Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mental manipulation

I have picked up Recapture the Wonder, Ravi Zacharias, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, TN, 2003 from my library to reread.

And I have been reminded of something I have a lot of difficulty wrapping my mind around.

On page 18, he writes:

"The world of fantasy and of the fantastic was captured in that word. But this is where it becomes very intriguing. In his Republic, Plato relates a conversation betwen his brother Glaucon and Socrates.

"Socrates is explaining to Glaucon that human understanding of ultimate reality is more like seeing the shadows than it is grasping the substance.

"To illustrate his point he imagines a cave in which he sees human beings, chained from childhood, facing a wall with their backs to the opening of the cave. The light coming into the cave from the outside casts shadows of all that is happening on the outside onto the walls of the cave.

"There is no way, says Socrates, that anyone looking at the wall would be able to distinguish what is real from what is not. They would only know the shadows."

I have been a student of psychology for over 30 years. I have never been able to really wrap my mind around this concept. In a required class for a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, we again visited this story.

I came close to failing an exam because I was not able to adequately indicate, replicate the substance on the exam.

Perhaps this is one of those enigmas that I am doomed to spend eternity not being able to figure out.

I never said I was smarter than the average bear, or fifth grader, or even the equipment I am working with.

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