it, always tries to obtain some practical good. Merely to show how one physical thing changes into another, or sets another in motion, does not account rationally for the world; and Anaxagoras, though he talked about Thought, did not seem to Socrates to get at the heart of rational activity. But Socrates, having once caught the suggestion of Thought as a cause, never could set it aside. To inquire into the nature of rational activity implies a careful study of men and of human minds.
SOCRATES AND THE PYTHAGOREANS
Now in that Age of Pericles there was a great interest in men and all that concerned human life. Socrates loved to talk with men. This put him in especial sympathy with the Pythagoreans, who valued human souls and said that men are immortal. Pythagoras, the founder of that school of thought in the previous century, had organized a brotherhood of students, bound to each other by ties of religion, austere life, and high thinking. This brotherhood had tried to influence and improve the political life of the cities where they lived. In the days of Socrates they had given up politics, but never had lost their religious and human interest. Not only did they work in healing, in astronomy, in music, and in geometry; they wanted to find the essence of justice, beauty, life, and health. Such essences seemed to give all the reality to human life. The Pythagoreans conceived of them, strangely enough, as somehow mixed up with geometry. Indeed, we ourselves are apt to speak of justice as the square thing; but this metaphor of ours was perhaps a reality to their minds. Different forms or shapes, cubes, spheres, pyramids, triangles, circles, and squares, may have seemed to them the essences of the world, and they took a Greek word, ίδέα, which meant form in those times, to express their notion of essence; in that sense they tried to find the ideas of beauty, or of temperance, or of health. Socrates, being interested in this line of thought, made up his mind to find the ideas. But he was not satisfied with such a geometrical notion of things as the Pythagoreans seem to have held. He wanted to talk with men, and study life as it was reflected in human thoughts, hoping thus to get clearer notions of reality which would be practical help to himself and others. A thing is made beautiful by the beauty