Saturday, July 11, 2015


I say to myself that all my life I've sought only to understand. But I’ve always known all I need to know. 

There are two kinds of knowledge: conscious and unconscious. We all possess unconscious knowledge, which we call instinct. In addition we humans possess conscious knowledge, which we call reason.

Socrates said we all want to do good. If we don’t do good, it’s because we don’t know the good. But we all know the good. We don't need reason to learn what it is. We know it instinctively, unconsciously. It’s when we start to reason, to think about it consciously, that we find we are unable to do it, like a person who starts to think about walking and becomes so self-conscious that s/he can no longer do it naturally, instinctively.

Other animals do the right thing without thinking about it because they live in the world of the senses. We all do; but we humans also live in the world we’ve created through imagination, the world of ideas.

We never do the wrong thing when we act instinctively, because we have no other choice. It’s when we become conscious of having choices that we risk making the wrong choice, doing the wrong thing.

Reason can be helpful when making choices, but we seldom use reason when making our choices. Usually we use it only afterwards, to rationalize, justify, our choices.   

Most people fear making the wrong choice, doing the wrong thing, so much that they willingly submit to slavery, allowing others to make their choices for them. 

For the slave, doing the right thing means obeying his master. Not because his master is wiser than he, but because when the master orders the slave to do the wrong thing, the slave tells himself it is his master who is doing wrong, not he. The slave pretends his master’s power over him is as irresistible as the power of instinct, and he has no choice but to obey.

I’ve always known this, but I forget it as I grow older. Perhaps it’s due to senility. But it’s also due to education. 

We are taught to forget what we knew as children when we enter the adult world. Senility is forgetting completely all we knew when we were children, including how to think for ourselves, and accepting completely all we were taught. I'm losing the ability to reason as I grow older, but I'm remembering what I knew instinctively when I was a child.

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