Ideologies are rickety. Belief systems are rickety. It is impossible to do without one. You cannot understand the world without trying to make sense of the world, and you cannot make sense of the world without using a framework. The ideology is the framework. But it is rickety. It is not the world you are perceiving. The map is not the territory. This is true of our map also. “For now you see as through a glass darkly . . .”

Some ideologies are more rickety than others. But I don’t think there is any sincerely held belief system where a person cannot use it to perceive some angle on real truth and real beauty.

Imagine a bare, plain room. A kind of shed or warehouse. There is light streaming in from a high window and over there someone has built themselves a rickety little platform of stools and scraps. They are looking out the window and describing the wonders they see. You must imagine that they are choked in the throat and crying because outside is so beautiful. The people in that room are gathered around and what the man up there describes is so transporting that they are crying also. In their enthusiasm they devote more attention to building up the platform.

They first forget, and then cover, the window.

In the real parable of Plato’s cave, those who see the shadows do not reject the message of the one who went outside. They only confuse the message and the outside.

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