Internet Comment
Shadows in Plato's Cave
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20131124                Betterment                Idea of "Other"                Idea of Time

Internet comment to Roger Pearce at

I just purchased Hicks' "Lives of Eminent Philosphers". While reading his introduction and Long's preface, I noticed they used the MS and MSS abbreviations, including MS, F. Being a retired and obviously ignorant geologist, I had never encountered those abbreviations before. So I searched the internet for what they meant. By the way, those guys quoted by Laertius were pretty good geologists for their day, but perhaps that is not surprising. Without all the distractions of today, like the internet, I think they had time to and were much better observers of "nature"; though we now are much better observers of "ideas" expressed on paper or screen. I suspect we now have shifted most of our attention to the light we imagine as we close our eyes, the light the "lives" outside the cave where we cannot live. This rather than attending to the shadows we can see with our open eyes in the poorly lit cave. Some, no many, say that focus on the light is good and lead to progress for material, if not spiritual, betterment of people, because the light includes Euclid and his descendants Newton, Einstein, and Bohr, and Feynman. I suspect, however, by pursuing things only expressible on paper, we take attention away from the beautiful dancing shadows we have been given by chance or by the gods or by God. Roger, you've studied all these old guys too, obviously. Have we really come so far?

Anyway, I used one of these "closed-eye" techniques to learn the meaning of another symbol in this same blind world. I learned such abbreviations are quite common in certain academic fields, such as medieval documents. I had to search long and hard (30 minutes on google)to find what "MS, F" meant. Maybe there are others, but, "Florence manuscript" is my current understanding.

Thanks to you.

So what do I think of this site? To me it was highly and accurately informative of a trivial item that I thought would be much easier to find. The rest of your site I found quite informative too, and added a little to Hicks introduction. I am now a little smarter about the source of the words I read, thank you. (actually smart or dumb has nothing it, knowledge and ignorance do, well, maybe they have a little to do with it)