Who else woke up this morning with the sound of rapid fire, choppers and the smell of that fire strangling the mind, choking the life from our limbs: not the fire normal people think of but the fire storm of automatic rifles pointed at our vulnerable bits by men who want us to be very dead in a very messy way?
Dead Philosophers are where I go when I cannot make sense of the world I live in. When humanity yet again betrays all hope of sanity and sanctuary from evil.
Socrates was the Philosopher who gave us the idea of “Soul”. A concept of Self that is separate from body and mind; a divine and precious existence that is as infinite and inviolable as air. The Oracle had said, “Know thyself” – a statement that had sunk into the consciousness of all around him, he picked that statement up and asked, “Who am I?” For Socrates the Soul was the bridge that sat between good and evil – it was the path of wisdom and would take us to light. “To break a law, even a law I know to be unjust, is wrong.” He told Crito as he waited to die, having been sentenced to death by the powers that be for his dangerous ideas and concepts. Crito and others wished him to leave with them, they had arranged a perfectly crafted escape for their Sensei. Socrates held no love for man’s laws or creations of order, indeed he thought little of the men in power (as I hold little respect today for ours), “It seems to me that the people with the greatest reputations are the ones who are most deficient [in true knowledge and wisdom], while others who are supposed to be their inferiors are much better in practical intelligence.” 417 BC – how little have we progressed, our leaders continue to disappoint with their lack of wisdom and understanding of SELF.
Why would Socrates not break a law, even one that he knew to be completely wrong and unjust?
He held his soul, or self, in too great a reverence. For him to do wrong, whatever that wrong be, was to damage one’s self. To crush one’s soul. It mattered not what others did to him, it mattered only that He stand apart from injustice, wrong and that he hold to a path of wisdom and truth. He was put to death for his heretical beliefs. It undermined the very fabric of authority and control.
You see my rail against the idiocy, conceited stupidity of the Chief’s of Police, Heads of Military, etc who damage their own in their ignorance. They are so deeply ensconced in the cave of lies and darkness, a conceit of their own making. They who are locked in a dance to hell with the emotional ties to a public they serve with simpering platitudes and care little for the men and women they trample beneath their polished boots. What if they were dragged to the light? Having sat there watching the puppets dancing on the back walls of the cave, (Socrates described how the puppeteers projected images of lies on the back wall of the caves using the light of the fire, describing precisely our world of media and tv) what would happen if we dragged them to the light? Would they accept the wisdom and truth that is waiting for us all in the sun? Nope. They’d scurry back to the reality that they know and are entrenched in. Back to the cave of lies.
So too are these terrorists and evil doers in Paris.
They have lost all sense of Self and Soul. They are buried in life as they will be in death, a world of lies and darkness surrounds them. They are no better than the warped and demonic beings that existed millennia ago – without reason or ability to rationalize the very essence of who we are. We are not mere biological beings – no matter how scientists dissolve humanity into the tiniest atoms, DNA strings and predetermined concepts of genetic code, there is always SELF. Our souls cannot be boxed in or catalogued. We are NOT JUST collective definitions “man is a featherless biped” – that is a statement of fact but it ignores the reality that we are not just that, Plato knew this – if only more read his dialogues. Our SELF, Our SOUL, “is not part of the realm of the sense or the world we normally describe as reality”. Our souls existed before matter. Before this reality we can see, touch, feel.
3,000 BC and we are no further along.
We as a race are as cemented in the dark cave as we were 5,000 years ago.
“Who am I?”
If we were to answer this truly, each of us would not our world change dramatically? Would not we see the acts of Paris for what they are?
American Satirist H.L. Mencken described our consciences as the little voice in our heads that says, “Don’t do that! Somebody might be watching.” Plato saw this “Somebody” as our higher SELF – our Soul. We fight against the constrains of its edicts, we often ignore it and sometimes, we mute it whilst we watch the little dramas predesigned by others in our dark caves, but it is there, asking us to live up to a higher model of wisdom and perfection, to seek truth in action and thought. To walk the walk always.
There is a hypocrisy in this world that crushes me daily.
I sat recently and listened to a man tell his fellow police officers about how we must do more to protect our own, how we must increase our awareness of the moral injuries done to those that fight on the streets against injustice and those that prey on the weak. This man I now hold in the greatest contempt as he has betrayed all that he said he stood for. He is yet again another example of exactly what I fear most in men and women of power: that ability to fool themselves. The injury he does to others is nothing compared to the injury he does to his SOUL. He has one chance, this lifetime, to prove his worth and climb out of the cave. He failed. He fails. Just as those others in power do.
What of Paris?
I am a very small child. The first shots have been fired, the geese screamed the first alert – geese make very good alarm systems – now there is the practiced movement of humans at war. I know my role. I do it unthinking. Brain numb. Fingers numb. Mute. The choppers may or may not get to us in time. Does it matter? Do I the child have any desire to continue in this life of pain? Probably not. So much death and mutilated humanity exists in the cavities of my brain, it warps my perception of the world. How does a child of such brutality and betrayal, who’s very parents were the ones who hurt her most, climb out of the cave and find ‘happiness’? A sense of well-being the Greeks called ‘Eudaemonia”, how can I wake on mornings like this and face the world with confidence, energy and expect more than horror, loathing and pain? Paris.
I believe that the answer to this lies in the knowledge that all wisdom is simply a matter of remembering.
Not my life. Not my experience of life, but of the afterlife, the infinite where wisdom, perfection and truth dwell. Our SOULS know the truth, if we but pause and listen the answer lies within. Not externally. Not determined by the events around us but in the quiet spaces of our eternal selves. We are born with a sacred wisdom that bit by bit life diminishes, life as we know it mutes that voice that is so beautiful, so perfect, it’s clarity if pulled into the light would pierce the darkness of the deepest cave of lies. If only we for one moment, pause, and seek it out.
Is but the acts of brutal beasts without a sense of SELF, puppets manipulated by men and women in power who are warped, decrepit beings of little real value to world, no more than they were 5,000 years ago when the Oracle gave the world this statement to free ourselves: Know Thyself.