Plato's cave

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When Plato was out walking one day, he came across a cave. Happening to be in need of a new home at the time, he promptly painted "Plato's cave" above the entrance. This may have been hasty, for as it would turn out, the cave was already occupied. But it was too late; no amount of scrubbing would remove the label.

Making the best of the situation, Plato decided to get to know the odd fellows inside. They turned out to be divided into two groups: one of them, an aimless and very childish clique carrying things around and posturing oddly by the fire; the other one, a drowsily subdued audience, sitting with their backs turned and meeting the shadows cast on the wall with half-hearted cries of "Ooh!" and "Aah...".

Speaking to each group, each turned out to be looking for something very different. The drowsy shadow-watchers were bored out of their minds; they'd been seeing re-runs of the same junk for as long as they remembered. They hoped that finally, something would break the bland monotony.

The performers, meanwhile, giggled inanely in response to questions. They seemed to view their activity as the foundation of the Universe itself. Any change in their gesturing would no doubt cause the fabric of space and time to bend over accordingly, so it was better for everyone that they stick to their tried and true routines.

Plato found the performers too annoying to talk to at length. Their giggling, calls for praise, and demands for strict attention as they repeated their old numbers ad-nauseum were indeed excruciatingly sad and boring to keep facing.

The shadow-watchers had more to say. Some of them plainly let it slip that they didn't care about the shadows, nor about those who cast them. They'd long since developed a healthy habit of tuning it all out and using their minds to keep them occupied with interesting matters, instead. And when Plato told them of his travels, the novelty attracted them so intensely that they all turned away from the wall to face him.

The performers were so self-absorbed that it was a long while before they noticed that anything had changed. But when they saw that their audience had turned away from them, the reaction was fierce. How did this Plato-fellow dare steal the attention which ought to be given only to them?

Soon, an army of oddly dressed artists carrying torches and pitchforks approached Plato with tears in their eyes and rage in their hearts. Breaking off in mid-sentence, Plato ran. Trying to get his phone to work in the odd location in which he found himself, Plato screamed, "Operator, I need an exit!"