XXII. (69) On this account also, God “saw that Er was Wicked,”{34}{#ge 38:7.} without any apparent cause for this judgment of his character, and he slew him. For God is not unaware that that leathern mass which covers us, namely, the body; for Er being interpreted means leather, is an evil thing, and one which plots against the soul, and which is at all times lifeless and dead. For what else does he compel any one of us to do but to carry about a dead body, our soul raising up the body which as far as its own nature goes is dead, and bearing it almost without difficulty? And just consider, if you will, the great energy of the soul, (70) for the most vigorous athlete would not be able to carry about a statue of himself for even a short time; but the soul, without any exertion and without any fatigue, carries about the statue of a man occasionally even for as long a time as a hundred years; for even at the end of that period it does not kill it, but only gets rid of a body which was dead from the beginning. (71) And it is evil by nature, as I have said before, and a thing which plots against the soul, but which is not visible to all men, but only to God, and to such men as are friends to God. “For the wicked Er,” says Moses, “was an enemy of the Lord.” For when the mind busies itself with sublime contemplations, and becomes initiated into the mysteries of the Lord, it judges the body to be a wicked and hostile thing; but when it abandons its investigations of divine things, it then looks upon the body as something friendly, and belonging to and nearly akin to itself; and accordingly it flies to the things which are dear to it. (72) On this account the soul of the athlete and the soul of the philosopher differ; for the athlete attributes all his importance to the good condition of his body, and would throw away his soul itself in the cause of his body, as being a man devoted to his body; but the philosopher, being a lover of what is virtuous, cares for that which is alive within him, namely his soul, and disregards his body which is dead, having no other object but to prevent the most excellent portion of him, namely his soul, from being injured by the evil and dead thing which is connected with it.