“Well, although our earlier argument, and others, would compel us to accept that soul is immortal, we should still behold what it is like in truth, not mutilated by its association with the body and other bad influences, which is how we behold it now. We should, rather, use reason to see it properly, as it is when it has been purified, and we shall find that it is much more beautiful, and we shall discern justice and injustice with greater clarity, and everything else we have just described. We have now spoken the truth about it, as it appears at the moment. But although we behold it in this condition, we are like people looking at the sea-god, Glaucus, who are still unable, easily, to see his ancient nature, because the original parts of his body have been broken off, smashed and mutilated by the waves. And other things have attached themselves to him, such as shells and seaweed and rocks, so that he seems more like some wild animal, rather than what he is by nature. That’s also how we behold the soul, in a condition that results from countless bad influences. But, dear Glaucon, we should look elsewhere.”

“Where?” said he.

“We should look to soul’s love of wisdom, and consider what it is in contact with, and the sort of thing it strives to associate with, because it is akin to the divine, the immortal, and what always is. We should consider what it would become like by directing itself entirely to this sort of thing, when it has lifted itself by this effort out of the sea that it now resides in, and has knocked off the stones and shells that now encrust it, since it is feasting on earth, and is surrounded by a wild profusion of earth and stone, because of the feasting that is generally called happiness. Then one would see soul’s true nature, what it is like, and how it is so, and whether its form is multiple or just one. But we have now described what happens to it and the forms it takes in human life, in what I regard as a satisfactory manner.”

“Entirely so,” said he.

Plato, Republic X, 611b9 – 612a7

(translation: David Horan)