The Mighty Strings of Pleasure and Pain

Excerpt from Plato Rediscovered by T. K. Seung:

"Cleinias says that what is generally called peace is only a fiction and that every state is by nature forced to wage an undeclared war against every other state. In response, the Athenian stranger says that the universal war is not limited to the relation between different states, but takes place between villages, between households, and between individuals, and that it takes place even between the different parts of each individual soul.

The ultimate cause of this universal war is the mighty strings of pleasure and pain that control all human beings like puppets for self-gratification and self-aggrandizement. In the Gorgias, Callicles described the entire world of nature as a theater of aggression and predation for the gratification of appetites. There are two ways to cope with this universal war, according to the Athenian stranger; one is the way of conquest and victory, and the other is the way of friendship and reconciliation. In fact, the laws of Sparta and Crete are designed as instruments of war and conquest; hence they develop only the virtue of courage and neglect the other virtues. The way of friendship and reconciliation has to begin within the soul of each individual; the war between the different parts of the soul should be ended by bringing them into friendship and harmony. Their friendship is the Pythagorean philia; their harmony is the concord of reason and emotion, which is the virtue of temperance (sophrosyne). 

The concord of reason and emotion is the highest form of knowledge and wisdom; their discord is the lowest form of ignorance and folly."