Excerpt About Socrates

The Memory of Essence

In the history and literature of the Work, we see that knowledge of what we are calling “Essence” is the goal of the Work. In Western philosophy, we find Plato talking about pure ideas, or the Platonic forms. Plato, a student of Socrates (who was doing the Work), wrote about Socrates’ discussions with his students concerning what are called the “eternal verities.” (We call them the qualities of Essence. These include courage, truth, humility, love, and so on.) Socrates wanted to show how people learn these things. He demonstrated that we can’t learn these from someone else. No one can teach you the quality of courage or love. In his final arguments, he showed that we know these things only by remembering them. Everyone has some memory of these essential forms. We have seen in our work that a consistent characteristic of essential states is the feeling that you have known it before, you have been here before, you are recalling a more fundamental reality that, in the process of living, you had forgotten. So we know that although we are generally unaware of it, this memory of Essence exists, and we know that the process of remembering our Essence is the process of remembering ourselves, of returning to our true nature.

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