Road and Street (symbols)

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Julie H, May 20, 2017.

  1. Supriyo, Baudrillaire likely meant it somewhat ironically. The way I see it, he wasn't be realistic about the cave shadows analogy. Which actually helps make his point and may be what you're getting at as well. Some amount of poetic license is due a writer in many instances.
  2. Certainly. I thought the fallacy could have been intentional to reinforce his interpretation of the image.
  3. And, as regards Plato's shadows, I think his point is that they do exist outside the cave. In our everyday lives when, for him, we mistake belief for knowledge and perceptions for reality, we are inside our own caves. With the allegory, I think he was very much commenting on life outside the cave, or at least saying what we think is the road outside the cave is most likely a road inside the cave which most people live in. My guess, he would not take to photography. ;-)
  4. Fred, reading Plato occurred more than half my lifetime ago. Once the cave-dweller escaped the cave and was confronted by dazzling sunlight, didn't the cave dweller want to jump back into the comfort the cave offered? Wasn't the cave dweller "happier" in the world of shadows? Picking up on Supriyo's last post, the cave dweller may be able to overcome the initial experience of being almost blinded by the light. At that point, the shadows not only disappeared but ceased to exist.

    "I do love roads in mist, photographed or otherwise!" To me, the mist as a symbol is a key element when addressing the road - street distinction.
  5. I sometimes wonder what true knowledge is, and whether any one of us ever can have access to such knowledge. We rely on our senses and related perception to understand our universe. As a result, we (and any knowledge we gather) are always going to be limited by the range of our senses. In other words, we will continue to live in a cave, just that we are going to step in a bigger cave from a smaller one. I think, for such a cave dueler, the worthiness of his life lies in the realization that life outside the cave is a possibility (i.e. there can be other interpretations of what he perceives), even if that life is beyond reach.

    My little diversion. Feel free to ignore.
  6. Supriyo, this may seem to keep getting further and further from photography, but I think it can be related to photography in the same way we often ask about photography and truth.

    I don't think we're limited, in terms of knowledge, by our senses. I think our mental capacity goes well beyond what our senses are capable of experiencing. It's how we can understand the concept of 2+2=4 even if we don't have two apples in front of us to which we add two more apples to get four. It's how we understand complex abstract theories of math and political science.

    That being said, and as much as I love hearing Plato's important ideas, I think he didn't give enough credit to sense perception in our lives.

    And this can get us back to photography . . . which is a picture of reality but also a reality itself in being a commentary on and expression of our relationship to the world around us.
  7. Fred, this is something I am still trying to comprehend, and at this point may differ with you to some extent. Its true, we don't need to see physical objects in front of us to imagine their nature, like two sets of two apples make four. However, all of us learned this concept in our childhood using visual, tactile and auditory references. I wonder if a person who is born without any sensory organs can understand the concept of addition, even if the hardware is there? When I said, our knowledge is limited by what we sense, I didn't preclude deduction. We can deduce and predict things to the extent our existing perceptions allow us to. However, can we deduce or understand a concept for which no sensory reference is available, or ever existed. That's why I think, our cave is somehow confined within the deductive limits imposed by our sensory references.

    We can supplement our sensory limits by deducing possibilities, but can we ever reach the truth (pick out the correct possibility) if we lack the proper sensory reference. A prisoner in the cave can speculate what he/she is seeing is a shadow, not the reality. But, that can never be proven, unless he can get out of the cave and see the sun (or fire), which he cannot. As long as his senses don't allow him to reach beyond his cave, he can never be certain of the truth, although he can count it as one of the possibilities.

    I like it. Deducing an enlightened reality out of the physical reality.
    michaellinder likes this.
  8. Invert that. Maybe you do that all day long; it's integral to or 'before' any other kind of perception. "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower." Maybe the "objective" part is the hard part. Or maybe not. But how would you know? Do you get sensory senses of your sensory senses? o_O

    ... our problem is not continuous reflection, it is about deciding when to stop reflecting so as to be able to switch over to action. ... For us, reflection is a strategy and not surrender to self. The moment the photographer stops looking into the reflecting mirror (whether real [the camera] or imaginary) is the moment that will define his image. If he stops too early, the image will be superficial. If he stops too late, the image will be confused and uninteresting. It will be penetrating and revealing if the photographer has chosen a good moment to stop reflecting.

    [line break added] Reflection therefore forms part of the photographer's search and his manipulation. It is a search for himself and a manipulation of himself. In fact, the search for position belongs to the search for himself and the manipulation of the situation to the manipulation of self, and vice versa. But what is the case for photography is also the case for philosophy, and very simply for life. But in photography, it is tangible, clear: we can see it by observing the gesture of photographing. — Vilém Flusser
  9. Early Poems
    by Donald Justice

    How fashionably sad those early poems are!
    On their clipped lawns and hedges the snows fall.
    Rains beat against the tarpaulins of their porches,
    Where, Sunday mornings, the bored children sprawl,
    Reading the comics before their parents rise.
    — The rhymes, the meters, how they paralyze!

    Who walks out through their streets tonight?
    No one. You know these small towns, how all traffic stops
    At ten, the corner streetlamps gathering moths,
    And mute, pale mannequins waiting in dark shops,
    Undressed, and ready for the dreams of men.
    — Now, the long silence. Now the beginning again.​

    Gregory Crewdson has made pictures of that kind of street, that kind of feeling, that kind of state of being. I don't think he really succeeds (Phil disagrees with me) but it's fascinating, in the documentary film that you can find about Crewdson, to watch him visually "building" a feeling out of a street.

    Compare the street of that poem to this:

    ... "A gloomy vision of a big-city future" was the tenor of American newspapers, because the film [Blade Runner] was set in dark alleyways between glittering skyscrapers; crowds of people pushed past vegetable stands and collections of disemboweled electrical appliances, raindrops fell from leaky canvas covers, flickering neon lights bathed the passers-by in greenish-gray light. And Lee Ho-yin thought to himself: Future? Vision? This is the future and I am living in it. It is called Hong Kong.

    ... the streets in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Shanghai are no wider than in Europe; in fact the buildings are even closer together, thus creating a phenomenal density. The mass of people streaming out of the Hong Kong high-rise buildings after work is so huge that tourists are often swept along with the flow until they manage to reach the safety of a hotel foyer. Arrows and mesh partitions in the subway entrances channel the masses. — Florian Hanig

    See the work of Asian street photographers and compare their work to Crewdson's small town creations.
  10. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    why? shirley a more meaningful comparison would be between Asian small town photogs and Crewdson, non?

  11. Because I'm interested in streetness/streetness, not American/Asian or small/large.
  12. Think of the Asian street scene and micro-slice it so that you get only one "molecule," one or two people out of the "mass of people streaming out of the Hong Kong high-rise buildings." Or, conversely, take the Crewdson/poem scene and time-expose it so that thousands of people accumulate; time sediments. Does the latter now resemble the former?

    A street somehow senses or is made from its connection to road(s). It is fed. It yearns, it leans toward, it is flooded by, roads that are out of sight. A (circular) track is neither a street nor a road, though I may sometimes call it a "circular road."
  13. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    Think of the Asian street scene and micro-slice-it

    that's a bit like saying a very small bit of an apple is like a very small bit of an orange. fair enough.
    Last edited: May 25, 2017
  14. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    that's the problem of looking at a micro-slice of an apple. it looks like a micro-slice of an orange

  15. But they're not alike! If you find that there's nothing in common between the two street scenarios, however you slice them, then ... that's what you find. The question is open, not closed ... [as if we could close Norman!]

  16. LOL

    Slow down, Norman. Macro small town. Micro Asian. A thin slice of one; a big fat slice of the other. (And we're doing this cognitively, not in-camera. Time exposure of the small town would not allow people to pile up; it would erase them altogether.) (I'm getting very hungry, for some reason.)
  17. Throw in a plum. Think of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks.
  18. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    plums are rude
  19. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    i agree. my comments aren't met to open or close your thought processes. i'm just hanging on.

    (off to asia any minute now xxx)

  20. You're safe: there are no doors on the Nighthawks café.

Share This Page