a trade. And in the thousandth year. fly away to their pristine abode. For the philosophic memory perpetually adheres as much as possible to those concerns. except it is the soul of one who has philosophized sincerely. denominated according to species. But other souls. or the ruler of a family. from being filled with divine enthusiasm. he is concealed from the multitude. when in a perfect condition of being. which respects the fourth kind of fury. having arrived at the end of their first life. by an application to which even a God becomes divine. And again. may recover his wings. shall each of them receive a life agreeable to his desire. shall pass their time in a manner becoming the life they have lived in a human shape. from a reminiscence of that which is true. But others. And in the ninth. and. But this is a recollection of what our soul formerly saw with divinity. In the sixth. But since he . cannot pass into the human form. Indeed it is necessary to understand man. in the third period of a thousand years. being elevated into a certain celestial place. and have thus restored their wings to their natural vigour. These.

like a bird looking on high and despising inferior concerns. But these. and liberated from this surrounding vestment. as we have before observed. neither to those who then were engaged but a short time in the contemplation of those divine objects. quietly stable. like an oyster to its shell. temperance. which we denominate body. and blessed visions. they are astonished. is not easy to all men. the soul of every man has from its nature perceived realities. to perceive from these images the genus of that which is represented. and free from those evils which awaited us in a succeeding period of time. or it could not have entered into the human form. . And we indeed beheld it together with Jupiter. he is accused as one insanely affected. at the same time being initiated in those mysteries which it is lawful to call the most blessed of all mysteries. and became spectators of. have become oblivious of the sacred mysteries which they once beheld. we behold no splendour in similitudes which are here. both to the possessor and the participant: and he who is under the influence of this mania when he loves beautiful objects. but very few are able. and whatever else is similitudes which are here. of justice. and whatever else is precious in the soul. and as it were rapt above themselves: and at the same time they are ignorant what this passion may be. is of all enthusiasms the best. through certain dark instruments. and even to these it is difficult. but others in conjunction with some other God. And these divine orgies were celebrated by us while we were perfect. resident in a pure light. when we obtained together with that happy choir. this blessed vision and contemplation. therefore. turning to injustice from certain associations. But we then saw splendid beauty. being ourselves pure. temperance. entire. when they behold any similitude of supernal forms. is denominated a lover. Indeed. And hence but a few remain whose memory is sufficient for this exalted purpose. because they are not endued with a sufficient perception. nor to those who descending hither have been unfortunate. of justice. But to recollect superior natures from objects of sense. For. and is composed from the best. simple. and to which we are now bound. We likewise were initiated in. nor to such as.cannot accomplish this according to his wish. This enthusiasm.

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