Chapter 36: To Each His Own Song
Socrates has nothing to teach. He simply cleans you and leaves you to yourself, to grow according to your own potential. He does not give you even any guideline, because nobody knows what is hidden in your seed, what kind of flower is going to blossom in you. All guidelines are dangerous - they may distract you from becoming yourself.
This was his crime, and he was dragged to the court. The crime was: “You are spoiling the youth of Athens.” Certainly, in the minds of the mob, he was spoiling them. The mob wanted the people just to follow the well-trodden path of their forefathers. And Socrates was teaching them to be themselves and to find out the path on their own, with no scripture, no holy book, no God, no guide. Socrates was taking all these things away from you, unburdening you, making you a tabula rasa; nothing is written on you, and you are free now to be whatsoever your nature intends to be. He leaves your future open.
Naturally, the masses were against him. Their youth were being destroyed; they were being taken away from the religion, the philosophy, the ideology which had been followed for centuries. “They should carry it, it is their inheritance” - and Socrates was insisting that you are a totally new being, with no inheritance.
Yes, a great potentiality is within you - and it does not come from the past. It is present in you, and it is going to blossom, and only then will you know what you were supposed to be. Before it blossoms there is no way to know it.
This was the crime: corrupting the youth. Socrates was punished with the death penalty - and by punishing Socrates, the West committed suicide. It was not the death of Socrates, it was the death of the most important insight into human beings. The West moved farther and farther away from man’s inner being; it became more and more head-oriented.
And because Socrates was punished by death, Plato changed the strategy. He wrote down everything that Socrates had said - and humanity will remain always grateful to Plato - but he changed the whole methodology. He was not so great a man as his master. He opened another school he called “The Academy,” where he was teaching the old ways, the traditional ways, the conventional ways, and people were happy. Nobody was against Plato. Aristotle was Plato’s disciple - he went still farther away.
The death of Socrates created a stoppage to the inner growth of man in the West. Aristotle is the father of Western logic, philosophy, analysis. He has been respected for two thousand years. Socrates is also given respect, but nobody makes any effort to revive his school.
The meaning of therapy is certainly of great importance, but it is only significant in its Greek origins if you go to Socrates. But the therapy that is prevalent in the world today has nothing to do with Socrates. You will not find even the name of Socrates mentioned in any book on psychology, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, psychiatry. All these have evolved since Sigmund Freud.