Posted 8/23/2020 5:49 PM (GMT -6)
Per Logos: " ... notes from Plato's cave."
Plato's Allegory of the Cave might actually seem to apply to us here on the forum.
Odd thought? Yes, but bear with me.
You all know the account, summed up here by this description of the allegory from a website:
"In the allegory, Plato likens people untutored in the Theory of Forms to prisoners chained in a cave, unable to turn their heads. All they can see is the wall of the cave. Behind them burns a fire. Between the fire and the prisoners there is a parapet, along which puppeteers can walk. The puppeteers, who are behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave. The prisoners are unable to see these puppets, the real objects, that pass behind them. What the prisoners see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they do not see. Such prisoners would mistake appearance for reality. They would think the things they see on the wall, the shadows, were real, and they would know nothing of the real causes of the shadows."
Perhaps we here are actually like the shadows on the wall, being only usernames and text strings in posts. Names and typed words that are the only existence each of us has here, the only knowledge that most of us have or will ever have of each other here.
And while a few of us have actually met some of the others in person, and had then come to know the real people behind the usernames and texts, that is, the real people casting the cybernetic shadows that were all that we, like the prisoners, ever saw here, mostly that is rare.
Or perhaps some of us have a photo of ourselves online somewhere, and some others of us have seen it, but mostly we are, to each other, cybernetic shadows on a cybernetic wall.
Events such as GFMPH gatherings, where all the wall shadows are suddenly set aside, and reality is made perfectly clear, are like the prisoners suddenly being allowed to turn their heads around, to see the real fire, and the real puppeteers.
But in the meantime while we are here on the forum, we continue to see only the shadows on the wall, the usernames and texts of each of us here.
And perhaps that's enough. Perhaps the knowledge gained here, the humor shared, the support extended, is enough to justify why we come here, shadows aside.
But, still, I suspect that all of us from time to time wonder at least a little about what these shadows in this shadowy online world are really shadows of.