Plato’s Cave: an Allegory to Uncommon Sense

The prisoners which were hypothetically chained to the wall in Plato’s cave and were constrained to observe only the shadows cast by the real objects are analogous of common-sense  making wherein empirical sensory stimulation and coloquial knowledge becomes the primary basis of knowledge and meaning.

A prisoner or prisoners which are released from their constraints and able to move about freely thereby observing a more complex structure of connectivity and meaning with respect to the shadows and objects is analogous to uncommon-sense making.

The disparity between a common sense orientation and an uncommon one is exemplified by a prisoner which escapes the cave only to find a much more complex reality than that of the contemporary slaves still bound within the cave.

Upon returning to the prisoners in the cave, the now more enlightened one must surly seem insane to speak of things which are unfamiliar and seem to make no sense, particularly to the contemporary slaves which can plainly see the simple truth right before their eyes.

In the most primal and simplistic social arrangements a common-sense orientation to sense making is essential. As society and technology becomes increasingly complex, a common-sense orientation to sense making becomes archaic and obsolete whereas an uncommon-sense approach is essential. Hence our title: Uncommon Sense.






Common vs Uncommon Sense

In order to apprehend the essence of Uncommon Sense: A Theory of Human Purpose, as well as this Blog, it is necessary to have some basic concept of what the first part in our title is in reference to.

We might first begin with a dictionary definition of common sense:

“good sense and sound judgment in practical matters.”

Immediately we are confronted with the subjective and significant concept of “good” or “goodness,” Which if we consult our dictionary once again we are given:

“to be desired or approved of.”

A search of “sound” merely gives us yet another species of “goodness.”

A search of “practical” gives us:

“of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas.”

Firstly let us consider that it must not be “common” practice to apprehend meaning on an individual basis apart from socially constructed means of organizing and disseminating knowledge or information such as language, symbolism, Dictionaries, or Blogs, since that is precisely what we are engaging herewith – an organized system of communication (who is doing otherwise and how?).

“good sense and sound judgment in practical matters,” may be most efficacious in a primitive tribal setting where it makes “good sense” to go along with whatever rituals and practices sustain a particular tribe according to any given context, i.e., if a particular tribe has learned over time that a certain hunting ground under particular circumstances is most optimal in the sustenance of the tribe, then there evolves a species of “goodness” which is most efficacious to that particular tribe. And if, upon success of the hunt, the tribe decides to celebrate by dancing in a particular direction around a campfire, that too (according to the subjective dictates of the tribal hierarchy) becomes yet another species of “goodness” within that particular tribe.

Thus “common Sense” relates more to insular and primordial social structures and I would argue, is the basis of all information and knowledge. However in a much more complex society of high technology and plurality, “common sense” is outmoded and nearly useless as a means of sense-making.

We used to “know” what “Goodness” consisted of (particularly within the lower classes) thanks to the generous and magnanimous “authority” of the higher classes. Therefore we were less in need of alternate organizational means of communication and knowledge such as books, dictionaries, and Blogs.

In a complex and technological world, what may have in the past been construed as “good” and or “practical” as well as the definition/s thereof, have become the domain of higher and more complex modes of cognation than our ancestors were privy to. What now is required, is a much more sophisticated and much less taken-for-granted (common) approach towards sense-making, an approach which I refer to as, Uncommon Sense.












Horses to Water

It has been suggested that one may lead a horse to water but one cannot coerce the same into drinking thereof.

This blog is based upon my latest (published) project by similar title: “Uncommon Sense: A Theory of Human Purpose.”

What do Horses and Water have to do with uncommon sense you may ask. Well if we assume that water is somehow significant to horses, than I’m suggesting that “Uncommon Sense: A Theory of Human Purpose,” is likewise significant to Humans.

Although an analogy only goes so far toward making sense, I shall attempt to continue here as far as it seems reasonalby sensible.

Firstly, (as in the book) I consider conditional words such as “if” to be of pivotal significance in the discovery of significances (or “truths”) if you will.

For instance, water may not be of any significance to a dead or dying horse. Therefore we cannot assume that under any particular set of circumstances that water is in fact significant to a Horse.

[At this juncture it seems likely that a significant number of readers may already have lost interest in this process of sense-making. In the book I refer to such an orientation as “common” as opposed to “uncommon sense-making.” If a horse or horses have ever actually gotten sick or died for the lack of water, yet water was provided in abundance, the analogy continues to hold water (if you will). However there is a marked difference between water and words. At this juncture I can only attempt to persuade any remaining “common-sense-makers” to “hold your horses” and at least attempt to hold out for just a drop of the deluge of uncommon-sense-making “significances” I have attempted to elucidate within the book as well as this blog]

…So, if we assume that water is fundamental to the health and life of any given horse, then I am likewise proposing that knowledge and information is fundamental to our ultimate purpose as Humans. But only if our ultimate purpose is significant.

If our ultimate purpose is of significance (which I argue it is) then purpose is the driver of all other motives (significances).

If we were to assume that a horse’s ultimate “motive” were to survive and reproduce (in which our analogy breaks down a bit in a distinction between motive and instinct), and said horse was capable of drinking and in a state of dehydration, it seems logical to assume that water would be highly significant to said horse.

As alluded to above there is a significant distinction between words and water. Water is highly significant to even a moderately dehydrated Human, however I would argue that Words are of much greater significance since words have become crucial in knowing where to find, how to store, purify, distribute, share, and trade value for, water.

I submit at this juncture that more humans have suffered and perished for the lack of knowledge than the lack of water in pursuit of purpose.

Ironically (particularly in this meridian of time), Humanity is drowning in words and rhetoric; it is more practicable and undemanding to the survival of the self to merely go along with whatever is rhetorically presented (en mass) as significant, regardless of “truth/s.”

Rather than a mere trough of water from which to drink for total instant gratification, we are consistantly presented with innumerable “troughs” sloping over with rhetoric in an attempt to persuade us that particular “significances” are of greater exigency than others.

Although in the book and Blog I support the idea that “truth” is relative to the observer, I also suggest that “gravities” of truth can and do exist between communicants. Just as with any rhetoric, Uncommon Sense: A Theory of Human Purpose exists to persuade the reader (symbolically) that particular significances are “truer” than others in our quest for Human purpose.

The jury is still out however as to what is actually significant in the pursuit of purpose in terms of both the book and the Blog (although I attempt to go to great lengths to suggest such). The main function of both book & Blog is to create a sort of dialogic “operating system” through which to analyze purpose, motive, and gravities of truth in pursuit of Human purpose.

Ironically it seems much easier to lead a horse to water and pursued it to drink – even though not particularly parched or in dire need – than to persuade Humans (which have been significantly dumbed-down through rhetoric), to pursue knowledge and information unassociated with gratuitous and superficial entertainments, i.e., “bread and circus,” even though the consequences – both concurrently and historically – have been and are much more dire than those of horses.