We did imagine liberating ourselves by freeing ourselves of traditional metaphysically drawn ideas about Truth and truths. We did revise our primary inquiry in epistemology. As I have said before and will say again, we placed Socrates’s first step in knowing, I know nothing, at the end of what has amounted to a masquerade in the inquiry into knowledge–what is the nature of, what are the sources of, what are the limits of knowledge. We conclude today that we know nothing at the end of our inquiry into knowing, thus we doubt that knowledge is possible. Revolutions in philosophy–or should I say among philosophers–affect quite different changes among the masses. We have given power just what it needs to become more powerful, for monied elites to become more monied, more elite.
Each of us mutes the prophet in himself or herself. We do murder our prophets, they cannot be packaged on TV. Murdering to dissect prophecy? We then think we understand, and in our folly, we imagine ourselves wise. We hold up nothing with our acumen, an Emperor’s New Clothes of Intelligence and Education. What does prophecy have to do with knowledge? Facts in themselves are never knowledge, I used to say; but then I continued to say knowledge in itself is not wisdom.
Where is this wisdom I’ve been waiting for? I have led myself to believe that I would not mock the man who made it out of Plato’s cave to see the world by the light of day–I used to imagine myself this cave dweller making his way out of his world of shadows. I have led myself to believe that I would not prefer the shadows of Plato’s cave to the sight of things in the light. Today, we are all of us in our caves. My room is a cave; our offices are caves; the classrooms across America everywhere are caves. Cave dwellers, all, day in and day in again.