Wednesday, September 28, 2011
More on "The Cave"
I've already shared this song and some of my thoughts on it before. I can also play it better now that I've been playing it longer than 3 days (like when I recorded my version of it), so I ought to re-record it. But anyway, I've added something to my understanding of it through talking about Plato in that there Ethics class I'm taking ("If there is no god, all is permitted").
I think the song is meant to be, or is at least often taken, as a way of describing hiding away as a reaction to life kicking your ass. It's about wanting to give up and hide away from life, and the need to somehow get out of the Cave to become strong and actually LIVE. And it adds the sentiment that we don't necessarily have to do this all on our own...the people we love can't PULL us out of the Cave, but they can hold our hands or offer a shoulder to lean on as we stumble out.
In the other sense of the Cave I'm now considering...when we're in that state of pain and self-delusion we CAN'T see the forms - not the Platonic ones, but "forms" in the sense of REALITY. Reality includes the world and people around us, what happens to us, what's best for us, what we really want, who we really are, and the more philosophical stuff too in terms of what we believe and how we see the world. So self-delusion can come about in response to depression and anxiety and self-hatred or disillusionment with the world - all things that can send us down into that Cave. It can manifest as feeling that we're worthless, hideous, whatever...that everyone is out to get us...that there's no hope and nothing good will ever happen to us...that we're powerless to improve our lives or the lives of the people we love...that we will suffer and be stuck in the same rut all our lives...all that good stuff. And seeing the world through that lens makes us turn the delusions about ourselves into reality; we tend to become the version of ourselves that we see, even when it's a deluded and fucked-up vision of ourselves.
So to see the world and be ourselves again, we have to get strong and get out of that Cave – once again, sometimes with help from others, if we're stuck in far enough and if we have people around us who know it and care enough to help. We have to get out and get our heads on a little straighter in order to see truth again, both “objective” (what we SEE as objective, that is...whether there IS objective truth is another story) as well as our own subjective “truth” such as how we generally see the world and ourselves, regardless of how others see it/us.
I'm not de-legitimizing what we see when we're in the cave as FALSE, that they're just silly lies we tell ourselves and delusions that we should just get over. It's true to us in the moment, which is itself true...as someone who thinks it's very important to live in the moment and give it its due, I can accept that what we feel so intimately, even when we're fucked up and seeing things in a wonky way, IS basically true, even if it's only true TO US for a short time. But that truth doesn't reflect who we usually are and what we see and believe when we're in control and strong. We can only really be ourselves and live in our real world when we escape the Cave. But we kind of have to live in there from time to time...especially when our world and we ourselves make life really fucking hard for us, purposefully or inadvertantly.
So there's some brainfood for ya. Musical brainfood, even.