T’other day we had Plato on music remixing … now the Liverpool Daily Post tells us he knew about transfer talks too (for those of you in North America who don’t follow soccer across the pond, we’d call them ‘trade negotiations’):
THE philosopher Plato – as opposed to some other Plato you might know – told a tale about a group of prisoners in a cave who were chained up so that they could only ever see a blank wall.
On that wall they observed shadows of what was going on behind them, and in essence those shadows became their reality.
Now his opinions on the transfer system in the ancient Greek football league are unknown, but still the allegory about the cave wall and the prisoners holds up in the modern game.
You’ve probably gathered already that the fans are the prisoners, while the action at the mouth of the cave – that which they can never directly observe – is what goes on in reality between football clubs, players and their agents. The cave wall is the press releases and the interviews emanating from those sources, and from which the supporters try to piece together what’s really going on.
… it goes on to gloss it a bit further. I only bring it up because I’m thinking I might have to start monitoring references to ‘the Cave’ and sharing them here. Plato’s cave seems to have become an all-purpose metaphor of late. E.g., from the Maui News:
After languishing for weeks in the long, weird penumbra of Michael Jackson’s exit, boomers seemed relieved to back be in the news again, if only in retrospect. Like Plato, we watched our shadows cross the collective cave wall.
There we were: marching for civil rights in Washington; screaming for The Beatles at Shea Stadium; trekking through the mud of Vietnam; watching astronauts bounce gingerly across the moon.
… and a puzzling conclusion to a fashion column in the New York Times:
Véronique Nichanian of Hermès also showed some lovely, civilized clothes: slim linen trousers in pond shades of green and brown, as well as lush leathers and fine casual knits. But the setting for this low-key luxury was a vast, airless ancient room made more stifling by a packed earthen floor laid for the show — and probably at some expense. To the audience fanning itself madly in the gloom, it was not quite the joy of Plato’s cave.
… and from an editorial in the Kansas City Star on the Sotomayor confirmation hearings:
But we suffer from a collective amnesia as best described by Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” in “The Republic.” Briefly, we are chained to the wall and we think the shadows are reality. When we are unchained and face the light of reality, it is too painful. If we would just take time for our eyes to adjust, we would see the truth, not just the shadows of truth.