“Philosophers, at least, when they want to correct behavior and teach, use examples from real events. But poets do the same thing by making up facts and telling myths! Melanthios, thus, either joking or in earnest, used to say that the city of Athens was saved by the strife and disruption of its politicians, since they would not all gather on one side of the ship. In this way, thanks to the disagreement of the politicians, there was always a counterweight to actual harm. Similarly, the contradictions of the poets do not allow a forceful tipping into harm by bringing restoring our credulity to balance.”

This is taken from Quomodo adulescens poetas audire debeat, Plutarch’s essay on the study of poetry as a means of training the young in preparation for the study of philosophy later. The painting is “The Shipwreck,” by JMW Turner (1805.)

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