Plato's Cave
A Buttfuck Conundrum
Chuck Tarver
Hey cockrubbin dick2dick warrior dude,
The journalist Chuck Tarver
who is a skilled communicator, sent me this email. In it, he quotes from a communications textbook examining the famous allegory known as Plato's Cave, and then makes a very good and very funny point about dealing with the Buttfuck Dictatorship.
As Plato and Chuck make clear, right now we're all living in the buttfuck boyz' foul and oppressive cave. Some of us have managed to see the light. The problem is how to communicate that to guys who just don't wanna hear.
Here's Chuck's email:

Bill, something in your last response to Snyder (see The Anal Sex Debate at GayToday) reminded me about something I studied in grad school.  It was related to Organizational Communication but works equally well for cultural communication.
You mentioned how culture shapes desire and behavior. You then discussed the evolutionary role of nonconformity and its role in survival of the species.
The combination reminded me of a section from Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan (Sage Publications Newbury Park, CA 91320 (1989), Chapter 7 pgs. 199 - 200) on Organizations as Psychic Prisons. In particular, "Exploring Plato's Cave" came to mind.
I'll quote from the chapter:
"The idea of psychic prison was first explored in Plato's Republic in the famous allegory of the cave where Socrates addresses the relations among appearance, reality, and knowledge.  The allegory pictures an underground cave with its mouth open toward the light of a blazing fire.  Within the cave are people chained so that they cannot move.  They can see only the cave wall directly in front of them.  This is illuminated by the light of the fire,  which throws shadows of people and objects onto the wall.  The cave dwellers equate the shadows with reality, naming them, talking about them and even linking sounds from outside the cave with the movements on the wall.  Truth and reality for the prisoners rest in this shadowy world, because they have no knowledge of any other.

"However as Socrates relates, if one of the inhabitants were allowed to leave the cave, he would realize that the shadows are but dark reflections of a more complex reality, and that the knowledge and perceptions of his fellow cave dwellers are distorted and flawed.  If he were then to return to the cave, he would never be able to live in the old way, since for him the world would be a different place.  No doubt he would find difficulty in accepting his confinement, and would pity the plight of his fellows.
"However, if he were to try and share his new knowledge with them, he would probably be ridiculed for his views.  For the cave prisoners, the familiar images of the cave would be much more meaningful than any story about a world they had never seen.  Moreover, since the person espousing this new knowledge would now no longer be able to function in the old way, since he would no longer be able to act with conviction in relation to the shadows, his fellow inmates would no doubt view his knowledge as being extremely dangerous.  They would probably regard the world outside the cave as a potential source of danger, to be avoided rather than embraced as a source of wisdom and insight.  The experience of the person who left the cave could thus actually lead the cave dwellers to tighten their grip on their familiar way of seeing.
"The cave stands for the world of appearances and the journey outside stands for the ascent to knowledge.  People in everyday life are trapped by illusions, hence the way they understand reality is limited and flawed. By appreciating this, and by making a determined effort to see beyond the superficial, people have an ability to free themselves from imperfect ways of seeing.  However, as the allegory suggests, many of us often resist or ridicule efforts at enlightenment, preferring to remain in the dark rather than to risk exposure to a new world and its threat to the old ways."

Chuck's down and dirty analysis:
Gay male culture has been trapped in a butthole for more than 25 years. The funk has come to be regarded as fragrance.  A few of us somehow have managed to breathe the outside air.  We're trying to tell folks, WHOA! sure is funky up in here.  We're petitioning for a little fresh air so that we can all breathe a little easier. We're not calling for a fumigation, the funk can stay. Yet, we're told to shut up and enjoy the fragrance.
It won't be easy but if we keep trying, we'll eventually get the word out.
Best to you warrior.
Chuck Tarver

A Greek Youth
With Plato's Help, He Got Out of the Cave

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