Plato's Allegory of the Cave

This topic contains 51 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  Megan 5 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #4176

    So after reading through @prufrock5150‘s fascinating thread about Descartes it made something click for me.

    Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

    Plato realizes that the general run of humankind can think, and speak, etc., without (so far as they acknowledge) any awareness of his realm of Forms.
    The allegory of the cave is supposed to explain this.
    In the allegory, Plato likens people untutored in the Theory of Forms to prisoners chained in a cave, unable to turn their heads. All they can see is the wall of the cave. Behind them burns a fire. Between the fire and the prisoners there is a parapet, along which puppeteers can walk. The puppeteers, who are behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave. The prisoners are unable to see these puppets, the real objects, that pass behind them. What the prisoners see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they do not see.

    So what does this mean? Are we the prisoners? Are DLB/CS the puppeteers? Or are they merely the shadows and ODSM are the puppeteers? Is this whole experience, the game, all of it just a cave/prison of our own design?

    Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is what most people believe to be the first movie theater and immersive theatre many people look at as being the future of entertainment. So it would make sense that perhaps ODSM is going back to the roots of theatrics.

    Everyone should take a read of this site for detailed descriptions of The Allegory of the Cave.

  • #4177
     Andrew Kasch 

    This is fascinating stuff!
    And makes perfect sense in this world the OSDM is spinning for us.

  • #4181

    This bit right here:

    Plato’s point: the general terms of our language are not “names” of the physical objects that we can see. They are actually names of things that we cannot see, things that we can only grasp with the mind.
    When the prisoners are released, they can turn their heads and see the real objects. Then they realize their error. What can we do that is analogous to turning our heads and seeing the causes of the shadows? We can come to grasp the Forms with our minds.
    Plato’s aim in the Republic is to describe what is necessary for us to achieve this reflective understanding. But even without it, it remains true that our very ability to think and to speak depends on the Forms. For the terms of the language we use get their meaning by “naming” the Forms that the objects we perceive participate in.
    The prisoners may learn what a book is by their experience with shadows of books. But they would be mistaken if they thought that the word “book” refers to something that any of them has ever seen.
    Likewise, we may acquire concepts by our perceptual experience of physical objects. But we would be mistaken if we thought that the concepts that we grasp were on the same level as the things we perceive.

    Perception is reality… but is it actually reality? Seems to be the very essence of Tension.

  • #4182
     Lawrence Meyers 

    Me like!

  • #4183

    Along with Shadows on the walls there are echoes in the cave.

    Is that next? Exhoes of sounds that aren’t exactly what we think they sound like?

  • #4184

    Just thinking on this, what would be the means to snuffing out the flames that give the puppeteers their power? Even the playing field.

  • #4186

    If we stamp out the flames then…

    Oh Holy shit.


    The key. LOOK!

    The Cave

    That sure as shit looks like a key behind a flame and an eye viewing whatever shadow it’s making.

    Put out the fire and you see the key.

    I’m not high but my mind just fucking WRINKLED.

  • #4188

    Wouldn’t the key need to be in front?

  • #4189

    @thebuz I like this line of thinking. The eye is viewing its own shadow, of course. Just as some people have been confronted by their own shadows on the boards. To @hazelverse‘s point, the eye in the picture wouldn’t be able to see the key. Maybe there’s something there about being focused on the shadows and not being able to see the key?

  • #4190
     Taylor Winters 

    I think you’re definitely onto something, @thebuz! We’re distracted by shadows on the wall while the real key (truth) is just behind the flame casting the shadows. Taking Plato’s allegory, the puppeteers are manipulating the flame to cast those shadows. So we need to look past the OSDM to find the truth.

    Damn man, seriously nice work!

  • #4191
     Meghan Mayhem 

    The logo….holy shit.

    Perspective is an important thing.


  • #4192

    @thebuz Right on, man. The phoenix will rise from the flames and that’s the key.

  • #4193

    Good call on the key being behind the fire. WE are the shadows.

    Self fucking reflection. Or in this case our own dancing shadows in the fire light.

    My fucking brain.

  • #4194
     Lawrence Meyers 

    It’s such a sad story, but it sounds just like a lie.

  • #4195

    I just keep thinking back to the book release event. When the phoenix rises… the eye has wings in front of fire concealing a key. Are the watchers the phoenix?

    My brain hurts too.

  • #4196

    Dumb question. Is the key behind the flames or in the flames?

    And now that I’ve been staring at it for a few minutes. Are the flames part of the key?

  • #4197

    It’s hard to tell really, @kevin

    For sure though dousing the flames would reveal the key entirely.

  • #4198

    Holy Shit @thebuz! That is some great insight. That’s some of the best theorizing I’ve heard from our forums in a while. Good shit bro!!

  • #4199

    @kingkill33 Thanks dude! I miss these days!

  • #4200

    I’m down a rabbit hole now. Since there does seem to be quite a bit of Egyptian symbols associated with Lust I decided to cross reference Plato and Egypt.

    It looks like Plato studied in Egypt for 13 years according to this:

    And then there’s this bit:

    The Egyptians regarded the Sun as the symbol of the Creator because it was the source of light and life. [2] They observed that whereas the Sun is the source of light, the Moon merely reflects light. This is why the Bible criticizes Mesopotamian moon worship and why Abraham’s father was regarded as an idol-worshipper (Joshua 24:2) since he maintained households in Ur and Haran, cities dedicated to the moon god Sin.

    Note the binary distinction between the source of light (Sun) and the reflection of light (Moon). This observation is the basis for Plato’s famous Allegory of the Cave. Those in the cave are able to see only passing shadows, not the true objects that cast those shadows. Yet they believe that the shadows are the real objects. They continue to do so until they turn toward the cave’s opening and walk out of the cave.

  • #4201
     Bryan Bishop 

    Fantastic stuff, @thebuz. Thanks for sharing this!!

  • #4202
     Brian E 

    Fantastic job @thebuz this really makes me sit and think, as to what this all means, going to do some more research on this myself.

    After examining the logo, I think the logo is a 3d representation & it’s possible we are seeing it from their perspective not our own, as we are the prisoners (maybe the key in this representation). The all seeing eye is what’s controlling us.

    What’s interesting is @clint-sears is the KEYMASTER and it’s written in blue across his posts. I wonder if other profiles have labels of some sort like that.

  • #4203
     Tom Hite 

    The world of forms; the world of ideals: this binary has haunted us for thousands of years (well, forever, really, just not phrased quite as such).

    Maybe this is a duality we must endure in order to figure out how to break it, though – perhaps the binary can be resolved.

    Of which domain do we have the most control? Our bodies or our intentions? Do we really know what we want, after all? What makes us attracted to things, to people, to ideas – is it really *we* who are attracted, or are we being deluded by the forces pulling our strings?

    Once you exit the cave, you will be blinded by the sun. But it, too, is a fire of sorts, and the shadows it casts are no more real. Go back into the cave and explain this to those still in it, and they will call you a madman… yet what messages are being sent to us from beyond the cave *we’re* in?

    I’m leaving a Google Drive of stuff. I don’t remember how much of it I made and how much I found, but it’s there for the perusal of those interested. There’s a vintage Powerpoint from 2006, a handout from a Sophomore English class, and a student film I ripped from somewhere online (about which I wish I had more information)…

    Somewhere beyond all time-bound sources, there exists the light by which we might truly see…

  • #4205
     Brian E 

    Credit goes to @thebuz for this. Here’s a more detailed explanation of the Plato’s Cave Concept, broken down further in 1980’s style animation and spells everything out in detail, as well as what the meaning behind it is.

    Plato’s Cave Detailed Explanation

  • #4206
     Lawrence Meyers 

    Buz and Tom, your exceptional posts struck me with inspiration!

    In reading over the Cave links, I am struck by Plato’s Theory of “Forms”.

    I urge you to read this, but have pulled the bullet points out below:

    “A form is an abstract property or quality. Take any property of an object; separate it from that object and consider it by itself, and you are contemplating a form…The forms are transcendent. This means that they do not exist in space and time…The forms are also pure. This means that they are pure properties separated from all other properties…he forms are the archetypes or perfect models for all of the properties that are present in material objects….Thus it is the forms that are ultimately real. Material objects are images or copies of these more real objects….In virtue of the fact that all objects in this world are copies of the forms, the forms are the causes of all that exists in this world. In general, whenever you want to explain why something is the way that it is, you point to some properties that the object has…The forms are also systematically interconnected.”

    What do we have in the logo to the right:

    Reflection, desire, power, sex, love, control, lies.

    These are all Forms.

    Next, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, and maybe someone else did (apologies if so):

    There’s our flying eyeball.
    Read further, and maybe you’ll start to get as worried as I am:

    “According to Von Dutch, the flying eyeball originated with the Macedonian and Egyptian cultures about 5000 years ago. It was a symbol meaning “the eye in the sky knows all and sees all.”

    As in, OSDM, or their betters?


    “Dutch got a hold of this symbol and modified it into the flyin’ eyeball we know of today. His belief of reincarnation is tied into the logo that all past lives are watching what you do in the present.”

    PAST LIVES? As in, those who “died” in the OOA and have new incarnations aka Shadows?

  • #4215
     Lukas L 

    “The Matrix” was based on this philosophy as well as a few others. Neo was shown the shadows were a lie when he was pulled out of the matrix. Kniwing this information, when ever he was in the matrix he was trained to be able to manipulate its rules to have a desired outcome while the unknowing needed to follow the rules or die. I guess we need to follow the white rabbit when it presents itself. But even if we get the key behind the flame and unlock reality. How can we be so sure that the reality outside of the cave isn’t just the games “level 2.”

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  Lukas L.
  • #4231
     Justin Tyme 

    Yes. I saw the von dutch thing come up with reverse image search but it seemed a little far fetched. Until now.

    I noticed that Sabrina Kern sure has hung with DLB a ton since ascension (having images on social media at various plays, hsngouts, etc.).

    Could Sabrina and all of the original characters be shadow puppets projected by the osdm and somehow she managed to transcend the shadows and become real? Darren is playing a fatherly figure much like gippeto in the pinniochio story.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  Justin Tyme.
  • #4233
     Justin Tyme 

    Also, if she had found a way to transcend and make the storyline real (I think, therefore I am) – – could that explain her breaking? Her ascension if you will?
    “I’ve got no strings
    So I have fun
    I’m not tied up to anyone
    They’ve got strings
    But you can see
    There are no strings on me”

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  Justin Tyme.
  • #4236

    Thanks for that video @mistere! The end is particularly relevant to this whole experience.

    “The enlightened who ascended must also descend to help the prisoners below.”

    Good life lesson in general.

  • #4238

    This is all very cool, especially the part about the key behind the flames…the only thing I’m still hesitant about is the “shadows”, since that was something brought up on the boards and not by the creators. There are definitely doubles/doppelgangers on the forums, but just by officially labeling them “shadows” we are taking a big leap that might not be the right path? Personally, I’m trying to keep my mind open to everything and not have tunnel vision…. But then again, it’s all pretty confusing/convoluted and I’m not really making many connections myself between any of this… So I guess anything is better than nothing!

  • #4239

    @sfire8 Honestly it’s not Shadow people in a literal sense but in that everything we are being shown is not real. It’s a shadow of it’s real self. And we as prisoners are not able to see the source until we can ascend out the staircase to the outside world, or enlightenment.

    This was such a huge part of The Tension Experience and looks to be as well part of Lust.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they jumped on the boards theory of Shadow people.

  • #4240

    @thebuz, did they (creators) jump on the shadow people theory? Honestly, I’m getting a little confused by all of this, so maybe I missed that?

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  Sage.
  • #4242

    One more interpretation of the logo for the theory pile. People have mentioned dousing the flames to get at the key, but what if it’s more literal and the flames are the key? There have been mentions of the phoenix where the flames that burn it to ash are the key to its own rebirth. I don’t really know how the eye plays into this, except that it’s looking away from the key/fire.

    @sfire8 @thebuz Continuing on from your discussion a bit, much of the second round of Ascension was concerned with subjective reality (strong ties to the Allegory of the Cave there). What you saw the first time wasn’t necessarily the truth, but what they wanted you to see. For those that returned to the OOA, they were granted some enlightenment by being able to see behind the curtain, so to speak.

    ETA: Actually, they literally pull back a curtain to show you truth of the wax room.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  Kevin.
  • #4243
     Tom Hite 

    The attached link is surely all over the map, but the throughline of its topic is very worthy of consideration in light of this discussion: Simulacrum.

    The word dates back to the 16th century, and first referred to statues of the gods – the frozen ideal of forms made manifest through stone.

    Baudrillard used the term in its postmodern sense in the 1960s and ’70s to describe the situation of a copy that is so faithful to its original that there is no material difference between the two (check out his bibliography and note the titles of his works; it’s rather haunting).

    This dovetails into some central questions with which we must wrestle: does every copy have an original? Does “invention” even exist anymore? Can we truly create something new?

    Without digressing too much, I’d suggest taking a look at the information linked below…

  • #4245

    @sfire8 Yes as they started creating the fake accounts. Granted the creators have not called them Shadows per say, but they all started coming about after the theory was posted.

    Wouldn’t be the first time they’ve adopted one of our theories (or we got something right.)

  • #4248

    @prufrock5150 I am both confused and amazed by the fact you just have power points at the ready. I haven’t seen a power point since 2006 and in the last 24 hours I’ve seen two and both from you!

    And this is fascinating. WE’VE OPENED THE FLOOD GATES!

  • #4249

    @thebuz, okay, I see what you mean. So now they might start using “shadow” theories as part of the Lust story now too …got it.

  • #4250

    @kevin, “the fire is the key”. I REALLY like this!!!

  • #4251

    Now can we tie all of this into “A Theory of Specular Surface Geometry”??

  • #4254
     Kyle Bown 

    Looking at the logo, is it just me or is the eye looking slightly up, not straight forward?

    As to the question of the key being in or behind the fire, I’m not sure. There is annoying little clues in the logo itself to that point.

    Also, it is possible the key/fire are smaller and, actually, in front of the eye and the eye is looking up, ever so slightly, at them. If you rotated the whole thing 90 degrees it could look quite different.

  • #4258

    @bruinbown The eye is looking at a slight 45 degree angle. Which makes sense in terms of the cave being slightly above the prisoners eyeline.

    It’s possible the fire is in front, but it seems more likely for the fire to be behind the eye especially in regards to the Allegory of the Cave.

  • #4260
     Andrew Kasch 

    I think these theories are hitting the proverbial bullseye.

    I’ve also been thinking a lot about Jungian psychology lately. The “shadow” plays a huge part in Jung’s theories about personality and is something that exists outside the collective unconscious.

    Food for thought:

    Personally, I think the OSDM is incorporating several forms of thought – both psychologically and philosophically – into how they operate.

  • #4261
     Justin Tyme 

    Joseph Campbell speaks of the shadow in a hero has a thousand faces.

    The Shadow:

    At first thought, you might instinctively peg the term Shadow on the villain of a dark-toned story. While this could be accurate, it leaves out many of the other aspects of this archetype. The Shadow can also be the dark side of the hero, the unexpressed, hidden or suppressed side of their nature. Another aspect of the Shadow can be the light or good side of the villain that the protagonists cannot initially see or that the villain tries to hide. Other Shadows may be people who agree with your protagonist’s goals, but disagree with the way they should be achieved. In any of these situations, the Shadow should be a worthy opponent who brings out the best in the hero.
    The Shadow character is normally filled with a huge amount of repressed energy and emotion, aspects of the protagonist that have festered from lack of expression. It can be an outside force, or a reflection of part of your protagonist’s character. Doubts that cripple the protagonist at the critical moment, or frighten them out of taking crucial steps are the footprints of the
    protagonist’s Shadow.

    Villains’ own Shadows can humanise them and prevent them from being cardboard characters. Let some of their suppressed good natures out, even if only for a moment, to give your protagonists that crucial moment of doubt. Likewise Shadows can humanise and soften an anti-hero protagonist. And to add another element, Shadows are often shapeshifters, which truly tests your hero.

    Shadows can be dealt with in several ways. External ones, such as Villains, can be defeated, exposed or unempowered. Internal ones can be faced and dealt with to reduce their impact. Others can be brought over and transformed, as with Georgette Heyer’s villain Duke of Andover in The Black Moth who becomes the hero Duke of Avon in Duke of Avon in These Old Shades.

    A more direct change can be found in Justine Davis’s Captain Califa Claxton, Shadow and henchman Villain in the futuristic Lord of the Storm, later to become the heroine of The SkyPirate.

  • #4266
     Lawrence Meyers 

    Additional observations regarding FIRE.

    From the book party: “The fire burns away not what we are, but what we are not”.

    Purgatory is where the sins of the dead are placed in temporary punishment via a cleansing and purifying fire, after which they ascend to Heaven. (hence, the Key is behind the flame. Which one must pass through in order to reach enlightenment).

    A biologist recently told me that fires are good. She literally said they cause the land to be reborn.

    Jung said, “On the one hand, emotion is the alchemical fire whose warmth brings everything into existence and whose heat burns all superfluities to ashes. But on the other hand, emotion is the moment when steel meets flint and a spark is struck forth, for emotion is the chief source of consciousness. There is no change from darkness to light or from inertia to movement without emotion” [Memories, Dreams, Reflections]

    EMOTION. FEELING. It’s okay to let yourself feel. Our culture teaches to suppress emotion. Many of us sure didn’t in TENSION. Don’t let LUST hold you back, either.

    And I suggest we not lose the forest for the trees — The Collective brilliantly and co-operatively solving all these puzzles and symbols are all in service of the larger point:

    Seek the Truth. Your Truth. Burn through the OOA, the OSDM, TENSION, LUST, Shadows, duplicitous actors, writers and directors…and stay on that unrelenting path to finding what is real and meaningful to YOU, and guides YOU to your enlightenment.

    I’ll be over here sinning.

  • #4268
     Brad Ruwe 

    @larry “I’ll be over here sinning: The Lust Experience Story”

  • #4269

    That’s @larry‘s autobiography.


  • #4302
     Lawrence Meyers 

    Stop making fun of my OkCupid profile

  • #4356

    I just had a thought that is definitely not shadow in the cave related, but more nature of shadows and fire related – and is actually just a bunch of questions to maybe spark something in someone that’s thought about this more than I.

    Fire only burns as long as there’s fuel, and shadows need light to exist. What happens when the fire burns itself out? Without the light from the fire, do the shadows disappear, or would everything become shadow?

    Looking at the logo point that was brought up earlier.. if they key is behind the fire, and the fire is between the view and the key: Once the fire burns out, the key is accessible, but we’re in complete darkness.

    We were told that Lust was going to be darker than Tension, what if that’s not in tone, but meant to be taken literally? Like the light that was allowing us to see what’s going on is being taken away?

    Sorry if this has been brought up already. Board is moving so quickly today and I haven’t had a chance to keep up, just reading batches at a time.

    • #4359

      @addisonborn I think that it is cave related… if we take the allegory quite literally.

      Check this out.

      If the fire goes out then the diffused sunlight would be the thing we could see.

      Perhaps this is a metaphor for the key? It’s supposed to be what the prisoners are able to see to lead them out of the cave.

      Just my thoughts on it.

  • #4363
     Lawrence Meyers 

    Oh, @thebuz, what if…what if…OSDM is ALSO chained up along with rest of us…?

    Which I think they may be….

  • #4365

    Wait we’re chained up?

    ….I need to read this thread…

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