Rain of Platonic Ideals
Dreamed 2015/1/20 by Chris Wayan
Then in walks the alien. My focus expands
jump from the plane of Platonic ideals
If your Ideal form has fingers at all.
That's my job--to orient all these
I lead a tour for these newbie memes
even here, half my last tour frayed away
They seem a little flimsy, these ideals.
Strange. I mostly ignore Plato, except for his parable of the cave, which is sadly accurate about Western civilization. But as a practicing shaman I leave that cave all the time; don't feel much need to study his theories about what's outside when I can go look. So why dream of Platonic ideals incarnating here, and trying to build Utopia--ineptly? Okay, the World Dream Bank itself, yeah, that's obvious. But what else?
The dream looks far back, I think. Decades ago, as a student, I worked as a tourguide at a state park, leading groups to view elephant seals up close--too close for safety, really. I learned I'm no good at bullying idiots to keep them alive. I kept my voice down when there was real danger, since we were surrounded by two-ton wild animals, but a certain type of tourist assumed I'd scream if they really got suicidal. Like toddlers testing a babysitter!
At least I wasn't leading the tour when a girl jabbed a lit cigarette at an elephant seal "to make it move." Sheesh...
Anyway. Ideals. Seals. Probably. But what about now? I'm not doing anything like that now. Am I?
I start the latest book by a favorite author of mine--Jo Walton--knowing nothing about it. The Just City turns out to be a makeshift utopia based on Plato--a bizarre science-fictional tribute/experiment populated by his fans through the ages. How well does his meritocratic philosophy work in practice? Well... go read it and see.
But the grand ideas and their bumbling incarnations--oh, I'm sure now what that dream was about. Not me personally. Just my whole city's life! As we try to build Utopia out of chopsticks and duct tape.
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