11 October 2012

Plato's Cave

The poor prisoners in Plato's Cave thought that reality was the flickering shadows of the dancing marionettes on the wall they were shackled in front of all their lives.  Until one of the prisoners escaped and went outside the cave to experience the world for the first time.

Both literature and religion have mined the rich seams of metaphor and allegory they found in Plato's Cave.  The problem I have is: both tend to skip over the little matter of the removing of the shackles to move straight on to their depictions of their idealised worlds - whether that be Narnia, Heaven, Middle Earth or wherever else.  

That's cheating in my book.  When was the last time you stood on the bank of a river and then suddenly, without explanation, found yourself on the opposite bank?  

If the shackles turn out to be death then that is not a terribly useful solution.  If they turn out to be illusion, then you have to provide a mechanism by which that is removed.  No wardrobes allowed.

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