Daily Archives: December 27, 2010

False Dichotomies (and True Ones)

Bluntness can be more conducive to understanding than subtlety.  But not always.  To be blunt – with irony fully intended – some things are just subtle, not readily put into words or pigeon-holed in the mind.

Plato is underestimated.  He posits an “ideal” world, more real than the visible world, where everything is clear.  Perfect.


But then there is the world of perception.  It is an imperfect and changing reflection of the ideal world.  In the world of perception, everything is the same as in the ideal world, and indeed the perceived world manifests the ideal world, except that it does so imperfectly.  And it never attains perfection.

Both worlds are “real”:  the ideal world is really real; the perceived world is a lesser reality, but still real.  What does it mean to say “real”?

Consider this:

“One of the things that distinguishes people is whether they’re proactive or reactive.  It’s always been my view that we take charge of our lives and circumstances, rather than let circumstances dictate how our lives will be.”

Proactive people “take charge of [their] lives and circumstances” and reactive people “let circumstances dictate how [their] lives will be.”

Reality doesn’t enter into it.  Maybe some people don’t believe in a reality beyond our own will.  What it boils down to is, I control circumstances or circumstances control me.  My will prevails or the wills of others prevail.  There is no third option and nothing in between.

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