Excerpt 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.

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