Phaedo: Socrates, the Master of Linguistic Transmutation

Language is magic. But like so much else on the planet, including ourselves, we have lost touch with that fact. For not only is language magic, it is divine magic, and it is that which enables us to be the masters of our own world. The Platonic dialogue, and the Phaedo in particular, is designed to teach you about the magic of language, which is completely accessible to every single human on the planet. But we are not just talking about letters and words. Letters and words, are the means, but they are not the essence of the magic. Letters and words can actually be detached from the magic, just like bodies can be detached from the soul when they die. Even though we need them to express divine magic on this plane, they are only instruments or encapsulations. The actual magic behind the words is light energy. It is in fact divine energy. Words are extremely powerful when the energy behind them is present. They are not powerful when it is not. That is why some people are effective writers, and some are not effective. It has to do with how they harness the energy behind the words, whether they are conscious of this or not. Those who are conscious of it can become incredibly powerful.  This is one of the secrets in mystical teachings throughout the ages. Nikola Tesla remarked that “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” In the case of words, it is no different. It is no mistake that the name, Phaedo, means “bright, and shining”, and that the god Socrates mentions in the dialogue is Apollo, the god of light and the sun.

Ancient Greek, the language Plato used to write his dialogues, was never a spoken language. It was a so-called ‘literary’ language.  What did that mean? Did that mean that it was a secret code for intellectuals? Not quite. It was no more secret code that Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sanskrit, both of which used language to express the divine on earth. In that sense, language is used to manifest the divine on earth. That is why, in John 1:1 it says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”. The word in this case is the logos, the very same word that Plato uses to express speech that goes beyond ordinary chit-chat type of speech.

The logos is the energy behind the words and the letters. Words and letters cannot create anything. The logos creates everything. You can, if you harness that kind of energy, literally create your world. Hard to believe, isn’t it. Well, it isn’t when you consider that you have already done it, are doing it, and will continue to do so in the future. The question is not can you do it, but can you stop and get a hold of those wild horses before they continue to run you into the ground? Can you be the driver here of the logos, or are you going to continue being the one who is unconsciously driven to believe that your world isn’t something you have created?

In my translation of Plato’s Phaedo, which will be available at the end of the year, I am attempting to help English readers comprehend the magic in Plato’s language, which is designed to help you access your own.  Words in Ancient Greek are like trees, with roots, branches, and leaves of various colors, depending on the season, the author, the work. The beauty of Ancient Greek is that it preserves these trees as they are. For example, in English the word ‘truth’ seems pretty straightforward. How would you define it? Something that is real? Something that is honest? Something that does not deceive?  In Greek, there is no such word for truth. The word in Greek is alethēia, which means unforgetting, or remembering. The root of the truth is –lēth– which means forgetfulness, as in the River of Lēthē, the River of Forgetfulness. The truth about truth is that it is always something we remember. It is not something that we get from outside of ourselves at all.  It is not even a ‘thing’, but is a process of uncovering what is within ourselves. That is it. The English word allows us to place ‘truth’ on anything we want and so we can conceptually remove ourselves from the process of truth and remove ourselves from the responsibility of unveiling that truth. The Greek does not. The word is quite specific. You don’t seek truth. You don’t uncover the truth. You just remember. If you do not do this, you remain in the same state, which is false, pseudē, from where we get our English prefix, pseudo-. This is why Socrates talks about the non-philosopher as being one who lives a lie. The same is also said of the one who does not practice yoga. For the one who lives in lies is the one who lives in ignorance and ego:

Ignorance is taking the non-eternal for the eternal, the impure for the pure, evil for good and non-self as self.

Egoism is the identification of the power that knows with the instruments of knowing.

Patanjali, Yoga Sutras 2.5-6

The instruments of knowing are the mind and its judgments. Both are not of the soul, but are instead instruments of the ego. In other words, it is not an instrument of our true divine nature. Plato’s language as logos is an instrument of the divine. But he goes one step further than the logos. The logos is the divine energy of speech as it comes out of our mouth, but the dia-logos or the dialogue is what allows for the transmutation of energy from one frequency to another. In Socrates case, he always transmutes from a lower to a higher frequency. In fact, you can actually read the Platonic dialogue at different levels of frequencies. This is no easy task, and it is bit like dialing into different radio frequencies. You can get very confused very quickly if you do not do this with consciousness, because if you jump around to much without control, the stations start to sound as if they are on top of another, mixing one frequency with another in a very unharmonic way. And most of us don’t need a Platonic dialogue to get confused like that. We get confused all the time! For example, if we say “all is one”, it makes no sense on lower frequencies. But if we say it on higher frequencies, it has substance. This is why political speech rings false most of the time. It confuses the frequencies and pulls them down lower. You can tell they are lying because the energy behind the words is too low. They end up sounding distorted.

Now when you read a dialogue, there are passages that are more geared towards the high frequencies and they are very difficult to understand if you are dialed in at a lower one. Or if you are dialed in too high, you will have difficulty hearing the lower notes. But if you try to jump back in forth, forget it, you will get very confused. It is not that you can’t do both, like a symphony orchestra, but you just have to get the rhythm and timing correct. And that, as Plato says, requires some musical education. The true reason why musical education was important to Plato and why Socrates constantly refers to music in the dialogues is that Plato saw that if we do not each learn how to play our own proper “instrument” as directed by the divine, the we will not be able to find peace and beauty in the symphony that is our world.

But back to dialogue. So “dialogue” in Plato doesn’t mean just “conversations”.  It means transformation so that conversations are possible. And you are not the only one who is asked to take this roller-coaster ride up and down the frequency scale of language. The characters are there to help you along, as they too are mystified when they begin with one opinion and end up having a new opinion they couldn’t even have imagined before. Its like they started with a violin and ended up with a tuba, or as if they started as a tenor and ended up soprano. Some start with the music of fear, and end with courage. Some begin with arrogance and finish with humility. Most of the time, they relinquish their original opinion that they started out with, because Socrates – unbeknownst to them – turned up the frequency dial to a part more suitable to them! And they are happier for it, because when we cling to our false opinions they generally become great and painful burdens, not only to ourselves, but to others. Our opinions, the ones that are not able to withstand the test of the divine symphony of the dialogue, are the ones that get put aside, especially the ones that don’t play well in the symphony of the whole.

So it is the case that whoever speaks with Socrates ends up finding that Socrates has been able to turn his logos (opinion) to the opposite polarity or to a completely different frequency of consciousness. If you, as the reader of a dialogue, follow along with your own opinions (logoi), you will find that what you once thought was true beyond a doubt, is subject to more doubt than you thought.  Socrates is a master of alchemy, and at the highest levels. He uses something that goes way beyond natural language in order to transmute the most difficult personalities into pussycats. He is able to transform the darkness into light, the pain into pleasure, the chaotic into the calm. The truth about the divine logos is that is not something that can actually be written in a linear way. At the end of the dialogue, all the speeches are getting along, and nearly sound together like a symphony of sound, a frequency of friends, despite their differences. I suppose you could say that Socrates, in addition to being a great alchemist of light energy, was also a great conductor of music. After all, that is what he says, in the Phaedo, the god told him to do:

…The dreams went something like this. Many times, the dream would occur throughout my life, appearing in different ways and in different aspects , but saying the same exact thing, “Socrates”, it said “make music and make it your work.” And during all that time, the very thing I had been doing is what I assumed it was encouraging and commanding me to do, just as those who encourage and cheer on runners in a race. And so, I assumed that what I was doing was that which it commanded, namely, to make music, and philosophy is the greatest type of music, which is what I was doing.

Phaedo, Translation by Anastasia Harris, 60e

So how does he do this? Well, In the Phaedo, Plato has Socrates talking about music and magic and spells. He does this throughout the dialogue, serving as clues to those who start to become aware of the nature of Socrates’ powers. As Tesla says, all things are energy and all logos is energy. There is in fact a language that is behind all languages, modern or ancient, an this is language is of a higher vibration than anything we can ever physically write down. Some people call this “light language”, and it is still something I have been exploring during my deeper meditations. Light language is something that is not conceivable by the mind. It is experienced through the soul. Most creatives do not realize that they are receiving light language, but that is exactly what they are doing, when they receive “information” that is neither concept, word or anything in the conceivable universe. In fact, the experience they have is “I don’t know where it comes from” or “it came from a god”. You can say it came from the Quantum field, or light language, or source, or whatever you want to call it in our earthly tongues, it still remains to be the same thing: logos at its deepest levels is energy. The dialogue of Plato is at its deepest levels the manipulation and transmutation of that energy. And finally, Plato’s intent at the deepest levels is to show us how to find the power of that magic within ourselves, for he saw personal responsibility, personal knowledge, and inner strength and truth to be the only way out of all unhappiness, all suffering, and all evil in the world.

Truly, Echecrates, so many times I have marveled at Socrates but never as great as I had at that time.  Now to already have what he was going to say was nothing out of the ordinary, but I most of all marveled first how he pleasantly and with calmness and with respect, received the argument of these young men, and then how keenly he sensed what we were suffering due to their speeches, and then how well he healed us and as those who have run away in fear and have felt defeated, he called us back into courage, and encouraged us to walk with him and to as a group look at the speech.

Phaedo, 88d, Translation by Anastasia Harris

Phaedo: On Suffering

I will tell you, he said. Because those who love to learn know that philosophy , upon taking hold of their soul- their soul, which has hitherto been completely bound up all around by and stuck to the physical body, and so forced, as if it were in a prison, to perceive the beings, not by itself through itself, but through that prison in which it is spun round with every kind of ignorance; that philosophy, upon recognizing the terrible nature of that prison as being caused by desire – inasmuch as he who is imprisoned is ever an accomplice in his own imprisonment – the very things I have been just now saying – that those who love to learn know that philosophy, by gently taking hold of their soul, attempts to coax and persuade them to set their soul free, showing them that perception through the eyes is rife with deception, and of deception is also the perception through the ears and the other senses, and so it persuades the soul to begin to withdraw from the senses, except to the extent that it is necessary to use them, and instead to recover the soul back to itself and call it to retrieve its pieces back together, and to trust in nothing other than herself by herself, so that she might be able to intellect by herself through herself each of the beings as they are according to themselves: and that should it perceive something outside of itself in things outside of itself through means outside of it, it should regard that something as untrue, and that it is what is perceived through the senses and seen, while which is true is invisible and is that which she herself sees through intellect. And the soul of one who is truly a philosopher, in believing that one must do nothing to avoid this process of freedom, keeps away as much as she can from pleasures and desires and pains and fears, reckoning that, whenever someone experiences extreme pleasure or fear or pain or desire, they have not suffered as a great an evil as some have been wont to believe, like getting sick or wasting away due to desire, but that the greatest and extreme of all evils, is that they are not able to understand what they are suffering.

Phaedo, 82e -Translation by Anastasia Harris

Phaedo: Consciousness of the Soul, Consciousness of Now, Consciousness of You

Were you yourself, Phaedo, present with Socrates on the day where he drank the potion in the prison, or did you hear about it from another?

αὐτός, ὦ Φαίδων, παρεγένου Σωκράτει ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ᾗ τὸ φάρμακον ἔπιεν ἐν τῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ, ἢ ἄλλου του ἤκουσας;

Phaedo, 57a

Introduction

The Phaedo is a conversation about the soul. But not only that. It is also a conversation about the nature of the body. In Ancient Greek, soul (psyche) means spirit and life force, but it also means breath. In that sense it is both the physical and spiritual animator of the body. For Plato, the soul is the self, the true nature of the human being. The soul is also infinite. It is not defined by its physical connections or appearances. That is to say, it is not defined or limited by the body. Yes, your soul, yes YOU, is everywhere at all times. The essence of all mystery schools is this teaching, that we are all capable of experiencing eternity through our soul in this life and the life to come. The source of all mystery schools, both ancient and modern, is written in the peculiar Emerald Tablets of Thoth:

Yea, to the highest worlds may ye pass.
See your own possible heights of unfoldment,
know all earthly futures of Soul.

Bound are ye in your body,
but by the power ye may be free.
This is the Secret whereby bondage
shall be replaced by freedom for thee.

Emerald Tablets of Thoth, XV, Secret of Secrets



So let’s start seeking out this “Secret” by taking a look at the Phaedo.

My late professor at Boston University, Dr. Motzkin, always used to say that if you can deeply comprehend the first introductory part of any Platonic dialogue, you will comprehend the whole. That is the way the dialogue works. I will constantly remind the reader that Plato follows the Seven Hermetic Principles both in terms of the content of the dialogue and the dialogue itself. The principle I am reminded of here is the Principle of Correspondence, which states that all beings contain the entire universe, and that the entire universe contains all beings. Each part of the dialogue contains the essence of the whole.  If you deeply understand a part of nature, you will easily grasp the whole.  Why is this? Because the nature of the soul is the nature of the universe. It is not formed or limited by physical appearances. That is the illusion that all students must learn to overcome.

“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”

Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a)

And Rumi,

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.

Rumi

Ego (Body)

Now, in Phaedo, the self or the soul shows up in different ways, and that is because our relationship to self, in this life, is mostly illusion.  We think that the soul is in a place, in a body, with a name, and in a certain time or not in a certain time. The soul is in a jail or the soul drank something on a certain day and died. Don’t you believe that that is what you are right now as you read this article? The reason for this is simple. When the soul incarnates inside a body it is surrounded by its influences and preoccupations, rather than its own. It looks outside of itself for confirmation. And low and behold, other souls are looking outside for confirmation as well. That is what is called collective appearances, which are always at face value. However, for Plato, the soul is by nature autonomous. It doesn’t need outside confirmation. It resists the illusion.

Yet when the soul becomes absorbed in the preoccupations of the body, it loses that autonomy.

Isn’t this what we were saying before, that the soul, whenever it makes use of the body to contemplate something either through vision or through hearing or through any other sense – for this is the way of the body, to contemplate a thing through sense perception – at that very moment the soul is dragged by the body into those things that are never the same, and so the soul herself wanders and is agitated, and becomes dizzy as if drunk in as much as she is overcome by these things?

Phaedo, Translation by Anastasia Harris

You can say that when someone does this, they are giving away their power. This is why many people seek out a shaman to “retrieve their souls”. Their soul becomes fragmented and lost as they give their power away piecemeal to illusions.  The ego does this gladly because it feels like it is actually gaining and seeking power by becoming absorbed in more things, people, circumstances. The Greek word for ego in Plato is simply “body”. The ego’s or body’s primary and only intention is to survive, to win, to gain the advantage, to get more, feel more. Why? It knows it will die and wants to avoid it. It is no wonder that the Greek word for body is sōmata, which is near cognate to the word sōs, meaning safe. The ego wants to protect itself. It is always in defensive or offensive mode. Meanwhile, soul is always just being. It doesn’t need to save itself, because, again, it is deathless and limitless. This is why Jesus says in John 8:23 that “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.”

I want to make it clear that Plato’s notion of “body” qua ego does not intend to lead us to the conclusion that we should not take care of it. The physical body, in the way Plato views it, is that it is like a wild horse that must be tamed. The soul, through its powers of consciousness with mind, is the only one fit to do this. If the soul is left undeveloped, it will be consumed by the body in away that leads to bad health, obsessive compulsiveness, anxiety, depression, and various others diseases and ailments.


Self: First Word of the Dialogue

It is no wonder that a dialogue about the soul begins with the Greek word autós. Autós, is from where derive our English “autonomous”, “automatic”, “automobile”. All of those words suggest independence, without outside force or influence. An autonomous country is one that runs under its own laws without outside control.   An automatic response is something you don’t have to think about. It just happens by itself with or without your consent. The last and most interesting one is automobile. An automobile doesn’t drive itself, does it?  Well, it does if you consider that previous to the automobile, you needed horses in order to move your carriage!  The automobile gives both the horses and us freedom.

Now autós in Ancient Greek is generally emphatic. Greek verbs contain the subject of the verb. For example, ἤκουσας, means “you heard”.  You don’t need a separate word for “you”. However, if that pronoun is present, it is only there for emphasis. In English we would use italics to express this.  ‘He is the singer’ vs. ‘He is the singer’. It is a difference of tone. autós can also mean same, when paired syntactically with a specific noun. It also can mean “itself”, like the dog itself or the table itself.  The emphatic nature of autós however does not overwrite the fact that autós means self-same. It represents a being that has an independent form. In Plato, it is the soul and the self as it is without the body or as master of the body. The implication is that the soul is infinite and self-same. It is not divisible and it is not limited by the limitations of the body.

A Quest/Question: First Sentence of the Dialogue

While the first word of the dialogue is autós, the first sentence of the dialogue is a question. This is also no surprise as questioning and answering are the primary motions of the Socratic dialogue. Contrast the questioning/answering nature of the dialogue, the constant back and forth and movement, to lecturing or declaring. Dialogic conversations are transformative. If you make a statement in your head about something, you question it, or remain open about its possible falsity. Eventually, as you find more information, that statement will transform into something else. Declarations or argumentation is the opposite. It is either one person making a statement about something and other people arguing. Argumentation is a like ping pong match that lasts for infinity. When we do this in our bodies, we create strife and lack of resolution, we store it in our bodies and our children’s bodies. This is called Epigenetics Inheritance. In dialogue, the winner is chosen after healthy interchange, and both go out for drinks after. They will even come back for a second round, to see if they can improve. They don’t hold on to things. The “battle” between them is dissolved. This is called detachment. However, when you are in a state of argumentation, you are not engaging the true nature of your soul. You are attached to your opinions like a miser attached to his gold. What you are doing is simply entertaining the ego or as Plato would say, the body. And remember, the ego is always the false soul. It is an impostor, as it is always making us think that we “are it”, instead of the soul.  It is always making you think that you are your body, its wants, needs, etc.

And most of what you talk about to yourself comes from ego. Ask yourself if your self-talk, the talk that generally goes on in your head about yourself, others, and the world at large, is in the form of questions or declarations and judgments? Do you question yourself when you make statements about something or someone? Or do you assume that what you are saying is true? Most of what goes on in our head is not dialogue, but something else. And it is that something else that causes us to become even more distant from our soul. For Plato, the essence of the soul is dialogic. The soul works with the logos in a way so that it can learn and grow. It will look at statements and assumptions and questions them until it can find the truth. And even then, it will continue to question, until it reaches that truth it is seeking. The soul by itself is not attached to the results. It only cares about truth. That is the nature of yoga. That is the nature of Platonic philosophy.

So that is the reason why Plato starts this dialogue with a question that starts with autós.

The War with Others

Now it is time to have a quick look at allos, other. The idea of the allos/autós polarity shows up all over this dialogue. I am not writing this commentary in order to cover every place it occurs. That would take years. I will however write a different piece on its polarity. So I am just going to stick with how it shows up in this first question of the Phaedo. Here is the question again for reference:

Were you yourself, Phaedo, present with Socrates on the day where he drank the potion in the prison, or did you hear about it from another?

Did you hear it from someone else (allos), or were you present there yourself (autós)? allos is essentially the opposite of autós. It means “other”. Pretty straightforward. Whatever is considered to be outside of the self is put into the camp of “other”. It implies that there is something outside the self at all, as if it were not an illusion. I will get back to this point in a minute. First, let’s just look at the question being asked.

It would seem that it is very easy for Phaedo to answer this question. He replies “autós”. Don’t you answer things in this way? If you were listening to a speech given by a politician, and at a later date someone asked you if you were present or if you heard about from someone else, wouldn’t you reply “autos”? Okay, you don’t speak Greek. So, you would probably “Yes, I was present myself”.  Obvious isn’t it? But is it so obvious what “being present” means?

Now, in the dialogue, we don’t know what Execrates would have said, had Phaedo replied that he heard about Socrates’ death from someone else. Would he have turned around and walked away, taking his friends with him? One thing we do know is that Execrates is content with himself hearing from someone else (allos). After all, what choice would he have? The death of Socrates occurred in a time that has already passed and Phaedo was actually present at the time of his death. But alas, the soul can be present to the past, because it can be present everywhere, and you have intuitive awareness that it can. That is the real reason why you trust the account of a person who was present at a past event versus a person who was not. They were present in the “now”. The only thing we get wrong, is that we assume that the person with the body was paying attention and was consciously present in his soul, rather than his body. The reason? The body only perceives through senses. The soul perceives in another way all together and most of us, except some very advanced yogis and psychics, are able to travel beyond the confines of time and space in a conscious way. The rest of us do it, but we are generally not aware of it. The practice of philosophy and yoga both aim to achieve this kind of consciousness, because it is simply pure soul consciousness, the ultimate truth of who you are.

We are, as long as we are in our body, limited in our experiences, not only in time and place and our understanding of time and space, but also in the scope and clarity of our consciousness. When it comes to the five senses, we can only perceive the things that are in proximity to our self (autós) as ego. And they are always experienced as being “outside” self. We think that world is outside of us, that people are outside, that everything we see, hear,feel, and touch is outside. Doesn’t matter if it is “mine” or not “mine. It is all there outside of me. And that is where all our suffering truly comes from.

Furthermore, our perceptions are very very limited and restricted to what is in front of us or immediately around us. And even then, we (autós), are not able to perceive everything around us. Do you perceive everyone’s fingernails? Can you hear their hearts beat? Can you see everyone’s eye color? In essence, whatever is outside the self (autós) is perceived as other (allos) and it is never a complete picture. It gets even more confusing when you start to remember that each other (allos) is also a self (autós), just like you. But we often avoid that kind of confusion by convincing ourselves that others are just others and don’t relate to our self at all, or only do so by accident or coincidence or by attribute (likes, dislikes, other similarities). How do we convince ourselves that they are separate from our self? They are not always with us and most of them eventually leave our side. Their bodies are separate from ours. Physical perception completely informs us. Later in the dialogue Socrates points out that all wars are caused by the body (ego) but because through the body we perceive ourselves as completely separate and so different from the “others”. “Others”, in fact, only appear so because of the body. The physical senses create “others”. The implication is that if we did not possess a body, we would see ourselves through the perception of the soul, which he calls phronesis or consciousness, as a single self, a single soul.

For what causes wars and factions and fights is nothing other than the body and its desires. It is due to the possession of things that all wars come into being, and we are forced to possess things due to the body, being slaves to its service.

Phaedo, 66c, translation by Anastasia Harris

And this bring us to another interesting point. Phaedo and Execrates are actually supposed to be enemies. Phaedo is an Athenian. Execrates is of a small polis that allied itself with Sparta against Athens in the Peloponnesian War. To make matters worse, it is due to this devastating loss by the hands of Sparta, that the Athenian dream of democracy fell into a corrupt and bloody tyranny. That tyranny, the Tyranny of the Twelve, is what brought Socrates the verdict of death by poison.  So here we have Execrates asking to hear the story of Socrates from an “other”, a “foreigner”, not because Socrates was Spartan or because Socrates was Athenian, but simply because Socrates was himself (autós).  Philosophy, the interest in reaching awareness of self is universal. It is through the soul that we find our humanity and our connection, not with others, but with others as soul. It is through dialogue, not judgement that we find peace.

After Phaedo agrees to tell Execrates what happened at Socrates’ death, he first gives Execrates a short summary of his emotional impressions. Phaedo remarks the following:

Truly I experienced thaumasia (wonder) while I was there. For although I was present for the death of a man dear to me, pity never occurred to me: the man appeared quite happy to me, Execrates, both in his manner and his words; and he came to his end so fearlessly and nobly, that he seemed to me to be going to Hades by divine fate, and when he would get there, he would do quite well if indeed anyone ever could. Because of this, in no way did pity sweep over me, as is usually the case in an experience like this, but neither did I take any of the usual pleasure in philosophy- for the speeches were of a philosophical nature –but instead there was an uncanny affliction that came over me, a strange mixture that contained equal portion of pain and pleasure, knowing full well in my heart that he was destined to end his life (teleusis). And so, all of us present were also constituted in the same way, at one time laughing, and another time crying, each one of us and most especially Apollodorus, for you know the man and his ways.

Phaedo, 58e, Translation by Anastasia Harris

Phaedo describes his emotional state and impressions during that day. The marvel and wonder that he felt was the state of bliss Socrates displayed, despite everyone else being on a see-saw of both despair and joy. It is very important to remember Socrates state of consciousness, for it is the state that all practitioners of the mysteries schools wish to achieve: not just fearlessness before death, but the absolute awareness that the end of the body is not the end of the soul at all. Socrates repeats this often in the beginning of the dialogue to explain why he is not upset about the verdict of his death. However, none of those present are quite convinced in the eternity of the soul. They do not yet have that kind of level of consciousness.

Now Execrates doesn’t really appear to be interested in Phaedo’s physical impressions. Execrates specifically asks for the logoi. “What were the logoi?, he asks. What he wishes to hear are the logoi that weave together into the dialogue, the dialogue that is the natural conversation of the soul, where all wars, all “others” dissolve into one beautiful and most just conversation, a conversation and a gathering where we experience ourselves, each other, as one. In this case, the conversations are a conversation about the nature of the soul as eternal and everlasting, a place that we would all like to be aware of, for in that state of eternity there are no fears and no desires, only bliss, only peace. And that is why the last line of the dialogue complements the first word of the dialogue. Socrates is the manifestation of the purified soul on earth, in the form of the philosopher, around whom all souls gathered to dialogue in order to seek within themselves truth, justice (balance), and, above all Being herself.

We all “relate” to Socrates in our soul. Because we are THAT. सो ऽहम्  ( “I am That”)

The final line of the dialogue refers to his “end” as teleutē. That word doesn’t mean death as much as initiation (as into the mysteries), as much as reaching perfection, as much as reaching the highest state of consciousness (nirvana). Unfortunately, there is no word in English that captures the idea of initiation/end/perfection/death all in one.



ἥδε ἡ τελευτή, ὦ Ἐχέκρατες, τοῦ ἑταίρου ἡμῖν ἐγένετο, ἀνδρός, ὡς ἡμεῖς φαῖμεν ἄν, τῶν τότε ὧν ἐπειράθημεν ἀρίστου καὶ ἄλλως φρονιμωτάτου καὶ δικαιοτάτου.

So here the end has come, Execrates, of a friend, of a man, whom we would say, of all those we had made proof of at the time, to be the most noble, and beyond all others, the most conscious and the most balanced.

Phaedo, 118a.

And so between the first question to the last answer of the dialogue, we have a journey that takes us from question to answer. The question is always: are you listening for yourself or through others? Are their others at all? Are you present in body or present in soul? Are you present to both? The answer will not come until the final perfection of higher consciousness on earth, until you reach that state of perfection where all dissolves in the one and one dissolves into all, beyond body, beyond what mind can comprehend, namely, what you truly are, always were and always will be. Perfection is now in the now, for eternity. Our only job is to become conscious of it – now.

Phaedo: The Swans of Death

It would be impossible to persuade other human beings that my present death sentence is a form of luck if I cannot persuade you two, Simmias and Cebes…yet I am not inferior to the swans in relation to prophecy when they sense that is time for them to die and upon that last hour before their death, they sing most beautifully and with great abundance, rejoicing that they are soon to arrive in the realm of the divine where they may be of service to the divine. Human beings, however, due to their fear of death, lie about the swans, and say that they are singing dirges in pain due to their death; but they do not understand that no bird sings when it is hungry or cold or experiences any kind of pain, not the nightingale; not the swallow; not the hoopoe, the birds they say who sing lamentations for their death. But these do not seem to me to sing lamentations, and neither do the swans, for I believe they are of Apollo, and are prophets and soothsayers who sing of the good things in the realm we cannot see, and they delight in that day of arrival there far more than in their previous time in life. I myself believe that I am a fellow servant with the swans and a priest of the god himself, and that I am not an inferior prophet of our master, nor more melancholy than the swans are when they leave their bodies.

Phaedo, 84e. Translation by Anastasia Harris.

The Fate of the Impure Soul

No one would believe the things that she sees at night. For while others struggle to sleep with restless dreams and worries, she sees the spirits who wander about, generating fear and worry in those who would be better off being free to sleep, to heal and dream of the beautiful day that awaits them. But instead, they only feel depletion and rely on coffee or tea to get them by. Some seek out doctors and medications, herbs and various other salves, in hopes to find a better way to find rest. While she is the one who knows, that no drug will free them from the spirits that haunt and feed of whatever light they have left to provide. In order to solve their sleep problem, they would have to arise in the midst of their own darkness, where what haunts them lurks, playing tricks on them in dreams and visions. Souls who have died that refuse to leave the body and so feed off the ones who are still living. For when we sleep, the souls of the dead cling, still wanting to feel, to be, to exist. We do not see them, because we have become blind. We have forgotten the way and path to the underworld, for we have rejected our true purpose as custodians of the lands, the earth and heaven that we have inherited. We have rejected our duty to continue to keep our earth pure, our heart and soul clean, and our intentions in the divine.

One must consider this to be a very weighty and serious matter, this material consciousness of the visible realm: The soul that is attached to its physical manifestation is very weighed down and is dragged back into the visible realm due to fear of the invisible and Hades, as it is said, and being tossed about from tombstone to tombstone and grave to grave, around which are always seen the dark shadows and phantoms of souls, the kind of phantoms that these same attached souls themselves project, the souls that have not cleanly freed themselves the body, but still hold onto the visible realm, through which they still can be seen.

Plato, Phaedo, 81d

ἐμβριθὲς δέ γε, ὦ φίλε, τοῦτο οἴεσθαι χρὴ εἶναι καὶ βαρὺ καὶ γεῶδες καὶ ὁρατόν: ὃ δὴ καὶ ἔχουσα ἡ τοιαύτη ψυχὴ βαρύνεταί τε καὶ ἕλκεται πάλιν εἰς τὸν ὁρατὸν τόπον φόβῳ τοῦ ἀιδοῦς τε καὶ Ἅιδου, ὥσπερ λέγεται, περὶ τὰ [81δ] μνήματά τε καὶ τοὺς τάφους κυλινδουμένη, περὶ ἃ δὴ καὶ ὤφθη ἄττα ψυχῶν σκιοειδῆ φαντάσματα, οἷα παρέχονται αἱ τοιαῦται ψυχαὶ εἴδωλα, αἱ μὴ καθαρῶς ἀπολυθεῖσαι ἀλλὰ τοῦ ὁρατοῦ μετέχουσαι, διὸ καὶ ὁρῶνται.

Plato, Phaedo, 81δ