"When a man has in his mind a good thick slab of wax, smooth and kneaded to the right consistency, and the impressions that come through the senses are stamped on these tables of the 'heart'--Homer's word hints at the mind's likeness to wax--then the imprints are clear and deep enough to last a long time."

— Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)


Work Title
Date
360-355 B.C.
Metaphor
"When a man has in his mind a good thick slab of wax, smooth and kneaded to the right consistency, and the impressions that come through the senses are stamped on these tables of the 'heart'--Homer's word hints at the mind's likeness to wax--then the imprints are clear and deep enough to last a long time."
Metaphor in Context
SOCRATES: Well, they say the differences arise in this way. When a man has in his mind a good thick slab of wax, smooth and kneaded to the right consistency, and the impressions that come through the senses are stamped on these tables of the 'heart'--Homer's word hints at the mind's likeness to wax--then the imprints are clear and deep enough to last a long time. Such people are quick to learn and also have good memories, and besides they do not interchange the imprints of their perceptions but think truly. These imprints being distinct and well spaced are quickly assigned to their several stamps--the 'real things' as they are called--and such men are said to be clever. Do you agree?
(194b-d, pp. 900-1)
Provenance
Reading; found again in Margreta de Grazia’s "Imprints: Shakespeare, Gutenberg, and Descartes," in Printing and Parenting in Early Modern England (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005): 29-58, p. 30.
Citation
Hamilton, E. and Cairns, H., Eds. The Collected Dialogues of Plato. Bollingen Series. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978.
Date of Entry
05/09/2005
Date of Review
03/20/2009

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.