January 27th, 2012 • 7:30 PM
γνῶθι σεαυτόν (Know Thyself)

By Stephan Otorhinogologus

“Behold! human beings living in a underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.”

Next imagine, “men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent … They see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave. … And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only see the shadows. … And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them?”

“Suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other side, would they not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow? … To them, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.”

This is the dramatic opening of Plato’s famous “Allegory of the Cave” which is located in Book VII of his Republic. It is in this allegory that we find the consistent plight of all mankind. Yes, even those of us today with our technology and “advanced” civilization are caught far too often, staring at shadows, and speaking of shadows and thinking of shadows. As Plato demonstrates further in the dialogue, this is not a natural state of mankind, but one of childishness, that only a fool would reside in after he has grown into an adult. What any competent historian could further demonstrate, is that this permanent childhood has become a political tool of the so-called ruling class: to keep men in their ignorance by worshiping the senses and to strip away their inherent powers of creativity.

For example, look at this image. What do you see?

Paws of light-blue and light-green? No. All these paws are the same color. Don’t believe me? Try opening this image in a simple computer paint program and test it out for yourself. They are the same color, but your eye and your brain will not let you see them as they are. So … what is happening here?1For More of these color and visual examples see Akiyoshi Kitaoka’s incredible website
 
Or for similar experiments in the realm of your audio domain hear the examples on this page... Demonstrations of Auditory Illusions, by Various and on the website of Psychologist Diana Deutsch, UCSD

We can not perceive as robots would, by simply interpreting information as data. We have a biological apparatus, which is unified in the brain, but you must ask yourself, what is left that I am perceiving these things through? Try to look for it, and it disappears. So what then are perceptions? Could it be that all we sense is a conjecture, a practical assumption to guide us through life’s mysteries?

Plato addressed this in his allegory of the cave, as Nicholas of Cusa developed his form of this in his De Docta Ignorantia. Johannes Kepler, in his discovery of universal gravitation, went a step further and proved that human beings are fundamentally of a higher species, which can perceive qualities of the universe which are of higher species than sense perception. He revealed to all that men are not, and can not be animals groping for the practical. In fact, all the greatest artists and all the greatest scientists of mankind’s past have, in one way or another dealt with this higher sense of self, and strove to prove that humans are not creatures of senses, but of mind.2This is delightfully dealt with in Jason Ross’s series on Riemann, Kepler & Metaphor
 
Riemann II(a): Potential and Metaphor
 
Riemann II(b): Abelian Functions
 
On Metaphor: An Intermezzo

Yet those would-be gods among mankind must rather stifle this potential, and brainwash people in the pathetically opposite view of mankind and truth. This comes to us in the form of tired old sayings of popular opinion which we hear every day: “Mankind is nothing but an animal.” “All I can do is seek pleasure, and avoid pain.” “All I can know is what I see.” And ultimately, “truth does not exist.” The way to uplift ourselves out of the foolish slumber we have been in as a nation and as a people, is to strive for a much higher meaning of what mankind is, beyond these arbitrary rules imposed on us from below, from what should be called, poopular-opinion. To do this do this, mankind must self consciously evolve from this childhood and dump the oligarchical model, with its inherently flawed monetarist system, altogether.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Blind Leading the Blind (1568)

It is with the same purpose today that Lyndon LaRouche developed a new, higher notion of mankind’s self in his most recently published report:The Mystery of Your Time. There he posed that mankind is a unique species with a mind, not an object of sense perceptions. That mankind is a species which can understand the universe beyond the fallacies of sense perception; a species therefore with an undeniable connection to a higher modality of mind in the universe, and is itself universal.

So again, the old maxim inscribed on the temple of ancient Delphi, “to know thyself” must be revolutionized from a concept of “know your place, and act like a slave to the gods,” to Plato’s higher concept that, “to know thyself,” is a recognition that knowledge of the universe is also knowledge of ourselves and that the more mankind discovers about himself, and the “location” of this mind, the more he can gain a real power within and over the universe.

To do this, we must investigate that which can investigate the anomalies generated between the brain and what we think of as our sense organs. This, I know from personal experience, was the intention embedded in the recently published video, The Sense of Self – A Dialogue .

The question now is: how do we, like Kepler and Beethoven, explore those boundaries of the senses and prove afresh this concept to mankind? Who is bold enough to leave the cave of shadows, and bring back the stories and greater wonders to our fellow-prisoners? Sounds like fun? Good? Alright then, watch the video again, and join the dialogue!

Footnotes

1For More of these color and visual examples see Akiyoshi Kitaoka’s incredible website
Or for similar experiments in the realm of your audio domain hear the examples on this page... Demonstrations of Auditory Illusions, by Various and on the website of Psychologist Diana Deutsch, UCSD
2This is delightfully dealt with in Jason Ross’s series on Riemann, Kepler & Metaphor
Riemann II(a): Potential and Metaphor
Riemann II(b): Abelian Functions
On Metaphor: An Intermezzo

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The Basement Project began in 2006 as a core team of individuals tasked with the study of Kepler's New Astronomy, laying the scientific foundations for an expanded study of the LaRouche-Riemann Science of Physical Economics. Now, that team has expanded both in number, and in areas of research, probing various elements and aspects of the Science of Physical Economy, and delivering in depth reports, videos, and writings for the shaping of economic policy.

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