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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Plato's Stepchildren

Plato's Stepchildren,
The Unexamined (Political) Life
Is Not Worth Living,
by Liviana (Giovanna L.)

In the dialogue which he named Πολιτεία (Politeia, rendered into English as "The Republic"), the Athenian philosopher named Ἀριστοκλῆς (Aristoklês, usually given in English as "Aristocles"), better known by his nickname, Πλάτων (Platôn, rendered into English as "Plato"), wrote what has sometimes been referred to as his "Allegory of the Cave," or his "Cave Metaphor."  Plato was a student of Σωκράτης (Sôkratês, given in English as "Socrates"), to whom is attributed the saying "The unexamined life is not worth living."

Plato's Cave Metaphor tells of people in a cave, chained so that they are facing the wall, and who can only see shadows cast on the wall by figures moving behind them, between themselves and a fire further behind.  A wall directly behind the captives prevents their own shadows from being cast onto the wall.  To these imprisoned cave-dwellers, the shadows cast on the wall seem to be reality, and are indeed the nearest thing to reality which they can ordinarily apprehend, and so they give names to the shadows, believing that the shadows are reality.  In this Allegory of the Cave, Plato also places the philosopher, whom he describes as one of the prisoners who somehow becomes freed from the chains and begins to explore, finding the fire, traveling on out of the cave itself and seeing the still greater light of the sun, and who then returns to his fellows in the cave and attempts to encourage them to cast off their shackles and emerge into the sunlight of truth, but is upon reentering the cave blind in the relative darkness.  This blindness would be taken by the captives as harm done to him by his journey out of the cave and into the sunlight, and they would be likely then to try to kill anyone who attempted to take them out of the cave.

The above brief summary of Plato's Cave Metaphor does not do the actual writing justice, but it does give the basic idea.  Evidence in support of Plato's contention that the deceived prisoners would tend to attempt to kill one who might attempt to liberate and enlighten them can be found in many cultures across vast spans of time, including Socrates himself, who was murdered by the Athenians for "corrupting the youth," and arguably including such figures (whether they be literal or mythical persons) as Y'shua` (Jesus), Krishna, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr, and many others.

Yet, as one occasionally lucid thinker once wrote:  "He must teach, though he may make severe the ordeals."  The liberated enlightened have an obligation to their fellow creatures, an ethical imperative, to attempt to likewise liberate and enlighten them.  Indeed, some might contend that the very state of liberation and enlightenment ignites this ethical sense of compassion.  Be that as it may, one who has been freed from the fetters and come to see the shadows for the deceptive diversion which they are is compelled to attempt to do the same for those who remain bound in "the Cave of Ignorance," to liberate them from their bondage and to drag them, kicking and screaming if need be, out of the deception and into reality.

Before proceeding further, an explanation of the term "ignorance" is perhaps in order.  An unfortunate actuality is the fact that "ignorant" is so often used in English-speaking societies as an insult.  The word "ignorance," however, in its etymology and literal meaning, signifies nothing other than a lack of knowledge.  Such a state, while undesirable, is not something to be seen as warranting mockery for those in the state.  Willful ignorance is another matter.  The willfully ignorant deserve derision, but only after earnest attempts to liberate them from their ignorance.

In this blog, the author has attempted frequently to lay bare the deceptions, the distractions, the misdirection and diversion which the establishment has used to keep the people ignorant of the truth, and the chains which have been used to keep the people from considering the fact of the deception and ignorance.  A few recent examples include "Dimensions of Perspective," "Remember What We Fight Against, and What We Fight For," "The Alternative Factor," "Bread and Circuses," "For the World Is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky," "The Enterprise Incident(s)," "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" and "Obsession."  More will follow, if the gods be willing;  some are already in production, but not yet ready for publication.  This present post is another example of such attempts.

The author hopes that she will be spared from assassination attempts by the fearful against those who engage in such gadfly activity.  She is armed, however, and knows a few things about how to defend herself, being a Texas girl and one who has had a small amount of military and martial arts training, nor does she have a naïve perspective of absolute pacifism or a desire for martyrdom.  She is a Heathen who holds to an Heroic Ethic, and is not a follower of any Slave Morality.  In short, she is not a messiah, and will not allow herself to be treated as such by opponents -- or, for that matter, by would-be disciples.  She is but a woman and not a goddess, but she is not a woman who would submit to terror or allow herself to be hindered by fear, of any sort.

Indeed, one of the distractions which have been used to keep the people bound and ignorant is what is known by philosophers as Argumentum ad Metum, which is to say, Appeal to Fear.  The people are presented first with a Bifurcation Fallacy, a faulty argument which attempts to reduce all the myriad choices available to a mere two, and, lest they dare to object to this limitation and consider one of the other options, they are then presented with a tale in which they are told that they must choose "this one," because "the other one" is dangerous, is fanatical, is hateful, is, in short, a big bad wolf, who must at all costs be stopped and that "this one" is the only one who can stop that "other one."

Yet, upon further examination, the alleged "differences" between "this one" and "the other one" melt away like shadows of deception in the light of truth.  This unrelenting light lays bare the reality of the situation, that "this one" and "the other one" are both representatives of the same establishment, and will both serve that establishment if given an office in which to do so.  This bright sunlight shines upon the history which demonstrates this to be verity.  The two major political parties are only different in appearance, but not in substance.  When in office, their candidates do make a bit of noise to perpetuate the illusion that they are opponents, but their actions, for the most part, are too remarkably similar to be taken as indicating any meaningful difference.  One will go to war and the other will complain about it, but when the other holds the office, that other will also go to war (or perpetuate war), with what are, essentially if not literally, the same enemies, and the same excuses and justifications will be used, perhaps with slightly different phrasing.  One will deregulate corporations and the banking industry, and the other will profess opposition, but when the other is in the office, that other will likewise deregulate the same corporate entities.  One will bail out the corporate entities who have brought the nation to the brink of economic disaster after being trusted to self-regulate and the other will howl and moan, but as soon as the same situation arises and the other sits in the office, that other will do exactly the same thing (if perhaps by different means).  Those few mavericks who dare to diverge from the standard operating procedure, who dare to challenge the status quo, who even go so far as to openly oppose the will of their establishment-controlled party, are marginalized, disenfranchised, denied funding or fundraising assistance, and ignored by the party, and by the corporate media which also serves the same establishment.

Smoke and mirrors, or shadows cast on the wall of a cave, it matters not the metaphor which is used.  The reality of the situation is quite simply, as has been shown in other posts here, that all the apparent differences between the two establishment parties are only superficial, and that they are so nearly alike as to be identical in a substantial sense.

More than those two establishment parties exist.  More ways of running elections exist than the sterility and vapidity of "First Past the Post."  The archaic model of the Electoral College, which served some useful purpose in the late 1700s, is now in need of reform, and more, in its current state, it is a hindrance to progress beyond the limitations which the people have accepted as "reality."

A sun does exist.  An entire world outside the cave lies waiting to be explored and understood.  The people who are even now bound, deceived, misdirected and distracted and diverted from the truth can shake off their shackles and walk out of the cave.  The key is here, and a rudimentary map.  They have but to accept the offer and act upon it.  As a certain doctor would advise the people to affirm, "It's in our hands."  It is indeed;  the key to remove the chains, the map out of the cave, both are in the hands of the people, if they will but pay attention and use those tools.

The time is now.  Every vote counts.  The people must go Green in 2016, for the republic, for themselves, for their children, for their children's children, for freedom and truth, honoring the past, respecting the present, and building a worthy legacy for the future.

The title of the post comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 3, episode 10;  episode 65 overall;  production code 67.

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