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: 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.

Ego, Dharma, Healing


Nothing is higher than dharma. The weak overcomes the stronger by dharma, as over a king. Truly that dharma is the Truth (Satya); Therefore, when a man speaks the Truth, they say, “He speaks the Dharma”; and if he speaks Dharma, they say, “He speaks the Truth!” For both are one.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.4.xiv

Agreement. Our dependency on other people is not due to our own weakness, but is due to the superficial preoccupations of our mind. When not at “work”, our mind spends most of its time with trivialities, falsities, and circular repetitious inner dialogues. The truth is that we are rarely dealing with the real world, if such a thing exists; and even if it does exist, we have very little inclination to associate with it, let alone the patience to inquire about it. Everyone else does this as well, and their agreement with us appears to constitute “reality”. We choose, for better or for worse, to engage with people who support the illusion and confusion we conjure on a regular basis. Shared delusion, mass consciousness, birds of a feather; call it what you like. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, “In individuals, madness is rare. In groups, it is the rule.”

Bondage and attachment. We are more attached to our thoughts about love than actually loving. It is a situation that is truly the “devil’s handiwork”.

Success. We generally never question what constitutes society’s idea of success. If we did, the idea would have already transformed, and so would we. And if success doesn’t fulfill us, we pretend that it does until the lie becomes so great that the only friend we have is what the Greeks called pharmaka: spells, incantations, and herbs. We recognize these as pharmaceuticals. Some are satisfied with simply “partying”.

Poison. Poison is not in the air or the sea, the earth or the fire. The poison is always in what we believe, and what we believe we must be.

Reality. People speak confidently to each other and themselves about being “realistic”. But “realism” only makes sense within the context of a hive mind and the limits it sets for itself. These limits are what divide good from bad, right from wrong, possible and impossible, all of which apply to everyone and no one in particular.

Thinking and Inner Knowing. We think that thinking leads to observation and that observation leads to truth. But this is a lie. There is no true and good observation with the mind. The mind is not an instrument for the observation of truth. The soundness of an argument does not mean it is a true argument. You can create a damn good story, but it has no bearing on its validity. A program for a computer can be logically sound and perfectly written. There is nothing “true” about it. It is a created system designed to stand by itself in a certain context. Mind as a whole is an instrument for collection, categorization, organization, structuring, story telling, argumentation, etc. The mind’s utility comes in after the observation/inspiration has already taken place. With what organ do we observe reality? Some cultures call it the “third eye” or the “heart chakra”, or the “understanding”. It is the source of all original inspiration and creativity. Plato called it “remembering”, because he saw inner knowledge as something that is already there within us latent and hidden. We are born with what we are meant to create; all we have to do is simply recollect and work on manifesting it. Yet most of us do not believe in any of this because not only have we been uneducated in the awareness of ourselves, but even when we do become aware, we decide that such an inner search takes time and solitude. And time and solitude will not make interesting YouTube videos or Facebook posts. Time and solitude will not get you quick success.

Quickly. Fine wines are not produced in a day.

From Spirit to Cog. Even though we are not aware of the full powers of our third eye, we still receive information from within and through it. The third eye is literally a portal to other worlds, and aspects or timelines of this world. However, this information is distorted and muddied by the ego-material world we live in. We immediately transmute spiritual information into childish dream analysis, ideas for action, ideas for winning. The American culture is still very pragmatic with regards to its own success. The individuals within it are simply expressions and pawns of that pragmatism. Spiritual insight is always shortly followed by “How can I sell this?”. And if we can’t sell it for the sake of wealth, fame, or image, we discard it immediately.

Heaven for Hell.
American culture’s relationship to yoga and meditation can be defined in the following way: We stretch our muscles towards the heavens so that we might relax happy inside our hell.

Group Meditation.
The only access to true reality is through our own experience of spirit. Meditation helps. Group meditation, however, is like to going to a sociologist for psychotherapy.

Disease and Profits. There is no money to be gained if people don’t need someone else to do something for them. There is always an financial incentive to keeping physical and spiritual disease alive and thriving.

Self-Doubt. Self doubt is the ego’s most clever survival strategy. Self-doubt is one of the most difficult psychological barriers to happiness and, at the same time, it is the best way to protect our current status-quo, whatever that may be. Self-doubt is most difficult, not because it is inherently complicated to remove as if it were some sophisticated alien implant, but because the strength of self-doubt is proportional to the power of the ego, which in most of us is unbounded and untamed. Self-doubt never doubts the doubter, because that would remove the entire disease and send the person into a reflective hall of mirrors. It’s just too much twisty mental yoga for most people to even look at it. No, self-doubt keeps us from being or doing or saying something outside of our normal routine. It is simply a ego-defense mechanism and it is designed to make you fail at your heart’s desire. Every. Single. Time. Self-doubt usually arises due to an overprotective parent. They would rather you stay in the house all day, than risk skinning a knee.

Imbalance always stems from an unbridled ego. Excessive muscle mass, excessive exercising, excessive partying, drinking. The power of the ego is always in inverse proportion to the power of the soul. Can’t control yourself when faced with a bag of chocolate? This is not about lack of will power; it is about the lack of relationship to your own soul. Look at it this way. Would you continually feed your dog or your child a bag of chocolate in every day? Not unless you want to kill the former, and cause serious health problems in the later. Why would you do it to yourself? It is not because you lack will power. It is because you are not connecting to love and care towards yourself.

Love is Health. With love, intelligence, care, grace, and kindness comes naturally. How do you access love? You begin by being true to yourself, to your powers, to your inner knowing. Spend time alone. Let everything else that falls away from that, fall away. You don’t need it.

Google as Oracle. We moderns believe that we know more of reality than the ancients. It is true that we may know more about the natural phenomena as presented through the five senses. We have spent a lot of time with data and pattern observation in observable phenomena. We worship our material world in a way that the Egyptians would find shocking. We even have computers that we love more than life itself, to do our heavy mathematical calculations, logical sentences, and Google oracle searches. But this deep faith in physical scientific data has spread to all areas of human life and the result is that we have never been more ignorant about the nature of ourselves or the universe. This is why the ancients look ignorant to us, not because they were ignorant, but because they were usually talking about something that we have long forgotten, namely, ourselves.

Misunderstandings. Our standard modern egoic understanding of religion and gods completely prevents us from understanding anything true about religion and gods.

Socrates: I know nothing.
Delphic Oracle: Know yourself!
Socrates: I know that I know nothing.

Resist, Surrender, Resent. To resist against social norms is to persist those social norms. This is why most young people eventually give up their resistance and surrender to what they once claimed to despise. At that later point, they see themselves as “growing up”. But the truth is that they have just “grown in”. They are as wild horses who finally succumb to the comforts offered by their masters. Later, as they age, these people are most likely to become the ones who are the least tolerant of those who don’t in turn succumb to what they themselves once submitted to.

Monkey Mind. Most people give up on meditation because they have a “monkey mind”, a mind that is completely unable to stop swinging from thought to thought, from dream to dream, from desire to desire. Restlessness, anxiety, inconsistency: all of them feel impossible to avoid. But this is precisely why they shouldn’t give up on meditation. Yet for some reason, the monkey thinks that if it is hungry, it shouldn’t bother eating.

Separation. The energy of people speaks louder than their words and their actions. You can experience the thoughts of another individual even before they can articulate those thoughts to themselves. This is no magic. This is possible only because we are not really separated from each other. Psychic powers arise out of awareness of connection with others from within.

Karmic Disease. If you cause pain to another human being, you will feel that pain as well. It will become part of you. This is what karma is. It is not justice. It is the experience of shared energy. You cannot intentionally harm or hurt someone else without harming and hurting yourself. It may manifest differently within you and you might not identify it until later, but it is there. This is how generational karma is possible. The pain is transferred. You are always the one who has the opportunity to heal it. Otherwise, you will remain a carrier and you will spread that pain far and wide to as many children and animals as possible. Karma is a disease and each one of us can resolve it. First by recognizing it, healing the wounds, and healing others.

Generational Suffering. One person can contain the evil and pain of multiple generations. I have seen such a one or two and I have seen deep suffering and alcohol in their eyes.

Victims. The modern victim mentality perpetuates karmic disease. When everyone is the victim, no one takes action to resolve the karma. We don’t take responsibility because we are the root cause of the pain, we take responsibility because we can be the cause of the healing. It is our Dharma to do so. To neglect that duty is to actually become part of the root cause.

Healing. The source of all confusion and muddied thinking and feeling is a lack of access to Source or God (whatever you call it) via your third eye. You are one and your being is integrated inside the world in a profound and magical way. The confusion you suffer is not due to psychological illness, but due to sociological conditioning and false education. Peel off the layers of social conditioning and you will uncover your true voice. This takes time, love, and patience. Do not give up in this. Be relentless. Find others who support you. Find good books, not self-help agendas and yoga teacher trainings. Stop chasing “success” and “money”. It is candy but it will leave you unfulfilled. Then when you are done and have found who you are, or at least who you are not, begin to learn how you might heal all the others. You will know when it is time. Only you will know. Google knows nothing.