The existence of another plain of reality is a concept which has made an impact throughout all religions and many metaphysical inquiries. An early version of this can be seen through the works of Plato and of course Socrates.
Plato as opposed to Socrates came to the conclusion that everyone is born into the world with the whole knowledge which is possible to achieve and while we grow up we merely remember things. Socrates on the other hand believed in the “Tabula Rasa” (blank slate) view of the world where we are born with nothing but our ability to learn through our senses and as we grow older we fill up our “slate” with information based on our experiences.
In either case there is the concept of the pursuit of knowledge through life. But as Descartes has pointed out in his meditations, we can not simply rely on our senses for the pursuit of true knowledge simply do to the fact that our senses are flawed and can be easily deceived. This can be seen in relevance to “The allegory of the cave”.
Simply put the allegory states that just as the prisoners of the cave are trapped and their only sense of reality are the shadows projected onto the wall, human beings as a whole are trapped into interpreting the world through our flawed senses. If we truly believe that everything which exists can be observed through our senses we only see the shadows of reality as opposed to the actual process it takes to create them.
The sun in the allegory represents enlightenment or true knowledge for as the prisoners are freed and realize that the sun or light in this case is where their reality is manufactured it completely shatters their previous “flawed” view of the world.
A inquisitive person may try to see their own sense of reality as being trapped in this dark cave with a flawed sense of reality. If we look at the concept that we are constantly formulating our version of reality in our minds by in a way hallucinating the material world; we come to the realization that there must be something else outside our own direct control.
It may be hard at first to see how this is possible, but modern psychology and our own view on things can show this possibility. We all live in a physical and material world, through our sense we “select” what we focus on on a daily basis and create our own values for certain things such as relationships and financial attributes as well as social standing.
I would like to point out that even though these things may seem “real” in the physical sense; they are in fact concepts which like minded people agreed to put value into, and exist only in our collective consciousness. We all agree that this government approved piece of paper with $10 dollars written on it has some sort of value outside its physical attributes. You can do a lot more with money then burning is or holding it in your hands. Money can be mutually exchanged for something of equal value.
The term “mutually” is very important to the understanding of this notion of collective consciousness. By having more then one party collectively agree on a certain interpretation of an idea we create this “bubble” where someone unfamiliar with the value of money as an example would not be satisfied with feeling wealthy by having a large amount of it.
This concept can be literally applied to every single social concept which we as humans have created in our own reality from social status to our value on education. This brings up an interesting view on life which many people try to manipulate by training themselves to respond to certain situations in an “optimal” fashion.
This is an absurd view of it since we have learned how to interact with others through this version of the world. If we step out of the box or collective consciousness in this case we see that life consists of feeding and ultimately trying to sustain our own existence. People who play too hard and take these social constructs too seriously can be deluded or trapped into thinking that all life has to offer is in the role they play.
If we take a look at the world though the perspective of Alan Watts where the world is simply a massive play and we are all actors in this society, and we incorporate the roles we play as cards in a deck of cards; we can observe that the Queen and King are very honorable positions which may seem desirable by all the other cards.
But lets take a look at the doctrine of the Joker.
The joker can become any card he chooses for he knows that a cards value is solely what the player perceives it as. This is sort of the way in which some people may look at this idea but as I pointed out before the Joker is still a card, he’s still playing. The true master of the cards is the shuffler or the entity which controls the game.
So who would the card master be in our social environment? Some may say God. Which may be true depending on what game you’re playing for you see cards can be played with through many different games. But a person who does not attach themselves to a role, not even the joker who can become any role ultimately becomes a person who sees things for what they are and become “awakened” or as Plato would put it; the person would step out of the cave and see the masterpiece of the sun and its role on the shadows.
And of course many people try doing this by trying to control the game or become completely detached from it altogether through the process of becoming a Buddha. But they are simply playing a different game instead of simply existing.
So if you could pick a card, any card, which one would you choose? Or better yet would you try and play chess instead?