An informal proof of Plato's Theory of Forms
by Andrew G. Watters
I think that the platonic realm is real. Here are my reasons.
Reason number one: the extraordinary creative period in music and film from around 1950 to around 2000, which produced numerous musical pieces and feature films that are now considered all-time classics.
Can you imagine Back to the Future being made today? I can't. How about All That Jazz? Definitely not. 12 Angry Men? Pulp Fiction? Any of the IMDB top 250? With the exception of a handful of films made since 2000 (i.e., the Dark Knight trilogy), I can't imagine any of those films being made today unless Christopher Nolan is making them. In music, can you imagine music without The Beatles? Will there ever be another group like The Beatles?
Reason number two: the democratization of content creation since 2000 has diminished the quality of content overall, suggesting that only truly gifted individuals possess the ability to access the platonic realm, and not the mass market.
You only need to look at the dearth of quality content on Netflix to conclude that not everyone should be a filmmaker. There are people out there telling garbage stories that make no sense and do nothing but capitalize on mass market drama.
Reason number three: truly gifted individuals have a limitless ability to access the platonic realm and capture forms that are floating in some type of universal ether.
Much like how a gifted computer programmer is many times better than an average computer programmer, an expert writer/artist with a gifted imagination is not just better than a novice-- they are 1,000 times better than a novice. And the Greatest of All Time is 1,000 times better than a typical expert. The GOAT writer would be William Shakespeare, and with that as a standard, it's obvious that perfection (at least in work product) is attainable.
Reason number four: life in the present is too perfect to be random; yet life is too seemingly random to result in the continued progress that has accelerated in the last century and is only continuing.
We live in the future, and the future turned out not to be like the one in Blade Runner. In November 2019, violent crime was at the lowest rate in the preceding 60 years, unlike in Blade Runner. In November 2019, many other metrics were at optimal levels, such as education, access to knowledge, poverty, and other measures of a society making progress.
Reason number five: the economic incentives today are tilted in favor of mass market appeal, thereby discouraging the creation of art, thereby reducing the possibility that today's Michelangelo will escape art from raw materials. Despite this, true artists still exist, they are just lost in the noise.
I was looking for office furniture the other day and I stumbled upon Designs by Rudy. This guy is making concrete and steel boardroom tables that are far beyond anyone else that I've seen. This guy is so gifted it's unbelievable. Your standard office furniture simply does not compare, which begs the question: how are people like this found in a sea of mediocrity? I don't know, but it sure seems like there's a lot more noise these days than in prior decades.
Reason number six: the twentieth century was the most important period in human history and World War II was the most important conflict in human history, thereby suggesting that there was something special about the twentieth century.
Whatever it is, it is the reason the 20th century was the most important time period ever. It can't be the mere existence of film or recorded music as such, since those were invented in the 19th century. It appears to be the mass availability of instant communication, which drastically accelerated the ability to get things done and drastically reduced the inefficiencies of prior communication. Although the telegraph was invented in the 19th century, regular people didn't have access to instant communication for their own purposes until the telephone became common in the 20th century. Instant communication over long distances appears to be it. It brought us closer than ever before to other people, reducing the burden of communication and making it easy. It is consistent with the platonic ideal of a hive mind.
Reason number seven: people who get glimpses of the future either have an extremely strong imagination or an actual ability to access the platonic realm and see possible futures.
Are they crazy or are they gifted? Hard to say. I'm talking about people who claim to see the future. My best guess, since I have this ability as well, is that imagination and pattern recognition combine to enable persons with this...condition to recognize when they have seen a pattern that is possible in the future. So I'm not saying that I or anyone else can see the actual future. I'm just saying that some people can see glimpses of possible futures. The future is a platonic form and becomes real through a combination of chance, luck, and free will in the form of people's choices.
Reason number eight: the manifest destiny of the United States of America, having arisen from a blank slate and proved through trial by combat with the then-greatest empire in the world, shows that America is a platonic ideal.
This subject has been written about countless times, and I feel like I can't add much to the discussion. What I can say is that the idea of America, separate and apart from the actual USA, is a platonic ideal form.
Reason number nine: the continued shared belief that America is the land of opportunity, freedom, liberty, and justice, and having it be in large part true, shows that America is a platonic ideal.
There are many ways in which the USA is imperfect. "Opportunity" is available to all. "Freedom/liberty" is available to all. Justice...that's a tough one because the justice system here is seriously screwed up. But honestly, the justice system in the U.S. is probably better than 99% of the world. Is that overcome by the way the U.S. excels in other areas? Probably, although I have a biased view since I see too much of the justice system in my work.
Reason number ten: America and truth have become synonymous, which leads to the conclusion that America is the realization of an ideal form. The USA is not perfect, but the continued pursuit of perfection and ideals shows that idealism is the truth. A portion of the platonic realm has become real, and the realization is imperfect, thereby proving Plato's theory of forms.
One tenet of the theory of forms is that a real object will never be as perfect as the platonic form. That's definitely true with the USA. As we strive for a more perfect Union and to continue to pursue excellence, I think everyone should keep in mind that the less imperfect the realization is, the closer we will come to "liberty and justice for all."
© 2023 Andrew G. Watters
Last updated: May 28, 2022 08:37:33