Chapter 4: Danger: Truth at Work
So he said, “I don’t see any problem to be bothered about. Either I die, then there is no question, or I will be there, more experienced, wiser. And I can trust myself. If I could pass through life, I will pass through death too. But I cannot say anything before I have experienced it. And I cannot promise you either, that when I have experienced it I will be able to come back and tell you, because up to now nobody has come back. Perhaps there is no way to come back. Perhaps the very bridge falls as you pass, all communication becomes impossible - but nothing can be said about it.”
He would not say anything definitely, and that was the problem that he was creating in people’s minds. He was creating anxiety. That was one of the points raised against his being in Athens: “He should be expelled or sentenced to death, because this man has been creating anxiety and anguish in people’s minds. People who were perfectly happy doing their work, comfortably. This man meets them, and once he has met them, they are never at ease again.”
And this was a routine thing for Socrates: just to go around the town, to catch hold of anybody and ask him any question. Even if the other person wanted to escape, Socrates wouldn’t allow it: “You have to answer!” And then, once you had answered a question, he would hammer your answer from every possible angle and soon you were left without any answer. Then he would tell you, “You can come to my school” - he had a school - “if you want to learn, because your answer was absolutely bogus. Some idiot has sold that answer to you and cheated you. You have been living a lie.”
Yes, lies can be comfortable; can be very convenient. Truth, in the beginning, is very inconvenient, is very uncomfortable, but in the end it is the ultimate blessing.
We can summarize: a lie is always sweet in the beginning, bitter in the end; the truth is bitter in the beginning, sweet in the end. But you need patience for the end. If you are impatient, then you are going to buy some lie.
The common masses have no mind of their own. For centuries they have been conditioned, hypnotized, brainwashed continuously. So when a man like me says something, it needs guts in the first place even to hear it. Then it needs tremendous courage to absorb it, because it is bitter, it goes against all your conditioning.
So only a very few people who are really seekers of truth will be ready to go through all this turmoil. Everything will go upside down: their God, their heaven, their hell, their Devil, their messiahs, their prophets.
A thick wall exists between you and truth. And all these people are standing between you and the truth. You will have to tell them, “Get lost! Go to Oregon!” That is my translation for “Go to hell,” because that has become too old. We should continue to make proverbs fresh.
A Christian will have to put Christ aside; it is very difficult. It was difficult for Jews to put Moses aside when Jesus was telling them something far truer. It was difficult to put Moses aside, now the same problem arises for the Christian: it is difficult for him to put Jesus aside. And Jesus’ claim is far more than Moses ever claimed. Moses never claimed that he was the only begotten son of God.