Enlightening the Uninitiated
Dcreiter’s comment on my first post made me think of a conversation I had not too long ago with someone I’ve known for over 10 years. I brought up some of the research I’d been doing into the Holocaust, and specifically the persecution of certain individuals who had dared to question the official story and numbers. I could see his expression change immediately, he was actually disgusted with me! Now, to be clear, I was not harping on and on, or being in any way forceful in what I was saying, my tone was more like “here’s something you might find interesting.” He replied with something about how “the Nazis were extremely good record-keepers” and “you should check your sources,” and shooed me out of there impatiently without even our customary fist-bump. I ended up having to apologize to smooth things over and say “forget I said anything.” My friend is involved in the entertainment industry which may have something to do with it…
Now, why is it, since we live in a so-called “democratic” society with so-called “free speech,” that you can talk about anything at all except for this subject? What is it, TOO SOON? Seriously, the over-the-top defensive angry reaction is almost more of an indicator than anything that there is truth here. I mean, if there’s “so much evidence” and “the Nazis were such good record-keepers,” then surely no one should mind if we just check our math one more time? It has nothing to do with “hate” or “anti-semitism” to suggest, in the interests of historical accuracy, that we take another look at how we arrived at that figure and make any necessary revisions.
So, what do we, those of us who have opened our minds enough to think about these questions, do? It does not make sense to alienate those close to us because they will not entertain the subject. It does not make any sense to endanger our positions of employment and in professional organizations, certainly. It’s unfortunate that there is a stigma put on this independent thought…but the reality is that there is.
It brings to mind Plato’s allegory of the cave-dwellers:
Behold! Human beings living in an underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.
-Plato, The Republic, Book VII, p.514
The prisoners see the shadows of people and objects thrown by the fire as they pass the wall, and as these shadows are the only things they have ever seen, “to them…the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.”
When once one of the prisoners are released and allowed to turn and look into the light, he will be perplexed and think that the shadows were more real than the objects he now sees. “And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take refuge in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?”
He will be pained and irritated by the light of the sun, and it will take him time to become accustomed to the real world. Once he does, he will pity his former fellow-prisoners. If he returned to the others, his eyes would be unaccustomed to the darkness.
And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the den, while his sight was still weak,and before his eyes had become steady…would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death. (p.517)
Those of us who have escaped from the cave, and accustomed ourselves to the light, must exercise caution and restraint in trying to rescue others who are not ready to see that light. They may not appreciate our help. It is for the strong only. The weak must remain inside the cave.