[Rushtalk] Food for thought?

John Nebel john.nebel at csdco.com
Mon Feb 15 12:55:32 MST 2016

You mean that you don't like that particular translation of Plato's Republic 
488a?  I agree.  This translation is better:

I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a 
hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more 
amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men 
are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is 
comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have 
recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the 
fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures. Imagine then a 
fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any 
of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and 
his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarrelling with 
one another about the steering --every one is of opinion that he has a right to 
steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who 
taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, 
and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng 
about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at 
any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the 
others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain's 
senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the 
ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on 
their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them. Him who is their 
partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the 
captain's hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment 
with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, 
whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to 
the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to 
his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and 
that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the 
possibility of this union of authority with the steerer's art has never 
seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling. Now in 
vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how 
will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a 
star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

On 2/15/2016 10:03 AM, Carl Spitzer wrote:
> On Mon, 2016-02-15 at 08:03 -0700, John Nebel wrote:
> It would be easier to read with paragraphs.
> Seems incomplete but a reasonable first effort.
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