# Essay on The Divided Line

2728 Words 11 Pages
The Divided Line

The Divided Line (The Republic , Book VI)
Socrates
You have to imagine, then, that there are two ruling powers, and that one of them is set over the intellectual world, the other over the visible. I do not say heaven, lest you should fancy that I am playing upon the name. May I suppose that you have this distinction of the visible and intelligible fixed in your mind?
Glaucon
I have.
Socrates
Now take a line which has been cut into two unequal parts and divide each of them again in the same proportion, and suppose the two main divisions to answer, one to the visible and the other to the intelligible, and then compare the subdivisions in respect of their clearness and want of clearness, and you will
2
Glaucon
I do not quite understand your meaning.
Socrates
Then I will try again; you will understand me better when I have made some preliminary remarks. You are awarZ@tudents of geometry, arithmetic, and the kindred sciences assume the odd and the even and teh figures and three kinds of angles and the like in their several branches of science; these are their hypotheses, which they and everybody are supposed to know, and therefore they do not deign to give any account of them either to themselves or others; but they begin with them, and go on until they arrive at last, and in a consistent manner, at their conclusions?
Glaucon
Yes, I know.
Socrates
And do you not know also that although they make use of the visible forms and reason about them, they are thinking not of these, but of the ideas which they resemble; not of the figures which they draw, but of the absolute square and teh absolute diameter, and so on, the forms which they draw or make, and which have shadowsa and reflections in water of their own, are converted by them into images, but they are really seeking to behold the things themselves, which can only be seen with the eye of the mind?
Glaucon
That is true.
Socrates
And of this kind I spoke as the intelligible, although in the search

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