Ὧδ’, εἶπον, ἐξευρήσω, σοῦ ἀποκρινομένου ζητῶν ἅμα.
Ἐρώτα δή, ἔφη.
Λέγε δή, ἦν δ’ ἐγώ· οὐκ ἐναντίον φαμὲν λύπην ἡδονῇ;
Καὶ μάλα. |
Οὐκοῦν καὶ τὸ μήτε χαίρειν μήτε λυπεῖσθαι εἶναί τι;
Μεταξὺ τούτοιν ἀμφοῖν ἐν μέσῳ ὂν ἡσυχίαν τινὰ περὶ ταῦτα τῆς ψυχῆς; ἢ οὐχ οὕτως αὐτὸ λέγεις;
Οὕτως, ἦ δ’ ὅς. |
Ἆρ’ οὖν μνημονεύεις, ἦν δ’ ἐγώ, τοὺς τῶν καμνόντων λόγους, οὓς λέγουσιν ὅταν κάμνωσιν;
Ὡς οὐδὲν ἄρα ἐστὶν ἥδιον τοῦ ὑγιαίνειν, ἀλλὰ dσφᾶς ἐλελήθει, πρὶν κάμνειν, ἥδιστον ὄν.
Οὐκοῦν καὶ τῶν περιωδυνίᾳ τινὶ ἐχομένων ἀκούεις λεγόντων ὡς οὐδὲν ἥδιον τοῦ παύσασθαι ὀδυνώμενον; |
Καὶ ἐν ἄλλοις γε οἶμαι πολλοῖς τοιούτοις αἰσθάνῃ γιγνομένους τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, ἐν οἷς, ὅταν λυπῶνται, τὸ μὴ λυπεῖσθαι καὶ τὴν ἡσυχίαν τοῦ τοιούτου ἐγκωμιάζουσιν ὡς ἥδιστον, οὐ τὸ χαίρειν. |
“I’ll find that out if you answer my questions as I put them.”
“Ask away, then!” he said.
“Tell me,” I said, “don’t we agree pain is the opposite of pleasure?”29
“We do indeed.”
“And is there, then, some point where you feel neither joy nor pain?”
“Yes, there is.”
“And being in between these two, it’s a sort of quiet spot for the soul in this respect. Or don’t you put it that way?”
“Yes, I do,” he said.
“Do you remember the words sick people say, when they’re ill?” I asked.
“What are they?”
“That there is nothing more pleasant than being in good health, but they hadn’t realized it was the most pleasant thing before they fell ill.”
“I remember,” he said.
“So do you hear people suffering from some extreme pain say that there is nothing more pleasant than the pain stopping?”
“And you notice, I think, when people get into many other similar situations in which, when they’re in pain, they praise not the feeling of joy but not being in pain and the relief from that sort of thing as the most pleasant sensation.”