“A Saran Wrap layer of fake-ness”

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I have found that it is easiest for me to understand what a person is trying to say if I am able to relate to their situation. This is how I attempted to understand Socrates’ explanation of “The Forms”. I have often thought about the world as having a “Saran Wrap layer of fake-ness” covering everything. Imagine yourself looking at a tree, but there is this layer of Saran Wrap over top of it. You would be able to see the tree somewhat, although its’ shape, color, and definition etc. would be altered and impossible to see clearly. I was able to follow “The Allegory of the Cave” so well because I related this metaphor to my own experience.

In “The Allegory of the Cave”, Socrates describes prisoners who are seeing shadows of figures, which are made to represent real things in the world. These figures are in the shape of trees, people, animals etc. Because the prisoners have not seen anything except the shadows of these figures their entire lives, they accept the limits of what they are seeing to be true. In my own opinion, there is a metaphorical layer, which covers everything in front of a person, which disables them from seeing the truth and reality of whatever it is that they are looking at.

I think this layer that comes between the average person and reality is something that is created by many things. The media, for example, definitely keeps the public from understanding the truth in a situation, in a number of ways. For example, each news station has a certain set of values, morals, and opinions, which are injected into the stories that are told. When the news stations report on a story, the public is not just presented with the facts that make up the situation, but a certain set of opinions about the events as well. The opinions are not the problem, but the way that they are presented does not make it clear to the viewers that there are more than just facts being reported.

It is my belief that society, whether this is intentional or not, does this same thing. As we grow up, we take some things to be true simply because that’s how we were taught. For example, we are taught that achieving a certain amount of success will result in happiness. This, to me, is like putting a “Saran Wrap layer of fake-ness” (bull crap) over everything; or putting a bag over someone’s head. The happiness that is obtained when a person follows the lifestyle that society places on a pedestal is not true happiness, and in my opinion, doesn’t really mean anything. Conventional success, as defined by society today, focuses on things like money, status, material things and fame. While these things may bring some sort of happiness to some people, there is not enough substance and depth to keep me satisfied or interested. The “Saran Wrap layer” that is put over everything restricts people to seeing certain things a certain way, and keeps them from knowing more. In this example, people can obtain a certain type of happiness and will be content with that, because they have not been able to see that there are greater, more powerful, and more beautiful forces than the feelings that having lots of money can bring.

Although I do not agree with everything that Socrates says, I found it interesting to see how far the analogy of the “Saran Wrap layer of fake-ness” can correlate to the “Allegory of the Cave” and other readings. In general, I felt that I was able to follow what Socrates was saying because I had this other analogy to compare and relate it to.

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5 Responses to “A Saran Wrap layer of fake-ness”

  1. givenarnold says:

    So is this layer of fakeness over everything naturally? or do people put it over things intentionally?

  2. matthewsf94 says:

    There are several ways that you can think about this. Here is the first:

    Often times people marvel at the “child-like wonder” that is seen is most children. It is very interesting to a lot of people to watch children gaze at things that adults usually pass by without even a glance. Part of this may be because children haven’t yet been brainwashed by society to overlook things that are interesting, beautiful, or wondrous. Children aren’t used to the social norms that we are controlled by every day, for better or for worse. They often don’t understand what is considered appropriate to do or say in public places, for example. This works for the children’s advantage because they can see things the way that they would naturally see them, without being taught what things are worth seeing, and how to see them. For example, when I have been playing my saxophone on the street with my case open, the majority of the people who stop to listen are children. I think part of this is because they just don’t care about enough to not stop. The adults are worried about where they’re going, what time it is, what they have to do. They’re worried about giving money or support to somebody who, for all they know, could be a homeless drug addict. Children do not care about most of these things very much, so when they hear or see or feel something that they like or find interesting, they gravitate towards it. Gradually as people grow older, they become aware of the social limitations that are put over things like this. Then people do not gravitate towards beautiful or interesting things because they are tuned off to it. There is something between the street performer and the listener that does not allow the listener to see/hear/feel the same things that children do. However, children cannot be as aware of things simply because they don’t know as much, and have not been exposed to certain things. For instance, they can see the beauty in a tree, but they cannot appreciate everything that the tree does, and its relationship with water, the ground, the sun etc.

    The second way to think about this pretty much contradicts the first. Imagine that people are generally born free of this layer of fake-ness, and intentionally put it over everything as they grow older. After enough time had passed where the people who already see the world with this layer over top are teaching the next generation, people would be closer to having this layer exist earlier in life. If you are a free person born into a society consisting solely of blind individuals, it would be difficult to continue seeing everything with a clear head.

    The way that I think about this is that people are born between states of knowing and unknowing. There are several variables that can alter whether or not the person lives with a “Saran Wrap layer of fake-ness” over everything or not. Some of these variables are how they are raised, what they are exposed to, what their natural interests are, like if they gravitate towards truth rather than simple pleasures, comforts, and conventional, shallow happiness. I have met lots of people who live the sort of lifestyle where everything except the base desires just mentioned is covered by this metaphorical layer. I have also met people who live this sort of lifestyle, but have an unconfirmed desire to live in such a way where they are naturally more aware of the truth around them. This is why I think that people are born somewhat neutral. They can see things in a purer form than some who have this layer over everything, but they do not understand everything about it. Whether or not they yearn to understand everything about it in its truth and entirety is the most important aspect which defines whether or not they live with this “Saran Wrap Layer of fake-ness” over everything.

    • kailadelany says:

      I would agree with the first explanation that we are all born with a sense of child-like wonder and as our perspectives change it is replaced with the “saran wrap layer of fake-ness.” I find the trait of being completely enraptured by simple everyday objects very interesting and often see it in young children. For older people, I find that this layer of fake-ness can be combatted by the art of photography. For example, in nature, we see many trees every day and do not take a second glance at them. But, if there is a picture of a tree, the viewer finally sees the tree in its full beauty because of the way that the artist has created this image. Through the image’s creation, the saran wrap has been removed and the raw beauty of the simple things around us has been shown, taking us back to the view of children while still holding the full knowledge of an adult.

  3. sarahbrgr says:

    I like this analogy because, like you, it helps to have a real life example. I think the saran-wrapping can apply to the difference between what we see and what someone who understands the forms would see. Let’s take the tree example. We see a tree wrapped in saran wrap, but we can’t see the tree for what it truly is. Naturally, if we saw the tree without the wrap, we would see it for what it truly is. If we were to look at the tree as it is, Socrates would say that we aren’t seeing it as its form, but instead as a representation of its form. The saran wrap could represent the barrier between representations of the forms and true forms. Therefore, removing the wrap would symbolize learning the forms. Socrates would say that he sees the tree unwrapped, but we still see it wrapped. I don’t know if this is making any sense or if it’s what you’re getting at, but I thought the comparison was interesting.

  4. jgraef2 says:

    I think your idea of thinking about the saran wrap around a person is very clever and I think it really very well demonstrates the difference between the state of an enlightened person and the state of and un-enlightened one. I think that the theory of the forms is something that is, I think, highly teachable to the majority of people, despite what Socrates says. I think that it just needs to be thought in clever and creative ways to make the theory more visual and more comprehensible and realistic. I completely agree with what you are saying about the media and how we can’t get a real news story because of the automatic opinions it is presented with. All the factors in our lives like this are very influential on how we view the world, each other and ourselves. Especially the media, which has such a large part in our everyday life and is presented with a rather clear bias that we don’t notice.

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