It seems to be a common trope that we’re all living in a simulation, that there is some programmer that has taken on the role of puppet master manipulating all that we see. Well, the answer to that question is simple.
We are all a part of some grand experiment that whether we know it or not, we volunteered for. That’s right. We signed up for this mass manipulation. As a matter of fact, it was in our nature to do so.
In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, there is a group of prisoners that are all chained to a wall, and that wall is the only thing they can see for the entirety of their lives. Behind them is a wall tall enough for a man to stand behind without his head exposed. The men standing behind that wall are the puppeteers, the artists, and behind them on an elevated platform is a fire that acts as a light source. The puppeteers hold objects above the wall that cast their shadows onto the wall where the prisoners’ eyes are fixed.
To them, those shadows represent reality. The physical world that surrounds them. But these shadows are not accurate representations of reality, they’re just shadows. Still, the prisoners give names to these shadows. A bird, a book, a sword, a man, a woman. Upon giving them names, those shadows become ideas, and those ideas get passed back and forth between the prisoners and they form a collective interpretation of reality.
Because they cannot see what is happening behind them, the prisoners are never able to discover that what they see and even hear are only projections and echoes of true reality. Their reality is the creation of the artist. Artists use light and shadow to teach their audience the rules and doctrines of the reality they’ve created, so in this sense, the fire is the doctrine, and shadows are the medium.
Plato also suggested that fire is the dominant political doctrine of the time. That would mean that the shadows are the tactics of indoctrination.
Now you may ask yourself, how is it that these prisoners can’t tell that the images on the wall aren’t real, but they have lived their entire lives in the cave and don’t know any other world. This is the world they were born into and from their first moment of understanding, they have been taught how they are to interpret that world.
Most men will live their entire lives in that cave, very few will make it out by escaping the chains and climbing the steep incline toward the sunlight; the place where the truth is always exposed. That light, both from the fire as well as the sun represents the truth and as they say, the truth hurts. If you spend your life in darkness, the first time you get exposed to the light, you’re almost blinded.
I relate this to those men that will perform an insane amount of mental gymnastics in order to reject the truth at all costs, especially if they were dragged from the cave against their will. They writhe in pain, twisting and thrashing as they fight their way back into the darkness where everything is familiar and safe, back to the only reality they’ve ever known.
Only those that break their own chains and seek out the light for themselves are the ones who will endure the pain and anguish that comes from having their world taken from them. Those men who emerge from the cave will at first only be able to see things as they once did, as shadows. But as their eyes adjust to the light they begin to see everything for what it is. Slowly, they turn their eyes upward to the celestial glory that hangs overhead until they can finally stare directly into the sun; that universal source of truth and light. Only then can they begin to ask questions and learn to reason about this new truth they’ve discovered.
The man who can stare at the sun and reason is superior to those still trapped in the cave. This new reality that’s revealed to him is a new promise and he wishes for that same promise to fall upon those he left behind. It’s then that he decides to re-enter the cave and rescue those who remain in darkness.
But there is a problem. As he enters the darkness once more, he can no longer see as his eyes have already become accustomed to the light. The prisoners, seeing him blinded upon his return will assume that the light is harmful and resist his efforts to bring them back with him. They may even try to kill him.
This act of self-preservation is what we are seeing today in those that are still clinging to the reality given to them by the puppet masters. Any information that goes against the puppeteer’s narrative is deemed harmful and dangerous by those who are too afraid to accept it.
Look around you. You see it everywhere. Those in power have used their fire and shadows to paint a false reality for those still chained to the wall. Anyone that dares to escape and discover the truth for themselves becomes free, but that freedom comes with anger. It comes with anger and pain because they had to accept that they have been complicit in their own imprisonment.
For many of those that remain in the cave, that pain is too much for them to bear so they choose to remain in the darkness. We call this cognitive dissonance, but in reality, it’s a survival instinct.
So how can we who have broken the chains rescue those that choose darkness over light? We have to become the artist. We must take away the power from those men behind the wall and begin to dismantle the wall they hid behind. We must reveal the light in small doses as to not overwhelm those that are still sensitive to the light.
Only when we do this, can we draw more from the cave. When we control the flame, the doctrine, and take away the shadows, we can finally bring others into the light and allow them time to finally gain the courage to look upward to the sun.