Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Cave and the Maze

This is a small thing, and not something others haven’t thought of, I suppose. Still, I often wonder about who is Out There on your end. I wonder sometimes about who’s In Here on this end, for that matter.

I’ve spent a lifetime not knowing myself and seeing others not know me even more. Of others, I have always been perplexed as to what they were really thinking when they spoke or acted. I’ve wondered if they even know.

Now, added to this is this blog-world and email cyberspace version of Plato’s allegory of the cave. In that, prisoners are restrained so that they can only see the shadows of things that are behind them cast on the wall in front of them and they thus end up mistaking that Appearance of things for reality. The shadows are what’s real. People I talk to on the Internet are like that, as I am to them. One finds the things in common—if that’s not an illusion itself—and bases a sort of a relationship, kinship, or appreciation on that. Sometimes we become someone’s biggest fan in a safe sort of way.

We may be completely mistaken about someone on the Web or only partly. We are each constructing an image of one another from pieces of the puzzle. Of course, what we all would like would be to get a peek at the photo on top of the puzzle box.

I wonder if Plato’s imaginary prisoners would have made quick work of their “reality” dilemma if they hadn’t been chained and could have just used a small mirror for a minute to look behind them. Might that have made everything clear? Or would they have thought the mirror was like a window of some sort, showing a “vision” coming to them from out there in the void? Would it have come too late? Would it have looked to them like the mirrored image was the illusion, not the shadows?

Added to my stingy little Intelligent Links list today is another Window, one chosen as usual by my own purely egocentric criteria. In science labs, they may judge rats intelligent based on which ones have excelled at running the maze quickly. I judge them intelligent when they are able to escape the maze. Natalie has shown no rat-like behavior yet, but I see constant signs of her energetic and cheerful struggles to escape some of the mazes and caves. I brush aside for the moment the fact that she’s a she and pronounce her: One of the Good Guys.

My egotism knows no bounds, I know, making such pronouncements. I think I’m smart because I figured out the Cave thing early in life, but I’m still stuck in the maze and ought not to be so arrogant. I’m not, really; I just look, sound, and act arrogant! It’s a neat trick, but I don’t recommend that anyone try it.


After the heartbreak

Years went by,

I could not find my love

But watched instead

The hollow sham and promenade

Lead on, lead on…


Current draft: 02/08/03


I> Feebly Coming, Crawling Along, that sorry old Attraction (moving slower and sloower all the time!): oh, hell let’s just put the BAD DRIVING blog on Hold for now! Some day my prince will come…

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "Lovers can find nothing to say to each other that has not been said and unsaid a thousand times over. Kisses were invented to translate such nothings into wounds." -- Lawrence Durrell, in his book, Mountolive

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Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)