Plato’s Cave and the Bicameral Brain by Jim Danaher

In history, philosophy on July 23, 2013 at 18:20

From: Plato’s Cave and the Bicameral Brain by Jim Danaher, The Philosopher,

What Plato expressed so long ago with his allegory of the cave was not, as he imagined, about another world, but rather about the way we desire to think about our human experience. Not only do we desire to know the forms so we might organize our understanding correctly, but we want them to be the kind of clear and distinct ideas we find in geometry.

In the modern period, Descartes convinced us that such a Platonic ambition was the way to solve all of our problems and consequently the modern mind came to associate the analytic thinking of the left-brain as synonymous with reason itself.

Consequently, no contradictory, ambiguous, or vague ideas could claim to be true. With such thinking, there were no mysteries, only puzzles that in time we would solve through a single mode of right thinking. Modern science told us that they had discovered a singular right way of thinking that if followed would eventually bring us to a complete understanding of the world and our place within it.

What we now understand much better than both Plato and Descartes is that we are hard-wired to reason in two very different and distinct ways: we can think analytically in order to get clear and distinct ideas and thereby eliminate all ambiguity and vagueness, or we can leave our experience whole and bear the paradoxes and contradictions that are so much a part of that actual experience. Plato might have imagined these as two different worlds but we now have the benefit of another way to interpret them – not as two universes that never interact but two distinct ways to think about the same world.

Read the essay

Reposted according to copyright notice from: The Philosopher


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: