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August 8, 2020 / Congau

The Myth of the Antre

We live in a cave. What we see are mere shadows flickering on the wall, imperfect copies of the real things as they exist in the realm of ideas. This Plato tells us. It is quite a sorry state, being surrounded by nothing but illusions or even plain lies with no hope of ever realizing the truth.

It is all we have and all we know. Life is misery, but sometimes we feel it is not so bad, especially when we allow ourselves to play along, accept the faulty appearances and pretend it is the real thing. There might be no real meaning in the dreary existence of a common wage earner, but he is no better off when thinking about it and despairing about its vast imperfections. Tell Plato that we don’t want to know the truth.

But might it not be possible to live contently in our shadowy world while still striving to see glimpses of the real reality, searching for truth from the basis of our daily trivialities? Getting up in the morning and going about your day in the midst of a phony society and fake information does not have to be depressive unless you take it all to heart. You can still amuse yourself by seeking to look through it all and decipher the real meaning of the false appearances.

“The unexamined life is not worth living,” says Socrates, Plato’s protagonist. At least that means that life in the cave can be worthwhile. 

Today, in the age of fake news, we may have stepped further down into the depth of the antre. The light from the opening has gotten dimmer as deception has become a more conscious intention. But we don’t have to succumb to it. Even deceit has some root in reality, and truth exists.



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