Picture us sitting next to each other in a gigantic, dark cave. It’s damp and smelly and you can tell peripherally that all of humanity is in there too. You can’t see them directly since our necks are chained in place. We can barely move our heads. The only thing we see with 100% clarity is the wall in front of us, and there’s a fire behind us too, which projects shadows that dance on the wall. Some unknown powers are providing the fire, puppets and props. The cave’s exit/entrance is a bright little blip, but only if you really strain your eyes. You can’t see me directly, but due to some screw-up in the design of the chains (or is it purposeful?), we are able to hold hands.
Plato is trapped in the Classical Athens section of the cave, next to his student Aristotle. Regarding the notion of truth, Aristotle says, “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.” The Sophists collectively roll their eyes. Plato says, “You should not honor men more than truth.” Aquinas, who’s in the neighborhood, smiles and says, “A judgment is said to be true when it conforms to the external reality.”
You and I are in the Florida section of the cave. On the cave wall we see palm trees and beautiful beaches and tall condominiums and a couple of birds wading through a cosmic stretch of swamp. Nightclubs are throbbing. Churches are throbbing. A man is fishing off the edge of a levee and he’s holding a can of beer in his hand.
(Published in the Miami Rail, Spring 2017)