Plato's Cave is an allegory written by the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato in his book The Republic. Its purpose is to compare "the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature". Irish historian FSL Lyons used the image of Plato's cave to describe the isolated state of Irish culture during WWII, in what has become an enduring metaphor for mid-twentieth century Ireland:
"It was as of an entire people had been Condemned to live in Plato's cave, with their backs to the fire of life and deriving their only knowledge of what went on outside from the flickering shadows thrown on the wall before their eyes by the men and women who passed to and fro behind them."Kelly Matthews, author of a book on the Bell Magazine wrote: "Most have concurred that the mid-20th century was marked by a high degree of cultural isolation and stagnation." FSL Lyons also said that "Ireland had already intellectually isolated herself in large measure since independence."
This cultural chauvinism and insularity of the Irish Free State has been replicated in many ways by loyalists, who should rightly be known as Ulster and British nationalists.
Loyalists are like prisoners in a cave, chained before a nonstop nickelodeon, a feedback loop that plays the same message of doom and disaster, of the malevolent and malign taigy intervention and overtake by republican overlords. They're marooned in their own skulls.
However, if they looked beyond the cave and broke from the feedback loop of disaster they would find that the world has changed, not ended. The Union is safe. More and more catholics wish to remain with Britain. There are more parades than ever and for every restricted parade, 500 go through unabridged.
Identity does not exist in a hermetically sealed crystal jar filled with brine, but is something that is fluid, shifting and is forever changing and evolving.
It had better sooner be said that those who say they are defending Britishness are of the same elk as the BNP, EDL and National Front. It's worth looking also at the Dunning-Kruger effect: The less people know, the more they think they know. This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. Michel de Montaigne said:
"Stubborn and ardent clinging to one’s opinion is the best proof of stupidity."
And as Christopher Hitchens said:
"What Socrates taught me is that the definition of an educated person is someone who knows how little they know."
Chinese politician racially abused online by Northern Ireland loyalists http://t.co/Ksy1EniigK
— Henry McDonald (@henry_mcdonald) February 18, 2014
Racist and sectarian. How lovely. http://t.co/h3dtJEuCkW pic.twitter.com/yKc6SZI8lf
— L.A.D (@LADFLEG) February 17, 2014