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Chapter 31: The Courage to Be Ignorant

Socrates was condemned for corrupting the youth, and all that he was doing was the simple process of removing borrowed knowledge and helping his disciples to be themselves and then “to know thyself.” If anybody has served truth the most sincerely it was Socrates. But he was condemned by the court, by the law, by the people who were in power, for corruption, for corrupting young minds.

Strangely, in the land of Socrates I was also condemned as corrupting people’s minds. It seems the technology of corrupting the youth has evolved immensely in two thousand years, because it took Socrates his whole life to corrupt, and I was only there for two weeks! And the archbishop was already threatening to burn my house, to stone me to death.

Why are they afraid? They know perfectly well that they have no foundations. So if anybody shows the young people that their knowledge is unfounded - that all their answers are bogus because they don’t even have questions, that they are only repeating things parrot-like but they don’t have any understanding of what they are saying - then anybody who has a little intelligence will be able to understand it immediately.

Is this corruption of the youth? To bring people to the quest of the truth - is this corruption? It is the greatest crime in the world in which - unfortunately - we are living.

Probably no enlightened master has spoken so many millions of words about the truth as you have. Lao Tzu says, “The truth that can be spoken is not the truth.”

Beloved master, what do you say?

Lao Tzu is right. The truth that can be spoken is no longer true, because the mechanism of language distorts the experience - which happens beyond mind, beyond words. To pull it down to the darker valleys of language is certainly distorting it.

On the one hand it is true that the truth cannot be spoken; on the other hand, because the truth cannot be spoken it has to be spoken in thousands of ways. The problem is not that the truth will reach to you through thousands of ways, but you may become infected with the search. If a man speaks about the truth he may not be able to say it.but you can get a glimpse from his eyes, you can get something from his gestures - something not from the words but the way the words are spoken, the emphasis, the gaps. The presence of such a man speaking may be just an excuse to allow you to be showered by his presence.

Lao Tzu cannot speak truth, but to be with Lao Tzu you may get the right direction. His presence may prove to you that there exists something that you know nothing about, and that it is so precious that all that you know and all that you have is worth sacrificing.that what you see in the presence of the master, of a realized man, is so precious that it has to be discovered; it has to become your experience too.

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