Chapter 8: The Disappearance of the Magician
But knowledge is more secure: no government can take it away, no change of politics can take it away, nobody can rob you of it, and you cannot go so easily bankrupt. Knowledge seems to be more secure. And any day, if you have knowledge, you can produce money - not otherwise. Knowledge can bring money, not otherwise. Money may not be able to bring knowledge, so knowledge is more of a richness, a greater wealth, more powerful - and the subtlest possession inside. The ego feels very good: “I know.” That’s why it is one of the most difficult things to recognize that “I don’t know.” The moment you recognize that you don’t know, you become innocent, you become available.the ego disappears.
The question is from Deva Geeta. She is an old sannyasin. And she says, “Is it possible for someone as ignorant as I am to attain to enlightenment?” It is only possible for those who know that they are ignorant - this is the beginning of real knowledge, the first sunray of wisdom penetrating into the darkness of your soul. The ego is the darkness, and this recognition that “I don’t know” is the first ray of wisdom.
Socrates is reported to have said, “When I was young, I thought I knew everything. When I became a little more mature I started to feel that I knew only a few things. When I became old, one day I recognized that I don’t know anything at all.” That day he declared, “My ignorance is utterly ultimate and profound, and I don’t see any way that I can get out of my ignorance.” Because truth is mysterious and unknowable, and cannot be analyzed and dissected. There is no way to know it. You can be the truth but you cannot know it, because for knowing distance is needed. For knowledge truth has to be there as an object, you have to be there inside as a subject, and between you two happens knowledge. Knowledge divides the world into three parts, a trinity: the knower, the known, and knowledge.
Truth is one. Neither is there anything to know, nor is there anybody to know it, so how is knowledge possible? Truth is, existence is, life is, and we are part of it.
Socrates says, “Now I can say I don’t know anything.” The day he declared this, the oracle in Delphi said to some people, “Socrates is the greatest man of wisdom alive on the earth.” Those people came back and said to Socrates, “You are blessed! The oracle of the temple of Delphi has declared you the greatest wise man of the world.”
Socrates laughed and said, “It is too late now. I know that I know nothing. There must be some mistake. At least this time the oracle has missed. You go back and tell the oracle that Socrates himself refuses it.”
Those people were very puzzled because they were thinking they were bringing good news. What more could there be? When the gods declare Socrates to be the wisest man of the world, what more can you expect? And here is this fool; he says, “I don’t know anything. And it is too late. And you go and say that something has gone wrong; the oracle is not right.”
Those people, puzzled, confused, went back. They said to the god of the temple, “Socrates denies; he says, ‘I am absolutely ignorant.’” And there was laughter in the temple, and the god said, “That’s why we declared him the greatest and the wisest man in the world. That’s why. There has been no mistake.”