Even Stoners cannot agree amongst themselves whether there really ever was a Great Avatar, personified by a single person, or was this figure an amalgam of several prophets and mentors who lived in different ages. Such vagaries are, of course, inherent in any oral tradition. Still the wisdom found through this medium is as eternal today as was when the first Stoners began to carve images into the side of a cave wall.
Throughout its history Stepping Stones is filled with tales of its great and influential teachers, who spoke in different places, times and languages. Not only Socrates, but also Siddartha, Augustine, Chief Kono-Kai-Tu, Gurdjieff and St. Peter were all well-known teachers of the Principles.
For this first edition of Stepping Stones to Freedom the editors have portrayed the Avatar, as is the tradition, in a more contemporary style. Whether Mr. Babushnik, as the Avatar is referred to here, was an actual living Master or an amalgam of several masters is purposely left vague and open to conjecture. Though the title of Mr. Babushnik itself has been passed down through the generations, the name itself is a possible anagram based on the last letter of the names of several prominent Stone Masters.
These teachings are most often wrapped in the guise of philosophic reminiscences, recalling the dialogue between a young student and an elderly gentleman. Plato as well as several other Greek philosophers obviously adopted this dialectical style directly from the Stepping Stones tradition. (The only real question that is still at play was whether Socrates had studied the Principles of Freedom while a young soldier on duty in Sparta or afterwards in one of the secret Stepping Stone enclaves in Athens.)