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Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Plato's Chair

Plato was a Greek philosopher who lived somewhere between 428-348BC in Athens. He was taught by Socrates, another philosopher who established a tradition of skepticism founded on the principles of constant change. Nothing is permanent and in fact our senses, things we believe to be eternal can actually deceive us.

For Plato, despite this ever-changing world which would appear to be unreliable, he believed there was more to the story. He argued in fact that there was a "more real world" of Forms or Ideas that existed in their own realm and that what we perceive or conceive is only an abstract facsimile of the perfect example of the given thing, form or idea. So in effect, when we look at or touch a chair, we are only experiencing an imperfect representation of the perfect Form that exists in our minds.
Therefore, real knowledge is gained only by those who can comprehend and understand that there is a true reality that lives behind our everyday experiences in this world. Plato further explains this in his analogy of people who spend their whole lives living in a cave (Allegory of the Cave). All they ever see are the shadows on the walls created by their campfire. This is their perception of reality. In truth, there are real things that make the shadows in the cave but we all must step out into the sunlight to clearly SEE, otherwise we live our lives believing the shadows (perception) are what's real.

People in the cave only see the reflection of a chair on the cave wall, not the chair itself.

Plato's point? Only those with the ability to step into the sunlight should rule... the ideal ruler is a philosopher-king because s/he has the ability to discern the Forms and when such a person comes to power, the citizens of the state will have the opportunity to step out of the cave and see the light.

As 2017 comes to a close, I wonder:
  • What reflections I am seeing on my cave wall? 
  • Have I challenged myself to see past my perceptions - to strive to comprehend the real Forms behind what I think I see?
Despite being bombarded by the shadows - all the negativity we hear, see or read in our culture today - I pray for the wisdom and discipline to step back and to step out into the light.

There is so much we can learn from one another. We have so much work to do to fulfill our life's purpose. I believe God is calling us all to remember who we are and more importantly to remember who HE is as we begin each day.

Going forward, I challenge myself to be better, to do better. I challenge myself to LOVE more, to forgive freely, to be open to change and to resist the temptation to be afraid, to blame, or to rationalize, justify or explain. We are taught in Matthew 5:37 to let our "YES" be yes and our "NO" be no.
I am excited to walk the path God has for me knowing that He has plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11). I will go wherever You send me, Lord. Help me to see past my own reflections and walk into Your Light... to step forward boldly and with joy.
May we all take a moment today to breathe, smile, and look past our own limited cave walls!


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