Friom Meno, 81a-d

Meno: 81A Don’t you think this argument is well formulated, Socrates?

Soc: I do not.

Meno: Can you say why?

Soc: I can: for I have heard about matters divine from wise men and women…

Meno: What did they propose?

Soc: Something true and beautiful, in my view anyway.

Meno: What was it and who were the people who said it?

Soc: Those who said it were priests and priestesses who cared about being able to give  an explanation of their practices. Pindar expresses it too, and so do numerous other poets who are divine. What they say is as follows; decide for yourself whether they are speaking the truth: for they say that the soul of man is immortal, and at one time it comes to an end, and they call this “death”, and at another time it comes to birth once more, but it is never destroyed. For these reasons then, we should live our lives in the utmost holiness. For:

From whomsoever Persephone accepts a penalty for an ancient affliction,

Their souls she sends once more to the sun above, in the ninth year.

From these arise illustrious kings, and men, mighty in strength, supreme in wisdom,

And ever after they are called sacred heroes by humanity.

Now since the soul is immortal and has come to birth many times and has beheld everything there is, both here and in Hades[15], there is nothing she has not learned. So it is no wonder that she is able to recollect what she knew previously about excellence or about other things. Indeed since all of nature is akin, and the soul has learned all things, there is nothing to prevent someone who has only recalled one, a process that people call learning, from discovering all the others, provided he is courageous and does not tire of the enquiry, for enquiring and learning are wholly recollection.

Translation: David Horan