8 Bit Philosophy: What is Real? (Plato's Allegory of the Cave)

Well it's a remarkably abstract concept to present this higher plane of reality than what we ourselves perceive... though I suppose that just furthers the smug argument that we are simply unable to conceive of such a thing because we're in the cave watching shadows.

As a thought experiment it is a provocative one, but it ends up rather aimless like many "imagine if reality is actually this!" ideas we all end up considering and ultimately discarding because irrespective of any truth that might lie in it, there's bugger all we could do about it.

The "Matrix" argument of that time it would seem.

but what if the Realm of the Being is just a shadow of a greater realm? It's realms all the way up!

And thus Christian theology clung on to this idea and we have the degenerative mindsets we see today, when I say Plato, while admirable in his ideas, had it completely backwards. Flip the whole thing on its head.

What you see in front of you is as real as it can be, any idea of perfection is just that, an idea, a figment of our imaginations. If you look at a sunset in front of you, you are seeing the "perfect" sunset, the "ultimate" reality. Sure there are tons of waveslengths of light you are not seeing and angles you are not viewing it from, but its just that, if you could see it ALL you would see nothing. Imagine being able to see EVERYTHING. Every single dimension and reality all at once. Assuming there are infinite universes/timelines/possibilities, you would be seeing absolutely nothing at all since there's nothing for you to contrast what you see with what you don't.

You need to cut things out, ANYTHING out, to be able to see Something. You can't have the known without the unknown, the 2 are interdependent. And thus when you see a sunset you are seeing it as perfect as it possibly can be. Someone else might see it from a different angle, an alien able to see more wavelengths of light may see it differently, and your scientific instruments will see it differently as well. But they are all equally as "real". You can attempt to understand it and see it from more wavelengths/points of view, but you will NEVER find the "true" sunset, because there will ALWAYS be more unknown for you to fill and if you actually filled in all the holes, which would mean you see it from all dimensions including time itself, you would be seeing nothing at all.

Ok! You blown my mind in a way you can't understand! Specially with the stuff I had in the last period!

The title for this series could not be more accurate.

As entertaining as that little skit was, I still prefer Tool's 46&2. =P

leviadragon99:
Well it's a remarkably abstract concept to present this higher plane of reality than what we ourselves perceive... though I suppose that just furthers the smug argument that we are simply unable to conceive of such a thing because we're in the cave watching shadows.

As a thought experiment it is a provocative one, but it ends up rather aimless like many "imagine if reality is actually this!" ideas we all end up considering and ultimately discarding because irrespective of any truth that might lie in it, there's bugger all we could do about it.

The "Matrix" argument of that time it would seem.

This is an allegory, it is simply meant to inform us that there is more to the world than we can see, hear, and feel. We have learned about atoms, the weak force, etc., etc., all of which we knew not of when this allegory was first written.

theuprising:
And thus Christian theology clung on to this idea and we have the degenerative mindsets we see today, when I say Plato, while admirable in his ideas, had it completely backwards. Flip the whole thing on its head.

What you see in front of you is as real as it can be, any idea of perfection is just that, an idea, a figment of our imaginations. If you look at a sunset in front of you, you are seeing the "perfect" sunset, the "ultimate" reality. Sure there are tons of waveslengths of light you are not seeing and angles you are not viewing it from, but its just that, if you could see it ALL you would see nothing. Imagine being able to see EVERYTHING. Every single dimension and reality all at once. Assuming there are infinite universes/timelines/possibilities, you would be seeing absolutely nothing at all since there's nothing for you to contrast what you see with what you don't.

You need to cut things out, ANYTHING out, to be able to see Something. You can't have the known without the unknown, the 2 are interdependent. And thus when you see a sunset you are seeing it as perfect as it possibly can be. Someone else might see it from a different angle, an alien able to see more wavelengths of light may see it differently, and your scientific instruments will see it differently as well. But they are all equally as "real". You can attempt to understand it and see it from more wavelengths/points of view, but you will NEVER find the "true" sunset, because there will ALWAYS be more unknown for you to fill and if you actually filled in all the holes, which would mean you see it from all dimensions including time itself, you would be seeing nothing at all.

I think you're missing the point of the philosophy here. Its a perception thing, and since we as humans aren't able to process "everything" all at once and would then "see" nothing, you assume that what we see is all that there is, which may or may not be. So many things we don't know about the universe and maybe the "multiverse" if that is what exists. Are we the highest form of consciousness or are we merely passing through from cave to larger cave? The point is we don't really know and can't be certain.

BTW if our eyes, and thus brains, were capable of seeing all the wavelengths, you couldn't possibly know we'd see nothing because no one has that ability.Same with our ears being able to process all the various levels of sound, etc. You wouldn't know what it is like to have that ability, and you can't say for certain that being able to perceive it all would mean you'd perceive nothing. Its foolish and arrogant to think you can understand a perspective you'll never have.
You could be right, but there's just as equal a chance that you could be wrong. Odds aren't in your favor though, since when perception changes the meaning of what you're perceiving changes too.

However if we evolved with eyes that could see the entire spectrum but a brain that couldn't process it, they may not work and we'd never have made it as a species anyway, making your point possibly true but moot since it seems silly for the brain not to develop the processing ability for one of its most necessary tools of survival and sensation.

Evolution is weird, but here we are, two-legged, two eyed, ten fingers and toes and some other weird wild shit that make our bodies function, some of which are vestigial... meh.

Anyway, just thought I'd toss that idea your way. Please don't be so arrogant to think that it isn't possible to "see" "everything", you and I don't know because we don't have the ability and as far as I know no one yet does, yet... and maybe you're right. I still hold that is pretty arrogant though to assume we're at the highest form we possibly can be, because if we are than the universe is a sick and perverted place by way of how humans conduct themselves.

"Maybe I am simplifying it too much, but to me I'd say no one person can ever even perceive the cave let alone escape it, our perception is not only limited, but it is highly interpreted and biased to a level that is not possible to overcome. That said, with well documented and standardized methods being shared to observe the same thing by many people we can get an aggregated view of a thing and get much closer to seeing the truth of it. With this we can start to leave the cave together, even so it is still impossible to truly know the truth of a thing so vigilance must be maintained in reassessing our collaborative assumptions and be wary of knowing something as a Law... too bad the only people tackling this are philosophers, we need a new school of study/thought to address this and then maybe call this process the (that school of thought)ic Method. Never mind, it wouldn't be viewed as philosophy anymore because it'd be more about observation and verification and not just thought, and we could never do anything cross-discipline, so lets just pretend this conversation never happened."
-Quote from some nameless guy in Plato's forum

ritchards:
but what if the Realm of the Being is just a shadow of a greater realm? It's realms all the way up!

And turtles all the way down.

Imperioratorex Caprae:

I think you're missing the point of the philosophy here. Its a perception thing, and since we as humans aren't able to process "everything" all at once and would then "see" nothing, you assume that what we see is all that there is, which may or may not be. So many things we don't know about the universe and maybe the "multiverse" if that is what exists. Are we the highest form of consciousness or are we merely passing through from cave to larger cave? The point is we don't really know and can't be certain.

BTW if our eyes, and thus brains, were capable of seeing all the wavelengths, you couldn't possibly know we'd see nothing because no one has that ability.Same with our ears being able to process all the various levels of sound, etc. You wouldn't know what it is like to have that ability, and you can't say for certain that being able to perceive it all would mean you'd perceive nothing. Its foolish and arrogant to think you can understand a perspective you'll never have.
You could be right, but there's just as equal a chance that you could be wrong. Odds aren't in your favor though, since when perception changes the meaning of what you're perceiving changes too.

However if we evolved with eyes that could see the entire spectrum but a brain that couldn't process it, they may not work and we'd never have made it as a species anyway, making your point possibly true but moot since it seems silly for the brain not to develop the processing ability for one of its most necessary tools of survival and sensation.

Evolution is weird, but here we are, two-legged, two eyed, ten fingers and toes and some other weird wild shit that make our bodies function, some of which are vestigial... meh.

Anyway, just thought I'd toss that idea your way. Please don't be so arrogant to think that it isn't possible to "see" "everything", you and I don't know because we don't have the ability and as far as I know no one yet does, yet... and maybe you're right. I still hold that is pretty arrogant though to assume we're at the highest form we possibly can be, because if we are than the universe is a sick and perverted place by way of how humans conduct themselves.

Well you're right, we cannot 100% know what the true nature of the universe is, but my thoughts are based on the idea of the infinite universe theory and the current thought in quantum physics that the the big bang "just happened" due to a realized quantum potential, and, given the infinite "time" of existence, it will happen an infinite times more. Simply because this is more likely than the opposite, where there is a set amount of things happening and the big bang was literally the beginning of existence, because it makes it very likely then that there is a divine intelligence guiding the whole thing, given the ridiculous improbability of the only universe in existence having just the right amount of mass/laws of physics to sustain... well what we see in front of us today. But with an infinite amount of universes, it doesn't simply become a probability, but an inevitability.

Plato's cave allegory is the thought modern Christians run on, that what we see isn't quite as "real" as heaven, and thus there is so much suffering, plague, and pestilence. But flip the whole thing quite literally on its head. Put forms on the bottom and the shadows on the top.

Once you realize that seeing anymore than your own subjective view is simply an idea made up of thoughts, then the true nature of the universe is revealed. And that is your experience itself, that sunset would not EXIST without you or anyone else looking at it. It would exist in a realm of infinite possibility and probability but without an observer it isn't given form. And thus we can get the most likely answer to why YOU are here, where you are. And it is simply because there could be NOTHING without someone standing at an X, Y, Z, and t and as a reference point. If you weren't standing there and looking in that direction with your human eyes, the experience of the sunset wouldn't be there.

Of course you can VISUALIZE more of the universe in your minds eye. You can ALWAYS see more you will always be able to see more. But our subjective reality is the most true, as any objective reality is truly a figment of our imaginations. What can you say is TRUE to you, in terms of the entire universe? Well absolutely nothing but what you see in front of you, your subjective point of view. Assuming the infinite universe theory is true, EVERY single POSSIBILITY has manifested and WILL, and something as bizarre as you growing wings and flying is POSSIBLE if you know anything about quantum physics, though infinitesimally unlikely, similar to the big bang happening in the first place.

And thus you can't possibly "see" infinity, Alan Watts said the thought it self was ridiculous, similar to everlasting nothingness. You can't have nothing without something to contrast it and vice versa. There can be no objective view without a subjective view, so glorifying the objective view without appreciating the subjective is a bit short sighted, for they are one in the same process; not only that, but the objective view is quite literally impossible for us to divine. Any little boxes we put the universe in are simply symbols to the real thing, but all we can really achieve from this practice is an understanding of the universe which won't ever be adequate, while the only things we KNOW are: This is what I see. This experience is what is.

theuprising:
Well you're right, we cannot 100% know what the true nature of the universe is, but my thoughts are based on the idea of the infinite universe theory and the current thought in quantum physics that the the big bang "just happened" due to a realized quantum potential, and, given the infinite "time" of existence, it will happen an infinite times more. Simply because this is more likely than the opposite, where there is a set amount of things happening and the big bang was literally the beginning of existence, because it makes it very likely then that there is a divine intelligence guiding the whole thing, given the ridiculous improbability of the only universe in existence having just the right amount of mass/laws of physics to sustain... well what we see in front of us today. But with an infinite amount of universes, it doesn't simply become a probability, but an inevitability.

Plato's cave allegory is the thought modern Christians run on, that what we see isn't quite as "real" as heaven, and thus there is so much suffering, plague, and pestilence. But flip the whole thing quite literally on its head. Put forms on the bottom and the shadows on the top.

Once you realize that seeing anymore than your own subjective view is simply an idea made up of thoughts, then the true nature of the universe is revealed. And that is your experience itself, that sunset would not EXIST without you or anyone else looking at it. It would exist in a realm of infinite possibility and probability but without an observer it isn't given form. And thus we can get the most likely answer to why YOU are here, where you are. And it is simply because there could be NOTHING without someone standing at an X, Y, Z, and t and as a reference point. If you weren't standing there and looking in that direction with your human eyes, the experience of the sunset wouldn't be there.

Of course you can VISUALIZE more of the universe in your minds eye. You can ALWAYS see more you will always be able to see more. But our subjective reality is the most true, as any objective reality is truly a figment of our imaginations. What can you say is TRUE to you, in terms of the entire universe? Well absolutely nothing but what you see in front of you, your subjective point of view. Assuming the infinite universe theory is true, EVERY single POSSIBILITY has manifested and WILL, and something as bizarre as you growing wings and flying is POSSIBLE if you know anything about quantum physics, though infinitesimally unlikely, similar to the big bang happening in the first place.

And thus you can't possibly "see" infinity, Alan Watts said the thought it self was ridiculous, similar to everlasting nothingness. You can't have nothing without something to contrast it and vice versa. There can be no objective view without a subjective view, so glorifying the objective view without appreciating the subjective is a bit short sighted, for they are one in the same process; not only that, but the objective view is quite literally impossible for us to divine. Any little boxes we put the universe in are simply symbols to the real thing, but all we can really achieve from this practice is an understanding of the universe which won't ever be adequate, while the only things we KNOW are: This is what I see. This experience is what is.

Seeing as how every time we seem to "answer" a question with science we don't truly answer anything but rather just come up with a multitude of more questions, our universe expands exponentially. The cave allegory seems to work perfectly in that sense. Whenever we go to explore outside the new cave, an even larger, more unbelievable cave appears and we go back to the "old" cave and some folks just don't want to hear the new ideas.
Like the idea that perhaps the big bang may not actually have happened seems to have recently sprung up. Whether or not that is true, its a part of how I view scientific discovery. For every scientific "truth" we find, we seem to also disprove some historic "truth" that came before at some point.
It gets esoteric in my beliefs at this point, and may offend or downright outrage some people but I'm of the mind that we keep disproving and proving new things simply because we're observing the universe. The cave keeps growing because we're making it grow with every question we answer and every question we ask because of those answers. Our minds are insatiable, infinite and therefore we, in a sense do perceive infinity by way of our questioning existence itself. The workings of the universe I believe will never truly be unlocked, understood, cataloged and mathematically categorized because at each step our own interference, observation will alter the results.
And eventually, if we as a species live long enough, we may encounter another race and things will change once again. The power of thought is extreme... I'm a strange person though... I believe a lot of weird shit and I think we do "see" infinity we just don't understand it. I've had my moment of sitting on the edge of the universe having tea with the gods, looking down upon all of what one might deem creation and seeing it all and realizing that I'm meant know only know what I know and not what I had seen at that very moment. At least not yet. I remember it, and I don't. It may have been a hallucination, it may have been a dream, but then again it may have been absolutely real too. I don't know for sure. I'll tell you this much... I saw a lot of things, some I still remember but only after they've happened and some I hope do happen and some I dread never do come to pass and that was just what I saw in my lifetime. It was if I saw all of time painted upon a canvas stretched across a wall of a canyon and I could focus in on any one point and see what was going on. And I was sitting on the edge of reality with the "gods" which really is a metaphor for the rest of whatever makes up consciousness in this universe. Drinking, of all things, tea. And damn was that some good tea.
Vivid, very real. It wasn't like a dream because I remember exactly how I got there and how I got back. But I couldn't take all that information with me or if I did I can't access it because I don't have the proper password or perception to do so.
I think we CAN see infinity, if we're in the proper state of mind but we're unable to hold that state indefinitely because we cannot communicate it properly.
Besides if I were to tell people the things I know from that experience, they'd write me of as insane (which I am anyway) so... yeah.

While it is an interesting line of philosophy to consider, it is inherently meaningless to us even if true. We cannot, as far as we know, unshackle ourselves anymore than a sentient video game character could materialize themselves into the world above theirs.

I've become more considerate of the idea of our universe being virtual. That we ourselves create miniature universes all the time with their own physics and "matter" in the form of video games and simulators. I've got to assume that given enough technology and knowhow that we will eventually create universes so elaborately designed with procedural generation to allow for A.I. that may themselves create their own universe some day. The question is if we are so inevitably on track to do that then how likely is it that we're not the first and that potentially our own universe is one such example?

In this scenario, the first universe at the top that is not itself "digital" would be the top level.

But as far as our reality being a shadow of more perfect realities? To us that's meaningless. We have only our empiricism to go on.

 

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