Plato's " Phaedrus "
I actually heard, in that case, that for Naucratis, in Egypt, was one of the historic gods of the country, the one whose sacred bird is called the ibis, and the name of the goodness himself was Theuth. This individual it was who [274d] created numbers and arithmetic and geometry and astronomy, also draughts and dice, and, most important of all, letters. Right now the california king of all Egypt at that time was the god Thamus, who occupied the great city of the upper area, which the Greeks call the Egyptian Thebes, and they call up the goodness himself Ammon. To him came Theuth to show his inventions, saying they ought to always be imparted towards the other Egyptians. But Thamus asked what use there were in every, and as Theuth enumerated their uses, expressed praise or blame, in accordance as he approved [274e] or disapproved. The story goes that Thamus stated many things to Theuth in praise or perhaps blame with the various arts, which it could take a long time to repeat; but when that they came to the letters, " This invention, O king, ” explained Theuth, " will make the Egyptians wiser and will enhance their memories; for doing it is a great elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered. ” But Thamus replied, " Most innovative Theuth, one particular man has the capacity to beget arts, but the capability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users is owned by another; [275a] and now you, who would be the father of letters, had been led because of your affection to ascribe to them a power the other of that which they really have got. For this invention will generate forgetfulness for those who discover how to use it, mainly because they will not practice their memory. Their rely upon writing, manufactured by external character types which are not any part of themselves, will dissuade the use of their particular memory inside them. You have invented a great elixir certainly not of storage, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not the case wisdom, because will go through many things without instruction and can therefore seem to be [275b] to find out many things, if they are for the most part unaware and rare along with, since they are not really wise, nevertheless only look wise. Phaedrus:
Socrates, you easily make-up stories of Egypt or any type of country you please. Socrates:
They accustomed to say, my good friend, that the phrases of the walnut in the holy place of Zeus at Dodona were the first prophetic utterances. Those of that period, not being therefore wise as you may young people, were content in their simplicity to hear a great oak [275c] or a rock, provided but it spoke the fact; but to you, perhaps, that makes a difference whom the loudspeaker is and where he comes from, for you do not consider just whether his words will be true or perhaps not. Phaedrus:
Your rebuke is just; and i believe the Theban is right in what he says about letters. Socrates:
He who have thinks, then, that he has left lurking behind him any art in writing, and he who receives it inside the belief that anything in writing will be obvious and selected, would be an utterly straightforward person, and truth ignorant of the prophecy of Ammon, if he thinks [275d] written words and phrases are of any employ except to remind him who knows the matter regarding which they happen to be written.
Writing, Phaedrus, has this kind of strange top quality, and is extremely like painting; for the creatures of painting stand like living beings, but since one requests them something, they maintain a solemn silence. And thus it is with written words; you might think they spoke like they had brains, but if you question all of them, wishing to find out about their words, they often say merely one and the same thing. And every expression, when [275e] once it truly is written, is definitely bandied about, alike amongst those who understand and those who may have no interest in it, and it is aware of not to who to speak or not to speak; when ill-treated or unjustly reviled this always requirements its daddy to help this; for it does not have any power to safeguard or support itself. Phaedrus:
You can be right about that, too.
Now tell me; is there certainly not another kind of conversation, or term, which reveals itself to be the...