The Therapon — Chapter 9
SOC. Your answer is a resounding question, Therapon. But what of this form? If it is not to found in the material itself, is it not then immaterial?
THER. It must be.
SOC. And if it is immaterial, and, therefore, not in a condition of becoming to be, to which of these states do you ascribe this form?
THER. Which states do you propose?
SOC. The ones that we apprehended earlier, I mean, that which always is and that which never is; to which of these do you ally this form?
THER. I cannot see in any manner how that which sometimes is, or is becoming to be, can be the offspring of that which never is and is nothing.
SOC. That, indeed, is difficult.
THER. Then I am certain, at this moment, that the form must be of the kind that always is.
SOC. What name, then, would you give to this form?
THER. I would denominate it flower, or the form of flower.
SOC. And is there a limit to the number of flowers, or species of flowers, that may be generated according to the form or idea of flower?
THER. How can there be?
SOC. Yet the limit of them all is simply that they are all flowers, no matter how many may rise into existence.
THER. It is so, though their number should be beyond counting.
SOC. And would you say that whatever qualities any flower may possess or express, that these are received from that same idea or form of flower?
THER. I would, and very much so.
SOC. And further, that these same various qualities, when they are impressed upon the material, do they then become perceptible to the various powers and organs of sense?
THER. I think that they do.
SOC. If, then, we say that any thing is deformed, do we also say that this is received from the form?
THER. How can it be? For that which appears to be deformed must be without that form, or deprived of it to some degree or other.
SOC. Either that, or something else must be present to that which appears to be deformed.
THER. What can that be?
SOC. That which many say they believe to exist, the form of deformity or deformity itself.
THER. That has an evil sound to it, Socrates.
SOC. It does so, Therapon, but we should not fear to examine it. If, then, deformity itself exists, would not its very essence and being be deformed?
THER. It would.
SOC. And what of its power or powers, would they not likewise be thoroughly deformed?
THER. They would, and very much so.
SOC. And its energies, whether they are in doing or knowing or anything else, would they not also be deformed to the same degree?
THER. Again, they would be.
SOC. And can we say that what is deformed is complete, and is a whole, and yet is deformed throughout itself?
THER. I am not sure how to answer this.
SOC. Is, then, a deformed whole the same as a whole?
THER. It is not.
SOC. Then would you say that it is different?
THER. I would.
SOC. What then is it that is different from a whole, or do we not say that it is a part?
THER. We do.
SOC. Then the deformed is a part, is this what follows?
THER. It appears that it does.
SOC. But as a part, must it not in this also be deformed?
THER. It must.
SOC. And a part is not the same as a deformed part?
THER. It is not.
SOC. It is then different to a part.
THER. It is.
SOC. What then can we call that which is not a part of anything, and yet is not the whole of anything either?
THER. I cannot find a name for something of this kind.
SOC. That is not surprising, for it appears that wherever this deformity itself is present, it is deformed even in that presence; and that at its very essence it is deformed, and this totally; so that we cannot say that it truly is to any degree, except as the result of the absence or distance from, or the distortion of, form.
THER. I now understand what you are saying.
SOC. If, then, deformity itself is the absence of form, it can never be a form; and if it is the distance from form, it will be an appearance only, and sometimes is and sometimes is not, and occurs in the material but not in the form. For how can that which is without form be the same as that which is form?
THER. It cannot be.
SOC. And how can that which only appears as the absence or distance from anything, or is the result of the distortion of something, have anything but a passing or fleeting presence, and which is at once removed when form is totally present to the material?
THER. It cannot but have that temporary and partial appearance.
SOC. Then we are now approaching to the purpose of our investigation, and I will propose to you this further question.
THER. Please propose it, Socrates.
SOC. Do you say, then, that anything is true, or that nothing is true, or that some things are true and that some are not?
THER. I would say that some things are true, and that some are not.
SOC. And would you say of these same things, that those of them that are true are true, and that those of them that are not true are not true?
THER. I would.
SOC. Do you say, then, that what is not true exists?
THER. I am not sure what answer to give, Socrates.
SOC. Then consider this, do we not say of that which is not true, that it is not?
THER. We do.
SOC. And do we not say of that which is sometimes true, and sometimes not, that while it is true it is, and while it is not true it is not?
THER. Again, we do so say.
SOC. And what of that which is never true, can it be said that it ever is at all?
THER. It cannot be said with any sanity.
SOC. But what of that which is always true, will it not always truly be?
THER. It cannot be otherwise.
SOC. Do you see, then, that such as is the truth of anything such is its being?
THER. I do, and very clearly.
SOC. And that where there is no truth of any thing, there likewise there will not be being?
THER. This too I clearly see at this moment.
SOC. Then are we left with that which for a time is true, and that which is always true; and that which for a time is, and that which always is. Do you also see this?
THER. I do.
SOC. What, then, do you say that ignorance is?
(To be continue)