Socrates – The unrelenting pursuit of truth
Socrates – The unrelenting pursuit of truth
Socrates is widely credited with being the father of modern day philosophy as it is from his teachings that Plato based his Academy – teachings which further students then propagated. However, Socrates learnt and taught in the tradition of Pythagoras so it is to Pythagoras that title goes, and before him to Hermes where the Ageless Wisdom begins.
Although, as all of these teachers taught, the Ageless Wisdom does not belong to one person, it is transmitted through all who are willing to live in a certain way that allows its transmission. There is no one ‘father’, but many who live it.
Socrates was a simple man who led an extraordinary life. The time in which Socrates lived was one of corruption and violence in Athens. As a young adult he left Athens and went to Italy to study in the Pythagorean schools. Truth was paramount to Socrates and something that he always sought above all else. After a number of years, he returned to Athens and taught to willing students.
Socrates placed Truth at the forefront of everything he did and he was unrelenting in his pursuit and expression of this. He did not hold back, in contrast to the standards and norms of the day, and he walked true to himself in a city where conformity and a class-based society were the norms on pain of death. He in fact took pleasure in challenging the tenets of the day.
Socrates dedicated himself to a life of purity and to truth, in contrast to the corruption, indulgence and excess of Athens. In a class-based, hierarchical society with strict divisions between people, he held and lived that all were equal and wisdom could be accessed by us all through a way of living, with no special education, money, language, learning or literacy required. He taught of the Soul and the importance of inner connection as Pythagoras had taught. He lived in a way of purity and detachment from material excess that allowed him to access his Soul and the Universal Mind, which allowed him to gain understanding. His focus was on the human realm and day-to-day life, whereas schools of philosophy before him had focussed on the stars.
Socrates is a powerful figure in the lineage of the Ageless Wisdom as he stood true to Truth and to his deep care for people, publicly so, no matter the consequences, in an era when standing for Truth in contrast to the teachings of the day was punishable by death. He anchored an enormous strength for all to access.
Socrates had a deep care for people, deeply humble and dedicated to his community. He was unrelenting in his public exposure of the ills of society at that time.
This did not make him a popular figure, but in the tradition of those committed to Truth who came before him and have since come after him, he did not tarry or sway in the face of opposition. His dedication to truth and God came first. He knew his responsibility to all was to live and speak truth. A life without truth was a living death for Socrates. He inspired many in his time with this publicly lived dedication and care.
Like many key figures in the Ageless Wisdom his memory has been corrupted to reduce the power of what he brought.
He brought us courage, strength, humility, purity and an absolute unrelenting commitment to Truth and to living the essential values of Truth in society; of dignity, decency and respect and an equality for all. He called all to a higher standard of lived responsibility in society and he did not waver in that call. He called for society to be founded on true values, not ones of expediency and personal gain. Corruption was anathema to his being and he saw it as a great ill in society.
Yet instead of his values and purity, we are taught of his ugliness, of his poor manner of dressing, and we are taught that he spent his time arguing with people in the marketplace. He is presented as being the pied piper of Athens whom the youth followed, but the truth is, this is not the case.
Socrates, was a man of great simplicity and dedication to Truth who stood in that simplicity and in the light of truth in an era of darkness and corruption. Not only did he not lose his way, in a society which pressured you to conform by pain of death, he held the light and lit and shared the way for hundreds at that time so that they too might stand strong in their truth amidst the days of darkness, thus lighting the way for all others.
Socrates taught in a manner of discourse and questioning, encouraging people to always explore the deeper ‘why’ until a unifying truth was reached. In this he was unrelenting. Exploration was done in synergy, never to ‘outdo’ another. It was to explore and grow together. There was no ‘Socratic Method’ as has been falsely taught in universities across the world, and there was no ‘Socratic Irony’ taught as a tool.
Socrates was natural in his engagements with people and used a common dialogue accessible to all and no far reaching philosophical language out of reach. Rather than lecturing, he empowered others to their own connection and their own living. It was a joy to converse and to question together and not a matter of intellectual dominance. He had no such ‘method’ that he claimed as ‘his own’, but rather it was natural for him to question everything and this he encouraged and supported his students to develop for themselves.
He took the position of ‘not knowing’, a position of naivety, in order to question to seek to understand the true why. This was not a tool to manipulate or dominate another but rather came from innocence and purity.
He was humble enough to say that he alone knew nothing, and that it was only in connection with his Soul that he could access Universal Intelligence. It is extraordinary to think that a man held up as being a ‘genius’ in the annals of history – a philosophical savant – was in fact a very ordinary, simple-living man, not intellectually aloft, but open and accessible to all.
Socrates taught in a position of equality amongst his students and made philosophy a way of life around the dinner table, or in the town square, and not something removed from society, only for schools of teaching far from the reach of daily life. True to this style of teaching, history has recorded no written works by Socrates; only what has been recorded and committed to writing by his great student and scribe, Plato. His thinking and questioning challenged the beliefs and the thinking of the day and the very values on which society was founded. But none of what was considered was an exercise in intellectual superiority. For Socrates everything was lived. Truth was something that was lived, not thought or simply ‘known’. Each point of Truth then led to the next point of Truth. Life was a perpetual unravelling to a terminal point of ultimate Truth. For Socrates, a life was not worth living if it was not questioned and examined in this way.
Truth was true freedom, and a life without Truth was not a life, it was a living death.
Those in power in Athens were enormously threatened by the True Power that Socrates lived, by his continual exposure of the ills and corruptions of society, and by the true reflection and inspiration his way of living brought to the greater population. He inspired people to their own knowing, and to ask their own questions of the life around them. Those in power despised him and the unrelenting purity that he freely and unashamedly lived. As with many bearers of Truth throughout the ages, trumped-up charges were finally brought against him and he was sentenced to death by hemlock at the age of 70 – a death that he embraced without cowering, and in Socratic style he continued to teach in joy until the moment of his death.
The death of Socrates marked a death of purity and of a sword-like Power to cut through corruption and evil in Athens at that time. It is said that Socrates carried the sword of The Hierarchy. Despite his death, the Lineage of the Ageless Wisdom continued, with The Way and all that he shared imparted to those around him who further lived this way. The Way continued immediately with Plato and many others at that time who remain nameless in the annals of history. His living memory serves as an inspiration to all who seek to walk the path of Truth in daily society. No special education or intelligence is required to be a philosopher. All that is required is a willingness to question and to seek one’s own truth, and these values hold ever true today.
Socrates stands as one of the key public figures in the Lineage – a public lynchpin between Truth and the ordinary everyday man – in the transmission of the Ageless Wisdom to the world, and stands as an inspiration to men and women everywhere throughout time of embodied Truth lived out in the open of society for all to see and learn from. He brought, in all its simplicity, philosophy and purity as a way of life in day-to-day society for the everyday, ordinary person to bear witness to.