Initially I had an idea for a blog entitled “Escaping Plato’s Cave” as analogous to the difficulty of, or resilience to, suspending culturally inherited perspectives in favor of an uncommon or unorthodox perspective.
However, perhaps because of an uncommon perspective, I was somehow motivated to examine the concept from a more “slavish” perspective rather than a persuasive one as per Plato’s dialog.
Being chained in the cave so as to be constrained to only seeing the shadows, the mere suggestion that there is an alternate reality might seem an un-provoked affront to the core values of a slave’s being; it is obvious what is real from what is observed and reaffirmed daily by all within the slave community.
If an alternate reality were being proposed by a former slave which had subsequently freed herself and thus experienced some reality outside of the cave, it may seem even more heretical than a foreign voice challenging the status quo.
In as much as it is even possible for a slave to free herself or for another voice or shred of evidence to arise and cast a “shadow” of doubt as to the veracity of Truth of reality within slave culture, it creates an inconvenient Truth which must somehow be muted if the hegemony of reality is to be preserved.
If such “embarrassing” evidences were analogous to fuel for a “little train that could” rise out of the din of mediocrity, but the gravity of social hegemony (power) was greater than the energy of Truth, then merely conforming to social inertia would serve to mute alternative voices.
Thus, escaping Plato (the gauntlet of reason thrown at the feet of ignorance) is achieved through a common voice which preserves and insulates hegemony through strength in numbers as per the Emperor’s Clothes.
In sum, it is assuaging to the ego (and safer) to passively support, rather than actively challenge, common belief. By preserving an iron fist (of hegemony) within a velvet glove (of political correctness), we effectively escape Plato’s gauntlet of reason.