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Plato's Cave and the Significance of Projection

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posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 12:19 AM

Plato's allegory of human reality as being equivalent to a cave in which people interact with the shadows produced by a 'fire' and machine-like marionettes is a poetic way of describing projection.

Consult the above diagram and consider its logic. To add some complexity, lets contextualize your state of object awareness by describing the logic of the feeling dynamics which are implicitly present in your observing self:

This is as logical a formulation for human awareness as there is.

So in any single action, we are structured bottom-up by the functionality of a motivational state. The "I" observer is 'surrounded' by 7 motivational systems postulated by developmental psychologists, just to capture the 'breadth' of the needs which humans instinctively express. These systems (by no means to be understood ontologically) are described by the green circle which surrounds the I; around this circle lies the ontological 'scaffolding' of development, which is "hidden" within the final and most encompassing circle, the logic of interpersonal recognition processes.

Notice each party is structured in the same way, and so, the logic of interaction is mostly the "harmonizing" of motivational systems ('needs') as a way to minimize stresses.

To return to the first image, the object you interact with will ineluctably be an object relating to some past interaction. Every state of mind, of course, is dependent on some form of past interaction - whether with the external world, or an internal and unconscious association; sometimes meaningful and oftentimes not meaningful, the 'random' thoughts which appear in our head, if looked at logically, will fall within the parameters described in the second chart. But the first chart is more about the object and how it is changed. In interacting with the world, we are affected in our perception of what the object 'means'. The 'meaning' is always a relational property, but it is always deriving from some intrinsic quality of the object which 'ramifies' a complex effect by interacting with the unconscious mind-brain.

The functional loop is dyadic; you and the object; how you cognize, or react to the affect you just observed, affects your subsequent experience of the object. We 'narrate' an experience of our own experience by observing and reacting, again and again, to the objects we experience and the way we experience them. But hardly ever is the experience simple: the purple region of our development is shaped, and in being shaped, is constantly' guiding our object relations with world. Every commercial or advertisement we see is designed to activate a motivational system and associate it with a product. T.V shows, movies, and other media sell cliches - and the product is your intentional awareness, or "how you identify as a self". Everytime we interact with such material, based in attachment, or affiiliation or caregiving needs, a specific sort of interpretation of self-experience is "sold" to people, without the observers having any understanding of how malleable they really are - as dynamical systems, to anything they focus their attention on.

Can you see the 'bits' that make up your experience? Can you see the difference between your observing self and object self, and how their qualities differ, or are lateralized, to 'different' parts of us? Ideally, the object and the observing self are coherently entangled. The observing self is the emergent product of attachment, forever the ontological substance that derives from 'love', from connection, and hence, represents the 'ideal symmetry' of consciousness. Ideally, again, this observing pole is connected with the whole biosphere, as when its knowledge grows, its experience of its own significance grows as well; the sense of the self as an ecological product of natural processes, emerging as 'caretaker' and 'witness' to what is, logos incarnate, dawns as the inevitable and only reality.

The object bewitches, however, and when there is no awareness or understanding of the behavior of the loop, between self and observed, knower with known, then the self creates for itself its own executioner. The break, as is often the case, is a springboard for putting oneself back together but at higher level of coherency. When you do survive things, oftentimes one becomes stronger.

The bewitching object of experience, for example, would be the exhiliration of feeling that comes with a particular situation (partying, reading a book, hearing a riveting speech, etc), and then finding your self idealizing about the 'perfection' of this moment in time, and feeling a desire to make a commitment to 'recreate it' again and again. A philosophy is born from these sorts of rash and reckless "agreements" between the self and its object; a tacit communication which the author seldom pays much attention to, nor understands the nature of the consequences of.

This is the 'micro-structure' of the mind.

The loop is the overall shape of phenomenology, whereas the structure can be described in three ways: psychodynamically; in terms of the categories of cognitive science; or Piercean phenomenology.

This complex chart should be read as follows: cognitive science categories of perception and cognition describe the passive and active dimensions of self-experience. Affect is the 'mediating' dynamic that links the two processes into a singular activity. At the top, psychodynamic categories are placed between the cognitive sciences categories to reveal where they operate: dissociation controls perceptual processes, whereas idealization processes control cognitive responses. Finally, Peircean phenomenology reveals how these categories actually occur in our minds: we first feel (perception pole) and then react to what we feel (cognition pole). Learning only occurs when the latter coherently relates to the former.
edit on 25-9-2018 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 12:37 AM
I find your thorough description to be quite enlightening. I never viewed this allegory from that perspective before, although I reference it rather frequently. Thank you for posting this

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 01:02 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte
A very overly complex description of something that is simple. The object is a projection. What or who is projecting it, you may know, or you may not know. If you know you wont ask what is projecting it, if you don't then you will wonder and ask what is projecting it.

When all you can grasp and understand are the objects presented to you. What hope do you have of actually seeing or understanding anything? Kind of like this internet thing, it only presents things that you want to see, and are familiar with, that and well?

Stuff you may want to buy.

Its only real while your logged on glued to one direction, or as in the cave, head strapped to look at the pretty shadows moving on the wall. And well! Who among you have the choice of not playing at the game called life? So you see, your all in a cave staring at the images presented to you and projected on the wall by a flame. Observers and reality are the same thing.

Its all fake, its just different layers to it, kind of like an onion, and like an onion when you peel the layers away, it makes you want to cry. But anyways, look at this site, most of them are stuck on the projection of politics and Trump and what not. None of it is real off course, just flickering images on a wall. But to them it is and will be real.

And so on, and so on. Were you focus you minds eye is basically becomes a reality, or a sort of pseudo reality, full of shapes that glimmer and fade away to the flicker of a flame on a wall. Do you know how movies and film came into being? A light projected on a screen right.

It to has its origins in Plato's Cave as well, in fact is not the whole movie going experience part and parcel the same ritual that was in ancient Greece or Egypt or countless other civilizations, were people quietly gather at dark or dust, to watch the fire flicker as it casts shadows on the wall and the narrator quietly mumbles. Same as in caveman days when everybody gathered around the fire. And if you look in the flames you can see the truth of the world.

And in that cave were all flickering shadows on the wall, there one second, gone the next.

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 01:15 AM
I think its a computer and it doesn't have prompts for situtation: talkback observe/response similar to something only taking in/feedback/regurgitate et cetera..

Only thing I can figure out as the systems dueling threads within its basal mindstream..//gets going past the other..program repeat

Like that bot says I I u uu ii u and stuff, anyways hard work not worth the time..some expression words one says have fun peace out man's been great..

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 01:21 AM
The simulation is a hamster wheel, things get spit, swishes around until its nonsense # gets typed back, push repeat pulling madness almost but not quite sane.

Wish you well, you seem like a guy-

edit on 25-9-2018 by Ohthewey778 because: Anyways..-

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 01:43 AM
Cliffs notes, anyone?

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 12:25 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Thoroughly enjoy your posts Astrocyte. The depth and intricacy is appreciated. Set the bar.

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 01:32 PM
a reply to: Parishna

Plato begins by having Socrates ask Glaucon to imagine a cave where people have been imprisoned from birth. These prisoners are chained so that their legs and necks are fixed, forcing them to gaze at the wall in front of them and not look around at the cave, each other, or themselves (514a–b). Behind the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway with a low wall, behind which people walk carrying objects or puppets "of men and other living things" (514b).[3] The people walk behind the wall so their bodies do not cast shadows for the prisoners to see, but the objects they carry do ("just as puppet showmen have screens in front of them at which they work their puppets" (514a). The prisoners cannot see any of what is happening behind them, they are only able to see the shadows cast upon the cave wall in front of them. The sounds of the people talking echo off the walls, and the prisoners believe these sounds come from the shadows (514c).

Wikipedia - Plato's Allegory of the Cave.

Plato insists we are the prisoners who are enrapt with the shadow show so much that we are not aware of reality. All attempts to wake us dreamers to reality fail.

It is the dream world, Neo.

That is where some of the ideas of The Matrix comes from. The idea being that Plato said seeing the real world would be painful until you can stop, become aware, and self-reflect upon it. Otherwise, you would demand to be "plugged back into the matrix" and "go back to sleep watching the shadows" (I like my metaphors shaken then stirred!)

OP's material takes us to cognitive science and about what consciousness and awareness means.


I will add this. Plato's Cave allegory says the light from the real world will hurt you (enlightenment??). I would say this, "light is weirder than we know" (TEOT original sentiment). - The New Science of Seeing Around Corners.

This is about using computers to boost and amplify ambient light from other source that are not direct (like how we see things with our eyes). They use natural screens like pin hole cameras to "see" outside scenes and around corners. They also kind of hint at it, but I will state it flat out, our brains are great filters that auto-filter the non-essential out from raising to the level of our awareness. Hypothesis: That is why we sleep and dream at night: to clear out temporary storage.

A thought or observation. It seems that light (and by extension, both enlightenment and shadow play), is the stronger metaphor. By self-reflection (meditation??) we can become aware and come and go as we see fit from the Cave.

Sounds like the shaman's journey! (nudge-nudge)

In my cubical h3ll I have the 3 types of learning: Deduction, Induction, and, Abduction, always present (with a stick figure Grey next to the "abduction" for a reminder this is a man-made structure and may not be the only one!), on the wall as a reminder. Those are inherent in the self loop as well. And since all good things come in threes, Id-ego-superego, and, mind-body-spirit.

I have been to the East searching for enlightenment.

this is good stuff!

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 01:42 PM
a reply to: galadofwarthethird

Excellent post GOWT3.
This in particular:

..."...When all you can grasp and understand are the objects presented to you. What hope do you have of actually seeing or understanding anything?..."...

Describes a lot of the interactions we have here at ATS, and elsewhere.

Wondering if there is a correlation between that concept, and the staring into the fire idea?
IE: If we have evolved staring into fires, and somehow looking, or seeing truth within the flames; as we now stare into screens, could that not be a powerful place to spoon-feed us lies? (That which is presented to the masses).

Perhaps the more we stare into screens: the less deep we see and understand?

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 02:59 PM
Are You Scientist Of Deep Thought????

If So... S'plain thyself without the long treads, oops, I mean threads.

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 05:19 PM
a reply to: galadofwarthethird

"The object is a projection. What or who is projecting it, you may know, or you may not know. If you know you wont ask what is projecting it, if you don't then you will wonder and ask what is projecting it.

When all you can grasp and understand are the objects presented to you. What hope do you have of actually seeing or understanding anything?"

You nailed it in 1/5th of the o.p. And the majority of the membership here won't read it because they won't understand it and move on...Thank you!

To ponder: When storms or rain or wind put out the fire in a cave and dancing shadows disappear...has darkness become nothing until one relights a fire and the objects on the walls reappear?

Old Zen philosophy: If one takes a large hammer and smashes a glass marble to glass pieces in the 1,000's? It is STILL a marble...form altered, yet a marble by definition, shattered.
edit on 25-9-2018 by mysterioustranger because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 05:25 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Hey Astro? My reply above does not mean your thread is not accurate, correct or ill-conceived.

It is very well written...yet not for the masses in the general mindset.


posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 06:13 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

and feeling a desire to make a commitment to 'recreate it' again and again. A philosophy is born from these sorts of rash and reckless "agreements" between the self and its object;

Thanks, a good essay.

I would agree and have come to that realization after attending more than one motivational speaker spruiking their expensive wares or "get rich scheme".

These seminars often go for hours and then the hard sell by agents "Sign on the dotted line"

Pentecostal meetings
Property developers
Multi level marketers
and Hitler used the same tactics

I have "Zen'd" its best to leave your pen and wallet at home when attending such.

A word of warning if I may to anyone reading - take care; the hardest anti's become the most ardent Generals once cracked and converted to the cause.

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 06:18 PM
Plato's allegory works great as long you assume that somewhere out there there's a "real" reality. We can cobble together a consensus reality for simple things, which sometimes works and sometimes not, but once you start adding additional dimensionality and introduce the feedback loop you don't know where your reality is actually coming from.
edit on 25-9-2018 by Blue Shift because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 06:33 PM
a reply to: Blue Shift

Infinite recursion is a tough nut to crack for the "simulated universe" crowd.

Its turtles! All the way down, man!

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

posted on Sep, 25 2018 @ 06:56 PM

originally posted by: TEOTWAWKIAIFF
a reply to: Blue Shift

Infinite recursion is a tough nut to crack for the "simulated universe" crowd.
Its turtles! All the way down, man!
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Not only that, but no matter how perfect it is, each cycle introduces variables that eventually add a crazy amount of distortion to the entire scenario. That's Alan Turing for you.

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