Chapter 9: Get in Tune with the Essence
This Japanese professor thought that if life was first born in water, then swimming should be intrinsic; it has not to be learned. To prove his point he started working with small babies, and he has been immensely successful. Six-month-old babies can swim. And now he is trying with three-month-old babies - and they are swimming. And his expectation is that one day he will be able to show to the world that the just-born baby can be put in a tub of water and he will be swimming.
Swimming is not an art which has to be learned, it is something that we already know. But how many people know swimming? - Not very many people. Although it is something intrinsic we have the capacity to ignore it, to forget it.
The English word sin is very beautiful. I love it because its original meaning is forgetfulness. It has nothing to do with the crimes we call sin. It is concerned with only one crime, and that is forgetfulness. We have forgotten ourselves; the remedy is remembrance.
Plato’s allegory rightly depicts the situation which we are in. But Plato never went further than that. Plato himself was never a meditator; the allegory remained a philosophical idea.
If he had interpreted this allegory and had given it a turn towards meditation, the whole Western mind would have been different. This allegory would have changed the whole Western mind and the history that followed Plato - because Plato is the founder of the whole Western mind.
Socrates never wrote anything; he was Plato’s master. Whatever we have about Socrates is from Plato’s notes of him talking with others - the famous Socratic dialogues. As a student he was just taking notes on them. Those notes have survived. In those notes is this allegory.
It is difficult to know for what purpose Socrates was using the allegory, but it is certain that Plato misused it - he was not a man who was in search of truth, he was a man who wanted to think about truth. But to search for truth is one thing and to think about truth is totally different: thinking keeps you within the cave. It is only non-thinking that can take you out of the cave.
So be silent, be still, whenever you can find the time. Allow silence to settle in you like a lake, so silent that there is not even a ripple - no thought in your mind - and suddenly you are out of it. And only then will you understand that the allegory is not for philosophical purposes; it is for authentic search, it is for realization.
Plato never gave that interpretation. So the whole Western mind followed Plato - he was a genius - and philosophy remained only a thinking about truth.
What can you think about truth? Either you know it or you don’t know it. Sometimes even geniuses can do such stupid things that it looks unbelievable. How can you think about truth? - It is almost like a blind man thinking about light. What can he think about light? - he does not even know darkness.