Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The First Entry or Plato's Cave Revisited

In every endeavor there is a first time. So this is the first post on my first blog, The Eltonian Universe. I chose TEU not only to indicate that I have never suffered from modesty, but also to indicate that this blog will cover my take on a variety of areas including politics, science, sports, movies and novels, history and religion where I have either some experience, or insight (or both), but certainly no lack of opinion. The above list is representative, but not exclusive.

My first post is to note that I view a blog as a representation of Socrates' cave as told to Plato. Socrates viewed the real world as shadows cast on a cave wall (a cave in his -- or Plasto's view -- wherein most of us chose to dwell). (By the way it is hard for us removed some twenty-five centuries, or so, from Socrates to determine what were his thoughts and what were the twists and spins, or interpretation, cast on them by his erstwhile student and successor, Plato.)

In any case the Cave is a perfect representation of how we view reality. For the brain, like the Cave, does not interact with the direct world outside. It cannot. To do so would be deadly. So we perceive the outside world through the shadows cast by our senses as they give information to our brain. We truly never see anything. Our optical nerves send information which is flipped and then re-flipped so that our brain can "see" the outside world. Our auditory nerves send information which the brain decodes so that it can hear, etc. So we -- as a species -- are stuck in the cave and we use writings and now blogs as a way to in interpret the shadows on the wall and to offer those observations as an entry point, a window, into our own little cave.

And since we view reality from such a rarified place, we should be cautious about claiming to know everything about the outside world just based on our senses alone. Down such a path lies folly and foolishness. But down such a path, unfortunately, have trod most of the thinkers and observers of the human condition. Which as I note is an internal condition which can sometimes be at odds with external reality.

So, in short, TEU will rip aside the shadowy illusions that we oftentimes cherish and confront us with the harsh light of reality.

As an example in an upcoming post I will review a biography of Aleister Crowley which alleges that the noted counter-culturalist, practitioner of what he called magick, and self-proclaimed "wickedest man in the world" was most likely a member of British intelligence and maybe one of the models that Ian Fleming used in creating the fictional super spy James Bond.

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