Are Americans Chained by an Illusion?

Abby Martin takes a look back at philosopher Plato’s the ‘Allegory of the Cave’ and its application to today’s society on Breaking The Set.

Abby Martin

Abby Martin

Creator at The Empire Files
Creator The Empire Files on teleSUR, Founder Media Roots, BOD Project Censored & Former Host Breaking the Set
Abby Martin

47 Comments on "Are Americans Chained by an Illusion?"

  1. Tuna Ghost | Dec 26, 2012 at 11:01 am |

    Plato’s Cave is more a primer for Plato’s theory of Forms, or Universals and Particulars if you’re into a more modern description, but whatever fuck it yeah its the Matrix

    • mannyfurious | Dec 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm |

      This is a legit point, in that it’s factual, but it’s a smug, wrongheaded one in that it doesn’t matter. I mean, it doesn’t matter if it’s taken out of context, because when we use the example as “the matrix” the metaphor is still practical and it still makes sense. If we were speaking specifically about what Plato was talking about, then it would be important to bring this up. But in these kinds of conversation, we’re not talking about Plato or about what he meant with the allegory. The allegory still makes a new type of sense in its new context and whatever Plato intended is irrelevant. It’s not what we’re talking about.

      • Tuna Ghost | Dec 27, 2012 at 9:01 am |

        The allegory has legit uses outside Plato’s Forms while still being described as what it really is, rather than what many people assume it is. You don’t need to be talking about Plato to use his allegory correctly. The allegory, when investigated, even apart from Plato, is still not synonymous with The Matrix. It is being used incorrectly here. If you mean The Matrix, say “The Matrix”. If you mean higher dimensional objects or identities being filtered down to the mundane level and how they would appear, and how the mundane object relates to the higher-dimensional object, use Plato’s allegory.

        • mannyfurious | Dec 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

          Even if it is interpreted to be about “illusions” instead of misrepresentation, it still holds up. It’s an allegory that doesn’t fall apart, whether one interprets it correctly (the shadows as mis or incomplete representations analogous to how we cannot see Plato’s forms) or “incorrectly” (the shadows as illusions).

        • You are correct. “The Matrix” is based loosely upon the cave allegory, but it is not precisely the same thing. However, I do understand what mannyfurious is getting at. Although the shadows perceived by those enchained in the cave ARE two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects, to say that they are not illusory is splitting semantic hairs. The shadows may be physically REAL but the understanding / comprehension of what they are is an illusion because those in the cave have no way of knowing otherwise. A mirage is physically real, yet an illusion.

      • Tuna Ghost | Dec 27, 2012 at 9:50 am |

        Okay, that was a bit brisk. To clarify: the primary difference is that in Plato’s Cave the shadows on the wall are not illusions, such as in the Matrix allegory. The shadows are a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional object. The shadows bear a significant relationship to the object casting it, and the nature of that relationship is the subject of much of Plato’s musings. This part, which is crucial to Plato’s Cave, has no counterpart in the Matrix allegory.

        • mannyfurious | Dec 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm |

          I agree. But it still works as a counterpart to “The Matrix” even if it is taken out of context. What I’m saying is it works both as being about illusions, and as being two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects (the difference of which is bordering on splitting hairs, anyway, at this point).

  2. This mirrors my conversation with friends last night. Me: “So building 7 is
    the talisman of our time, it proves irrefutably that 9/11 was an inside
    job and that we’ve natural predators laying in wait devising our demise…”
    (blah blah blah, pause to smell own apocalyptic fart) Friends: “Yeah but
    the average American doesn’t care.” Translation: I as an average
    American don’t care nor will I risk my comfortable illusion for a dip in
    the bucket of truth!

    • Tuna Ghost | Dec 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm |

      That’s funny, I was just saying that “apocalypse” means “revelation” and nothing to do with the end of the world. Also the idea of Building 7 being a lynch pin in a conspiracy theory is stupid and you’re stupid for thinking it, blah blah blah, I’m a government shill and how have you been Camron? Know much Plato?

      • Tuna Ghost, the old sophist/solipsist rears his head from the sand to chime in again.

        Funny how you show up anytime someone challenges your cultish beliefs, you know the cult of government and their perspective on 9/11 of which you adhere to. Still in the cave I see. Tell you what, my old challenge still stands, explain to me how a 47 story building could conceivably pass through the path of greatest resistance through itself for approximately 2.25 seconds of freefall or ~108 feet of its own core, as admitted by NIST, without aid of explosives. Please provide your sources and demonstrate in your own words how you perceive this happening.

          In its draft report, released in August 2008, NIST attempted to cover up evidence that WTC7 fell at freefall, but the coverup was transparent. In its final report, released in November 2008, NIST finally acknowledged freefall, but couched it in a bizarre framework that continues to deny its clear significance. This video displays the brazenness of the NIST WTC7 coverup.
          [The WTC7 series has elicited a number of questions from people unclear on the details of how I did the measurements, compared to how NIST did them and how the representatives of NIST described their measurements. I have therefore created a WTC7 Measurement FAQ page: . I will also use this FAQ as a place of reference for other questions that arise as well.]

        • Tuna Ghost | Dec 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

          Sophist? Sure, I’ll cop to it, although by your usage I sincerely doubt you know the actual definitions of those words, but rather the meaning everyone thinks is correct because they trust their own intuition rather than books. Because they’re stupid.

          And, as you well know, I have provided, every single time we have this conversation, with a detailed explanation of WTC 7. Literally every single time. That is not hyperbole; every single time we have both engaged in this debate I have given it to you and you have not, not ever, not one single time, actually addressed it. All of this is saved on this very site. In very literal black and white. This is the part where you completely ignore everything I’ve just said and provide link to a YouTube video of some idiot.

          Anyway. I didn’t ask about WTC 7 and how seriously absolutely nobody takes you. I asked about Plato, which I’m starting to think was a silly thing to do.

          • Sophist

            soph·ist /ˈsäfist/
            paid teacher of philosophy and rhetoric in ancient Greece, associated
            in popular thought with moral skepticism and specious reasoning.
            A person who reasons with clever but fallacious arguments.
            Oh do humor me with your succinct explanation. Try to avoid relying on logical fallacies such as ad hominem attacks or appeal to ridicule if you can manage.

            Try also to remember what you said earlier before you attempt to deny it; and I quote,
            “Also the idea of Building 7 being a lynch pin in a conspiracy theory is stupid and you’re stupid for thinking it, blah blah blah” -Tuna Ghost (Scroll Up to jog your memory)

            So how about you just keep Building 7 out of your mouth if you can’t offer anything more than the same tired sophistry.

            I look forward to you embarrassing yourself once again in this forum.

          • Tuna Ghost | Dec 27, 2012 at 8:48 am |

            Aaaaaaaand you find the incorrect definition. Sometimes the internet doesn’t give you the right answer, buddy.

            Now. Plato. Do you know anything about Plato. Do you know anything about Plato. Do you know anything about Plato. Do you know anything about Plato.







          • So you can just pick and choose definitions that fancy your predilections eh, spoken like a true sophist.

          • I can understand why you would want to change the topic, but you attacked me over Building 7 so again, try to deal with the repercussions of your own actions.

          • Tuna Ghost | Dec 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm |

            Attack you! I don’t need to attack you, the Truth movement has been definitively beaten for years and years. Face it, buddy. It doesn’t matter anymore that I’m right and you’re wrong, because your side lost anyway. No one of any importance takes the Truth movement seriously. How can you deny it? Absolutely nothing has been done to further its goals on any real level. It’s being classified with the people who claim the moon landing was faked. Attacking you would be like attacking a clown; there’s no way to win because they’ve already been beaten by reality.

            I’m going to assume you don’t know anything about Plato. How wonderful that you started posting in a thread about Plato’s Cave.

          • Look you attacked me over Building 7 but you can’t actually present a cogent argument to defend yourself just continuous nonsensical spew. You can’t discuss this in depth and you are arguing for your cowardly nature is how I see it.

          • Tuna Ghost | Dec 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

            No, I use the actual definitions that were used when actual Sophists existed. Like I said: the internet doesn’t always give you the right answer.

          • Oh ok, so your hoary special definition trumps all other definitions based on what again? Source? Actual sophists no longer exist but the word remains? What are they Sith masters eradicated during the clone wars?

          • Tuna Ghost | Dec 27, 2012 at 8:54 am |

            Also: telling you you’re stupid for believing something is not an ad hominem. Telling you that an idea is stupid is also not an ad hominem. It’s just me telling you that you’re stupid and the things you think are also stupid. This is not what an ad hominem is.. It’s just me ridiculing you. Repeatedly. As I do every time we speak. As everyone can see in previous discussions in which you ask for my “evidence” and then completely ignore it, in which you repeatedly fail. Not because I ridicule you, but rather because you simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Actually that is exactly what it means.

            An ad hominem (Latin for “to the man”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an argument made personally against an opponent instead of against their argument.[1] Ad hominem reasoning is normally described as an informal fallacy,[2][3][4] more precisely an irrelevance.[5]

          • Tuna Ghost | Dec 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

            Demonstrably false. Telling you that you are wrong and also stupid is not an ad hominem. I know this because, unlike most people on the internet who invoke logical fallacies, I actually studied logic, like in a school with books and professors. If I had told you that you are wrong because you are stupid, then that would be an ad hominem. Because that would be an argument, as it has a premise and a conclusion and something actually happening. Simply telling you that you are wrong AND that you’re stupid is not any kind of argument, and therefore not a fallacious one. It’s just me telling you things.

            This is what comes from thinking the internet is just as good as an actual education. Pick up a book already, guy. Maybe sign up for classes at your local community college.

          • If you attack me for what you perceive as stupidity while simultaneously avoiding dealing with my position, this would constitute a textbook definition of an Ad hominem attack Tuna. I’m sorry but your logic classes have clearly failed you. Maybe you studied with known disinformationalist and professor of “logic” Jim Fester

            “An ad hominem (Latin for “to the man”), short for argumentum ad hominem,
            is an argument made personally against an opponent instead of against
            their argument” Notice you have said nothing about my argument, just your belief (unsupported by evidence lest you care to debate, which you won’t) that I am “stupid”.

  3. Apathesis | Dec 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm |

    She’s hot, but what is with the lopsided hairdo?

  4. lazy_friend | Dec 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm |

    sexiest thing I have ever seen.

  5. You are still in the cave even if you figure out 9/11 was an inside job. Their are many layers of illusion.

  6. Is the act of throwing yourself on the gears an act of Thanatos? Is the act of pointing out every false flag , Batman revelation, and all other shadowy doings a transmission of fear? Is every word of this transmission of fear a lonely flame in a forest of flesh? As this transmission grows, does the lonely flame become a self imposed pyre of immolation?

    This is to say…Yeah I know, now what?

    • I don’t know how about rhetorically jerking off with your comments?

      • Or get involved? It’s a real nail biter….,,, not like you really give a shit but hey knowledge is power, knock yourself out and be sure to wipe off with a gym sock.

        • No offense I’m just so sick of people who say they understand but cop out as though nothing could be done to rectify such a situation. Especially when there are literally thousands of ways to help.

          • I have no respect for people who peddle fear.

            Even though I am speaking to a brick wall…

            Actions speak louder than words. How does one act against or for a shadow? Think about that some more while you push yourself further out of respectable society. Where you can shadow box all you like.

          • So knowledge of danger equals fear in your estimation? Tell me are you one of those who believes that if they turn off the Tornado warning alarm that they will prevent any negativity or “fear” from manifesting in the form of a twister? If so by all means keep your mantra loud enough to avoid the wailing winds, you won’t be alone.

            As for respectable society, umm…. you mean like the internet?! lol 😉 sorry had a good chuckle there.

            I notice you’ve not decided to do anything with your “awareness” so who is truly the inanimate object in this equation?

            Shadows imply something has impinged upon the light. Meditate on that while I tend to my shadowboxing.

          • Oh, I can’t stand people who peddle ennui and malaise, all too common in “respectable society”… hahaha who fucking says that anyway?

          • You need that danger and fear. WIthout them your words are less than shit. I’ve spent my time watching the fear porn, and finally I came to a conclusion. One I will not share with you, because it will only support your delusions. Before you cry foul, I acknowledge I am able to create self delusions. Do you?

          • So know you know what I need right? Let’s back up. Does danger exist? Does it have an independent existence outside of our head games? Does it necessitate awareness to mitigate such circumstance? Is this not the evolutionary path of humankind’s survival on the planet to date? Why would you presume your self-delusions (solipsism) are more concrete than such realities? The question is not whether or not I honor anyone’s ability to be deluded, it’s that truth and reason can be utilized towards human betterment and expansion. Fear porn exists but so does knowledge of the adversary and when the adversary deems you unfit to live, to be poisoned mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, it pays to know your enemy and their methods lest you like a gentle and naive doe become another meal for the gnashing teeth. Now a wise person can know the various facts of modern orwellian reality, and choose to act on it, but not out of fear. No man lives forever I choose to live in knowledge and understanding wherever possible, this is an opposing stance to the false dichotomy/strawman you have presented.

            So with knowledge, how do you act? Well, you’ve got thousands of years of heroic tales, comparative myth boiled down by the likes of Jung and Campbell. Grab a book, get inspired and get to work is my advice. The muse/angels/watchers whomever you like will guide you if you are worthy is my experience (not speaking for everyone as I don’t know their story) Or perhaps you will just find a more noble and powerful self emerging, seeking greater challenges, life and experiences than you had previously entertained? Or maybe you are totally content as you are aimlessly pontificating.

            This quote comes to mind. (not directed at you, at this archetypal drama we have resurrected together)

            “Fuck you,” said Czernobog. “Fuck you and fuck your mother and
            fuck the fucking horse you fucking rode in on. You will not even die in
            battle. No warrior will taste your blood. No one alive will take your
            life. You will die a soft, poor death. You will die with a kiss on your
            lips and a lie in your heart.”

            Neil Gaiman,

            American Gods

            I wish you well Echar.

          • I am done with this back and forth. I prefer to say positive/forwarding things. I am finding it very challenging to be this way with you.

          • So you are unwilling to answer questions but you feel content to hurl insults? Typical. If you can’t stand the heat don’t talk shit (or mix metaphors 😉

  7. Ted Heistman | Dec 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

    If most people are idiots(living in blissful ignorance)…whence egalitarianism? Is a power elite not inevitable? Should it be supported? Is it bad simply for being too exclusive? (exclusive of too many smart people who wish to differentiate themselves from the ‘sheeple’)

    Plato was hardly a Libertarian with egalitarian values, he seems more in line with Technocracy, in my reading of him. The two interpretations of The Republic, I favor, are that either he supported Aristocracy, or else he felt that true Aristocracy was impossible, due to the fact that the best and brightest have little incentive to completely sacrifice themselves to the good of the collective.

    So how do you get around the inevitability of inequality in light of freedom?

    • I think as long as people can honor that they’ve no right to coerce others to do their bidding through violence or force than the rest should be fairly easy to manage. It’s overcoming the bestial barbarism of might equaling right. I’ve heard such golden ages have existed, lost in the churning of hamlet’s mill but evidenced again and again in myth and radiocarbon dated remains harkening back to goddess worshiping era such as the age of cancer.

    • Plato considered democracy the second worst form of government, trumped only by outright tyranny. Plato was no proponent of freedom in the nebulous, romanticized sense that many of us seem to conceive of it today. In Plato’s Republic, people are born possessed of certain qualities, and from a young age it is clear that they are destined (so to speak) to fill certain roles in society to make the GROUP thrive — NOT the individual! According to Plato, the only people who would ever want to rule are either:

      A) People who covet wealth / power / honor / etc.
      B) People who really don’t WANT to lead, yet feel that they must because they can’t bear to be led by the incompetent and corrupt.

      Plato, as far as I know, did not support aristocracy, but he definitely did support a sort of meritocracy in which only warrior-artist-philosophers should / could rule as kings.

  8. I just came upon this website about two months ago, and it along with Abby Martin are very cathartic simply because mainstream media is bullshit. As a recovering brainwashed American can anyone tell me why I should take Abby Martin’s reporting more seriously when RT is a Russian TV station? I am not saying this because of anything to do with the history of the Cold War, but all Government TV/Biased reporting.. Has Abby Martin ever criticized Vladimir Putin, or Russia’s atrocities in Chechnya?

  9. Oliver Orlob | Feb 21, 2013 at 8:23 pm |

    That’s not the question. In fact, the implication seems to be that, once one is acclimatized, the preference for reality would be nigh to irresistible The question, and the much more useful point, is: What would the prisoners think of someone who tried to tell them the truth?

  10. TheTruthShallSetUsFree | Mar 3, 2013 at 1:11 am |

    RT is a state owned Russian propaganda machine. Finding yourself dissatisfied with American media objectivity and turning instead to RT is counter-productive at best.

  11. TheTruthShallSetUsFree | Mar 3, 2013 at 1:11 am |

    RT is a state owned Russian propaganda machine. Finding yourself dissatisfied with American media objectivity and turning instead to RT is counter-productive at best.

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