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Socrates

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Socrates

Essential Aspects Can be known Only by Being Remembered

This is a deep truth that Socrates knew without having the knowledge about the personality that is available to us now. Now we understand his philosophy psychodynamically; we understand psychologically why we can only remember essence states. We saw in Chapter Three, in our discussion of the theory of holes, that a hole gets filled by a sector of the personality that is related to the lost aspect of essence. We also saw that this sector of the personality is related to its particular aspect of essence by the unconscious memories of the experiences and situations that led to the loss and of the emotions involved in those experiences. In fact, this sector of the personality has in it the memory of the essential aspect itself, and so it is intimately connected to this aspect of essence. Its beginning and development contain the memory of the lost aspect, but the memory is mostly repressed. To remember it consciously involves confronting the painful situations that instituted the repression. So Socrates is right. Essential aspects or absolute forms can be known only by being remembered, by being dredged up from the deepest recesses of the unconscious and experienced consciously. We have not shown, however, that it cannot be known in a different way, such as from somebody else (the way math is learned, for example.) We won't attempt this. However, it is enough for our purposes to point out that essence is a category of experience not accessible to the logical, "mental" mind. It cannot be communicated by the mind to somebody else. Most teachers, in fact, stress that essence is found inside, that the teacher can only point to it, or at best can ignite the inner flame with his own. But the flame is one's own and can be known only directly, within oneself, by oneself.

Remembering Oneself

When one is deeply absorbed in the state of being of the Personal Essence one might not be aware of oneself as a person, but one will still feel this state to have a personal sense. The personal element is a state of Being or a state of consciousness on its own. It is not a quality of something else. The personal element is a specific and absolute aspect of Essence. Like other aspects of Essence, it is a Platonic form. When one experiences the personal aspect one is certain that one feels a personal consciousness, or a personal state of Being. Just as love, will or joy are readily recognized when they are experienced in the pure form of the essential aspect, so is the personal aspect readily recognized. There is always recognition of one's true nature when it is experienced. As Socrates said, one does not learn from anybody or from experience about the Platonic forms. One remembers them from one's own deep resources. One merely remembers oneself.

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