XXII. But since we have proposed to ourselves to give not only an explanation of the literal account given to us, but also of its more figurative meaning, we must say what is necessary to be said concerning that also. Perhaps now some persons of rash and inconsiderate dispositions will laugh; nevertheless, I will speak without concealing anything. And I will say that the statesman is at all times an interpreter of dreams, not classing him by this statement among the charlatans and vain chatterers, and men who put forth sophistical pretences by way of making money, or among those who profess the explanation of visions which have appeared to persons in their sleep in the hope of acquiring gain; but I mean that the statesman is accustomed to interpret accurately the great, and common, and universal general dreams, not only of sleeping but also of waking persons. And this dream, to speak the truth, is the life of man; for as in the visions which appear to us in sleep, which seeing we do not see, and hearing we do not hear, and tasting and touching we do not either taste or touch, and speaking we do not speak, and walking we do not walk, and while appearing to exert other motions or to win other positions wo are not in reality in any such motions or positions; but they are mere empty fancies without any truth in them of the mind which fancies to itself a sketch, and makes to itself a representation of things which are not, as if they were; and in like manner the fancies which occur to waking people resemble the dreams of sleepers. They have come, they have departed; they have appeared, they have disappeared; before they could be scarcely comprehended they have flown away. And let every one who dreams in this way inquire within himself and he will find a proof of these things within, and without any proofs from me he will know the truth of what I say, especially if he happens to be at all an old man. He was at one time an infant, and after that a child, and then a boy, and then a youth, and subsequently a young man, and then a man, and last of all an old man, but he was not all these things at the same time. Did not the infant disappear before the child, and the child before the boy, and the boy before the youth, and the youth before the young man, and the young man before the full-grown man, and the man in the prime of life before the old man? and did not old age disappear in death? Perhaps, also, every one of the different ages of life yields in vigour to the one which comes next to it, and so dies before its time, nature by these means teaching us not to fear the death which comes upon all men, inasmuch as we have found it easy to bear the previous deaths, the death that is of the infant, and that of the child, and that of the boy, and that of the youth, and that of the young man, and that of the full grown man, not one of whom exist any longer when old age has arrived.