Time to get right back out of Plato’s Cave when it comes to #Brexit…

As some of you know, I was not in favour of Brexit. I still wish it hadn’t happened. Some schools in England are already circulating forms requesting that parents inform the school of the precise citizenship status of their children.

And a Tory Councillor in Surrey wants to ‘Amend the Treason Felony Act to make supporting UK membership of the EU a crime’.

But it’s also becoming obvious that the yawning gap between now and the beginning of actual negotiations is being filled with arguments that are little more than warm-ups from the campaign rather than offering any fresh analysis of our new altered reality.

Sometimes it pays to take time out and commune with great thinkers of the past. With all the wild speculation over what is going to become of the UK (and Ireland) after the various parties get down to hammering a deal, here’s Plato’s Cave, with Orson Wells narrating:

Time to ask ourselves, I think, (before things get any worse) if we’ve been living in a cave, of one description or another…

Your own new post-Brexit thoughts from a British, Irish or European pov please, in the comments below?

  • Korhomme

    If by living in a cave you mean that politicos have told us a load of fairy stories, and we have believed them…up til now, then we have been living in yer man’s cave.

    But now we see the truth, or a better simulacrum of it; are we better off? You and I can be classic Remoaners, but will we be listened to? I rather doubt it. Wasn’t politics ever thus? Or was there really a “golden age” when they could be believed?

    And to take Plato a stage further; what of those who think we are all in a computer simulation, that nothing is “real”. Even Bishop Berkeley didn’t go quite that far.

  • chrisjones2

    ” if we’ve been living in a cave, of one description or another…”

    Two caves?

  • mickfealty

    At least two. The point about the cave is that people don’t want to come out and look at what lies behind the simulacrum. I think Bacon takes the idea further, and uses the allegory in his search new forms of learning: https://goo.gl/Jdzft4.

  • Zig70

    The biggest marker brexit puts down for me is the lack of investment in many areas but particularly in the vocational training of our workforce and youth. I know few 16yr olds who have any clear direction and many post grad with no notion of where to go vocationally either. On top of that companies don’t want to spend the resources and would rather take educated foreign workers instead.

  • hgreen

    There aren’t going to be any negotiations. It’s either remain or trigger article 50 and hard Brexit.

  • Gerry Lynch

    It is part of humanity’s lot to live in one Platonic cave or another – note that we instinctively know that those who claim to possess #truth of one sort or another are usually pretty unhinged. What is changing, and for the worse, is the way our algrortithmically driven, social media-enhanced caves are becoming ever less permeable even to distant shadow figures outside. And for 50 years, we’ve been assaulting one source of authority after another and convincing ourselves that the good life is ultimately one of absolute personal fulfilment on our own terms.

    Societies need common myths to survive, in large measure because they need to give people reasons to sacrifice selfish interest for the greater good. I think we’re about to write the last chapter of the answer to the question, “What was the long term impact of the French Revolution?”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    ” And God-appointed Berkeley that proved all things a dream,
    That this pragmatical, preposterous pig of a world, its farrow that so solid seem,
    Must vanish on the instant if the mind but change its theme”

    Yeats pretty much sums it up. Philosophical Idealism does claim that the reality of things is a mental process, and any “existence of things” is simply a outward projection of mental processes.

    I quote Wikipedia:

    “Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, an Anglo-Irish philosopher who advanced a theory he called immaterialism, later referred to as “subjective idealism”, contending that individuals can only know sensations and ideas of objects directly, not abstractions such as “matter”, and that ideas also depend upon being perceived for their very existence – esse est percipi; “to be is to be perceived”.

    Yeats delightedly used to quote Berkeley’s early refutation of the existence of matter by quoting a number of materialist precepts in his youthful “Commonplace Book” to which the future Bishop added “We Irish think differently.”

    Berkeley certainly thought some things “real”, certainly, but only things conceived in the mind.

  • Nevin
  • Kevin Breslin

    And that lack of investment is going to continue if not get worse. The fact is that voting simply on the basis of dissent will do nothing pro-active to change things. It usually only increases the have nots, not increase the amount of haves.

    Have nots vs. Have nots becoming rivals as we know in Northern Ireland can force massive races to the bottom, and I feel that England will be infected more so with this disease.

    Totally agree more Vocational Educational spending, Investment in things like Engineering to upskill people for the difficulties coming our way, because a lot are coming our way.

    However the fact is that to compete globally we need high quality products and services … meaning high academic and high vocational skills.

    We don’t make people more resourceful, they can only do that if they assert a stake in our society. With no more to less money from the state being amplified for years to come it’s clear that teaching people to be inventive and entrepreneurial and get out of community silos to find available jobs and new markets are what we need to be doing.

    In the short to medium term we will still get more insecure jobs and more voluntary posts.

    The migration scapegoat, the sectarian scapegoat, the gender scapegoat, there will never be a shortage of people to blame for unemployment. Hating people is not a full time job for most people … indeed some people have to join Defense forces here simply to calm down.

    Misanthropy inevitably leads to terrorism, and we saw that in England with the murder of Jo Cox.

    To me the migration issue is utterly irrelevant, it’s far easier for companies to hire local talent if the local talent is there and if people are willing to do the job.

    Look at the Spotlight program on Brexit, two local people were given a chance to work in a food factory … One was far too slow at his job and the other showed up late twice.

    Companies are doubting local people’s WILL to do their work, almost as a more serious problem than their SKILL at doing that.

    Willpower is the only thing those with low skills have that can prove to employers they are the right person for the job. It’s the only thing that gives graduates a fighting chance for high skill work.

    We’re net émigrés more of us leave than ever return, so we are the migration issue. If sanctions come in inside the EU and UK, it’ll be against our way of life.

    It is ridiculous we have a luxury of nearly 5% unemployment, and I know it is horrible for people in that 5%, but it goes to show that Brexit was not about job quantity but job quality.

    Not a single Leave politican can guarantee that the quality of jobs (outside those in political circles who’ve been promoted) will get better.

  • Dominic Hendron

    Change always brings discomfort and uncertainty as well as stumbling around and stepping on toes. It would help if those more certain of their path had the confidence to put their arguments forward in forums which involved all interested parties instead of remaining indifferent to peoples genuine concerns.

  • mickfealty

    Let’s bring it a little closer to home Gerry? If you bear with me a bit and listen to Michael who comes in about 22 mins on this Nolan clip: https://goo.gl/extzsR.

    He notes, correctly in my view, that our key problem is that ‘we do not have a shared historical narrative’. That of course is easier to say than to tackle.

    But I wonder if the cave allegory as you describe it (as the problem with truth possessors) fits us only too well? And whether Plato’s prescription is a useful way to proceed?

  • Kevin Breslin

    They don’t have any confidence … and probably have very little faith either.

    Brexit has become about damage limitation and spin, and vendettas against Europeans or globalization … there is pretty much no attention being made to proactive efforts whether they could’ve been done with or without exiting the EU.

    In my opinion, what will hurt the Leave camps legacy is that the benefits of being outside the EU as seen in Norway and Switzerland will be modest.

    The radicalism of the Leave camp that they thought could change the country for the better, that could’ve been channeled into positive effort rather than negative criticism.

    I’ve always believed there is a thermodynamic truism that often goes neglected … Inertia does not maintain the status quo, Entropy always increases, Work always becomes more inefficient as time moves on.

    No one believes a few regulations and more jingoism is going to stir some great British recovery. The pro-Leave side are on the defensive, the Government is on the defensive, the main leave party her is on the defensive … Afraid of Blame and Responsibility, responsibilities you would’ve argued they were fighting for.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Why does matter exist: why does it not exist.

    Young’s double grating demonstrated that matter changes simply by observation.

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