Before the cave.

Hey, Les. I’m gonna get a bit philosophical with you here, so hang on.

Just before Plato launches into his cave allegory in his Republic, he talks about divisions of the soul. Here’s a quote I found really interesting:

There are four such conditions in the soul, corresponding to the four subsections of our line: Understanding for the highest, thought for the second, belief for the third, and imaging for the last. Arrange them in a ratio, and consider that each shares in clarity to the degree that the subsection it is set over shares in truth.

Here’s how a kind person laid it out in a diagram, more tree- than line-like, with understanding=intellection, belief=trust/confidence, and imaging=imagination/conjecture:

too long in the cave

You may think I’ve been in the cave too long. Or I got some kind of fever from all the damn bugs that bit me while I was working in the south. You may be right; I’ve also got a bloody eyeball that I can’t explain. But I’m trying to break it all down and get my head in order for the new year. The direction of all these philosophical meanderings is toward the notion of “goodness” (see it, modestly lowercase, in its little box up top?) and an understanding of how images and imagination play a defining role in realizing the good. And what is a good image, really? Effective propaganda, or something eternal and true?

So sue me if I go astray.


The Plan

p.s. This book, in Alec’s list, about the hyper-collectors (momma called ’em packrats) and the people who come to bail them out? Maybe I should check in with that guy Schmelling, find out what he knows about it all…

One Reply to “Before the cave.”

  1. I think light is fearful. Light, as in illumination, as in knowledge, fleshing out the shadows on the cave or the duotone impressions on Mary’s screen. I felt for Steve, in his hole; the outside was too hot, too forbidding. How did ED (one of my favorite 19th-century LBMs) put it?

    Tell all the Truth but tell it slant —
    Success in Circuit lies
    Too bright for our infirm Delight
    The Truth’s superb surprise

    As Lightning to the Children eased
    With explanation kind
    The Truth must dazzle gradually
    Or every man be blind —

    And, by the way, is the brain really a light table for sorting impressions in pursuit of presence? Is our gray matter “camera lucida” or “camera obscura”?

    yrs, og

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