Shadow puppets are fascinating, don’t you think? We know that what we are looking at – that dog, that crocodile, that rabbit – are not real. And yet, we watch them hop and bite and run, and they appear like truth.
Entire worlds emerge from the shadows in this video. Watching it, I found I was holding my breath. I didn’t even mind that it turned out to be an ad. I was just thankful that the company invested in such mysterious creativity.
Have you come across Plato’s allegory of the cave? In The Republic, he posits that if people lived their entire lives inside a cave, and if the goings-on of life outside were reflected on the cave wall much as shadow puppets, then the people inside the cave would think the shadow puppets were reality. Not having seen anything else, they would attach all their meaning to the shadows. They would be wrong, of course, but you and I only know that because we live outside the cave and have seen the truth.
But what if, Plato challenged, and this is something I explored in my book Airmail, too… what if the outside world that we perceive to be reality is in itself but a reflection, or a shadow, of an even brighter reality that we don’t yet know exists? What if our whole perceived reality is just a much bigger cave, and we have been prisoners of our own lack of curiosity?
I guess the point is that there is so much more to this world than that which we can see, touch or even perceive. Like Plato’s cave-dwellers, imagine what we might see if we stop watching shadows, and venture outside.