The Cave by Kristen Lee Knapp


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Post January 02, 2012, 01:19:37 AM

The Cave by Kristen Lee Knapp

Bug-bites, weather, sweat -- I can see why this guy likes VR better than real life. Some folks are just incapable of boredom, I guess.
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Post January 31, 2012, 08:52:24 PM

Re: The Cave by Kristen Lee Knapp

I'm drawn to this story because this is a theme that I like to explore a lot: asking the question "How will human interactions with each other and the natural world change with advancing technology?" Walt is pretty much the person I'd expect to be the product of a Matrix-like reality: he is out of shape, does not seem to enjoy the "real world", and appears to have some troubles with social interactions.

I do have the feeling, however, that I'm not well-read enough to fully enjoy this piece. There are a lot of questions the story brings up, not so much thought-provoking, more like "what just happened?" The author makes several references to Thomas Hobbes and Plato's allegory of the cave (which, I'll admit, I had to Wiki), so perhaps if I paid more attention in my philosophy class in college I might have a greater appreciation for what the author was accomplishing here.

I'd really like to see this story as something with a little more depth, fleshing out Walt's world (both real and self-created). As it stands I feel like it's unfinished.
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Post February 06, 2012, 03:35:21 PM

Re: The Cave by Kristen Lee Knapp

I'd really like to see this story as something with a little more depth, fleshing out Walt's world (both real and self-created). As it stands I feel like it's unfinished.


I'd have to agree with Tristan on this one, I didn't find much here to hang my hat on. From looking at Mr. Knapp's bio it seems that he's widely published, so maybe it's just a sign of writer's tedium, the feeling that he needs to crank out something ever so often.

I understood perfectly the idea of Plato's The Cave, but this story just seems shallow. I didn't understand if the main character were trying to decide the fate for all of humanity or if he were a spoiled child of a Q-esk society (aka Star Trek: the Next Generation). In particular I thought the first scene drug on much too long with only dialog to set the scene. The basic questions were asked too many times during that dialog. Plato's Cave had a gradual advancement of the human spirit - without Wiki-ing it, I believe there were five levels of growth. This made the allegory seem too simple, too trival.
I'm sure his next story will be better.
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Post February 06, 2012, 05:30:20 PM

Re: The Cave by Kristen Lee Knapp

Re: Plato's allegory of the cave:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave

and a transcript of it:

http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/allegory.html

BD, your memory serves you wrongly . . . I wasn't very familiar with this myself, but I was glad to have read it -- it deals with a means of selecting the best political leaders.

Funny you mentioned "Q" -- I believe there was an episode when he gave up his powers and became mortal for a while, and that has a parallel in the allegory. Check it out.
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Post February 06, 2012, 06:30:56 PM

Re: The Cave by Kristen Lee Knapp

I never thought of Walt's friends being anything other than human, so it's interesting you saw them as beings similar to the Q. I kinda saw them as possibly from some sort of anti-technology religious order... or maybe thought that it was Walt's social ineptitude that painted his perception of them and made them seem different than who they really were.

Thanks for those links too, Lester.
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Post February 07, 2012, 09:27:15 AM

Re: The Cave by Kristen Lee Knapp

Certainly there is the truth of Wikipedia - if one wants to remain chained to the cave wall. However, going back to the translated words of Plato himself might serve us better if we are to see the truth (as far as mere humans can understand the truth).
[Socrates] This entire allegory, I said, you may now append, dear Glaucon, to the previous argument; the prison-house is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world according to my poor belief, which, at your desire, I have expressed whether rightly or wrongly God knows. But, whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally, either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.

I would put it to you that there are multi-layers to this allegory, not just a political stance.
First there is the darkness of the cave, next the shadows playing on the wall, in the 2nd room are the actual objects or people who threw the shadows in the 1st room, next is the light coming trhough the cave entrance - which is blinding, then stepping through the mouth of the cave one sees trees and mountains, after which one sees reflections in the lake of the skies and clouds, and that night the stars and planets (the planets reflect the sun's light) - finally there is the Sun itself, painfully bright, as is truth's core.
To say this is merely a political commentary cheapens Plato's multi-layered allegory that reaches out not to merely one ancient student now long dead - to all of us who search after the truth.
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Post February 10, 2012, 11:04:33 AM

Re: The Cave by Kristen Lee Knapp

Haven't posted here in a while, but it's been pretty fun to read all the comments and thoughts here. Both positive and negative reactions are awesome, in my book. Better than no reaction at all.

I thought about it a minute and decided to weigh in - no, all of the characters are just plain human. Part of what inspired this story (and others I've written) is the question over humanity's future. Roddenberry, Star Trek and Shatner would argue that our future is outward, in the stars, the galaxy. But the mind, the self, is far closer, and far more easily accessed, tooled around with and reshaped. So, the final frontier might just be inside us all. There's nothing final about any frontier, after all.

Some thoughts.

Also, there's lots of ways to read Plato. The allegory of the cave, as I used it for this story, refers to the nature of reality, the perception of reality. The Three suggest that Walt is dooming himself to a figurative cave, while Walt doesn't really care. Or he might even argue the opposite.

Some more thoughts.

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