The Socratic Inquiry
In the Greek language, the psyche is that force of the soul that generates thoughts, behaviors, and a personality.23 Plato situates these dynamics outside of the soul. It disappears when the organism dies.
In the Meno, Socrates demonstrates that he can help a young, uneducated slave discover in himself the rules of geometry and mathematics.24 At first, the questions reveal the young adolescent’s vague intuition of the properties of a triangle and the square root. The adolescent is able to intuitively respond correctly with a yes or a no to Socrates’s questions without any explicit understanding of the rules of mathematics known to Meno and to Socrates. Yet gradually, these rules begin to rise up out of the haze like a volcano out of the ocean to create an island. With this demonstration, Socrates wants to suggest that after an advanced education, it is not one or two islands that break the surface of consciousness but entire continents of truths. This is labeled a process of reminiscence.25 I remember what my soul acquired in the world of Ideas.
This strategy is used in psychotherapy to help a person become conscious of what is within, what is repressed, or one’s intimate wishes. Socrates serves as a model that inspires certain psychotherapists to question a patient in great detail until he becomes more conscious, more explicit with regard to one of his organismic practices. The psychotherapist proposes to the patient that he comprehend, in as a detailed a manner as possible, an aspect of his negative impulses, his needs, and his resources.