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John Palcewski's Journal

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Back To Plato's Cave

The posting yesterday of an intriguing abstract of a leaf’s shadow by seraphimsigrist took me back to Plato’s cave, and the four stages of awareness. They represent a menu of options I may choose from as I labor in my excavation of ancient history, my memoir.

Eikasia: illusions, shadows, reflections.
Pistis: belief in things that may or may not be true.
Dianoia: reason, rationalization, measurement of things from preceding categories.
Episteme: pure thought, appreciation and understanding of why and how things really are.

Plato says the first two are opinion. The second pair constitutes knowledge.

This is turning out to be more difficult than I imagined.

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I remember that Atlantic article, thanks for sending it, good to get back to it.

The fragility and unreliability of memory was demonstrated a couple decades ago by a university study. Shortly after the Challenger disaster, a number of college freshmen were interviewed in depth about their reaction to the event, where they were when the news broke, what they felt about it, and so on.

Four years later as seniors they were interviewed again, and asked the same questions. Big surprise: their accounts, four years apart, were significantly different. When confronted with the great disparity, most of the interviewees insisted that their latest memory was more "correct" than what they'd said four years earlier.

So much for those who say, "I'll never forget that day, it's burned permanently into my memory." Well, memory is about reshaping events over time.

What I think happened when I was three may or may not be entirely accurate. Does that mean I should not put it into my memoir? Something to ponder.

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Re: I'll Never Forget

Thanks, but at my age I no longer observe the anniversary of my birth because.....well, just because.

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