Chapter 30: New Bottles for the Old Wine
The argument is very solid. What he is saying makes sense - but it is absolute nonsense: the arrow goes and kills the bird.
Zeno is not interested in the arrow or the bird. He says, “My argument proves that nothing moves, nothing can move; there is no movement in the world.”
These kinds of people were all over Greece. They dominated the mind; they were constantly debating. Pythagoras was not interested at all in this kind of stupid game. It sharpens your intellect, but it does not lead you to any truth, to any discovery, to any realization. And even the greatest sophists were getting into trouble, because Zeno himself - who had many arguments which go against reality, but could not be disproved - was defeated by his own student.
This was the routine: he was so confident, and he had the genius to be confident, that he used to take half the fees in the beginning, and half when the student won his first argument. This student was strange: he gave half the fee, but he told him that he would never give him the other half.
Zeno said, “How?”
He said, “I am never going to argue! I will accept defeat without arguing. I may lose everything that I have, but I am not going to give you the other half of your fee.”
Zeno waited, but the man would not even talk about the weather, because some argument may start and there may be trouble. And he was determined not to pay the fees so as to teach Zeno: “You may be a great logician, but there is a possibility of going higher than you.”
But Zeno was not going to sit silently. He put a case in the court against the student: “He has not paid me half the fee.” His idea was that if he wins the case, then he will tell the court, “Force that student to pay the fee.” If he loses the case, no harm - outside the court he will catch the student and will say, “You have won your first argument - my fee!” So whether he wins or whether he loses, he is going to get half the fee.
But he forgot that it was his own student who knew all his techniques and arguments. From the opposite side the student was thinking, “That’s good: if I win in the court, I will appeal to the court that this man should not bother me outside the court, because that will be a contempt of court. And if I lose the case, then there is no problem. Outside I will catch hold of Zeno and say, “Master, I have lost my first argument - you cannot get the fee.”
The whole genius of Greece was involved in that, in that atmosphere. Pythagoras is very unique. He got out of Greece - it was not the right place. People were simply arguing and arguing, but nobody was concerned in evolving consciousness. He was coming to India. On the way he remained a few years in the library of Alexandria, where he picked up knowledge about the lost continent of Atlantis.