2071: Indirect Detection
Title text: I'm like a prisoner in Plato's Cave, seeing only the shade you throw on the wall.
This comic shows an angry social media post by one of Randall’s spiky-haired friends, objecting to the views of unknown third parties, which appear to be a cartoonishly and unrealistically evil take on the proper treatment of abandoned animals. This could perhaps be in part a callback to 2051: Bad Opinions, in which Cueball is looking to post a response to an absurd or inflammatory opinion that currently may or may not actually exist anywhere on the internet. Sometimes when posting something on social media, such as Facebook, that post can be seen by all the people you have designated as your "friends." In this case the original comment was intended to be read by the people holding these views, people who are not direct friends of Randall's and whose posts he therefore could not see, but because it was posted by his direct friend he could read that response and was able to imagine what it was those other people were saying. Knowing a little about what these other mystery people are saying, through direct quotes from within his friend's comment, and having to fill in the rest by his imagination, he reflects on how weird it is to learn that people who hold such views exist in such an indirect manner.
The title text is a pun comparing the shadows of Plato's cave to the practice of "throwing shade" (slang for throwing insults, usually subtly), and "the wall" could have a double meaning of both the wall of the cave and the term for someone's social media page.
The Allegory of the Cave is an allegorical concept presented in Plato's Republic. It proposes the notion of a cave in which prisoners are trapped, from childhood, in such a way that the only thing they can see is one wall of the cave, and the shadows that are cast on that wall are their only exposure to the world outside the cave. Plato proposes that these prisoners would accept these shadows as their only reality, lacking the context to understand that they're merely shadows cast by objects they can't see. In this way, Plato's Cave serves as an allegory for our limited understanding of phenomena that occur primarily or entirely outside direct perception by our natural senses.
In the same way, Randall seems to acknowledge that he doesn't actually know what goes on in the social or internet circles that he doesn't inhabit, and is left trying to figure them out, solely by the reaction of others to them.
- [A single social media post is shown. On the top left is a portrait of a spiky-haired face, the text right aside is not readable. The post is:]
- Everyone on here needs to stop laughing about how "adopting pets from a shelter is for losers" and "those animals should all be hunted for sport instead." It's reprehensible on so many levels! First of all...
- [Caption below the frame:]
- Sometimes, one of my friends posts an angry response to some terrible opinion I've never heard before, and it's a weird indirect way to learn how awful their other friends must be.
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