Allegory of the Cave (Plato) and How It Compares to the African American Community

Sometimes we are poisonous to our own people. 

There once was a young boy named Eric who dreamed of one day making it big. He dreamed of mansions and cars and freshly cooked Sunday night dinners. His parents worked hard to keep their family together and he was often left to raise himself in the downtrodden streets of the inner city. Eric spent the first year of high school skipping class and getting high in the bathrooms. He was good with numbers, they flew through his head like music notes and he used them to buy an entourage. His friends were soon like brothers in arms, fighting against the man and whoever else dared to keep them down. While they loved him, his parents cracked but never wavered due to a shred of hope that their hard work would soon pay off in that he would live past eighteen.

After a night of danger and sticky red hands left one friend dead and another in jail, Eric makes the decision to get his life together. His skipping school days are behind him. Books and highlighters become his new best friends and good times shooting ball on the courts fade away. His parents, still fighting their own beasts of debt, forget the pat on the back. He struggles and fails but is determined to achieve his goals.

Years later he graduates from high school with a higher than stellar gpa and scholarships  for college. He excels through college, graduating in the top of his class. His parents are older now with withered hands and sad eyes but finally proud. His heart breaks as cancer eats at his fathers pride but he keeps his head up and makes promises. His parents nod and smile, they know where they come from and no one they grew up with had ever made it out. The rays of the sun have beaten their souls and the shackles of life have torn them apart.

Eric started as an intern, with pressed collars and loafers. He learned the walk and took pride in his ability to stride. He rose through the ranks and soon a placard with his name etched in gold lines the door and desk of a corner office. He buys his parents a new house and he pays for their bills. Their eyes light up as the final grasps of freedom can be felt with their finger tips.

Back home, despite his attempts to give back to the community that raised him, Eric’s old buddies curse his name. They spit on his shoes and call him a traitor. How dare he make a better man out of himself? They ask him who he thinks he is and refused to take his so-called charity. Estranged family members, who’d dapped in between video game wins, now show up with hands out stretched and angry faces. You owe us, we had circumstances. Blood means give. After dishing out all he can bare to give, Eric is worn down and even though they see his bleeding eyes they keep asking for more. Eventually he retreats back to his office and donates from afar. He’s got places to go and promises to keep. Now with a family of his own, he’s the man in charge and makes sure his kids know what it means to give to others but not give until there is nothing left.

While reading The Allegory of the Cave, something really struck home for me. You might think that I would glean something about religion or believing the government’s lies but my thoughts went down another path. I thought about the prisoners in the cave as us, African Americans and the shadows on the walls as the so called truths we’ve been fed from others about ourselves. Outside opinions that we take on faith because it’s been ingrained in our upbringing.

We, as black people, have been oppressed, yes. We’ve been beaten down, run over and held back. We’ve been taught about the violence of our own people, warned against the false intelligence of our own people and suspicious of our own people. Generations trickled self hatred and ignorance. We poured the inability to rise above our limitations down the throats of our youth and branded anyone who squeezed through the cracks a deceiver, a Judas, an Uncle Tom.

For generations we have been stuck in this phase of anger. It is all the evidence we need to believe that we are stunted. We have a fixed mindset of what the truth is. To some, the truth is that we can not make it. We dream to, we aspire to but do we honestly believe we can? The shadows on the walls of our ancestors who couldn’t fight back make no noise due to their stolen voices. We watch them with our heads locked forward unable to turn away from the lull. When one of us dares to break free of his chains we smile and nod but block out the noise of their excitement. He will be back, we say and we continue to stare at the shapes stretching before us.

He begins his journey, continuously pulled down and degraded by his own people. As he struggles forward, he starts to believe. I can make it! No one believed me but I did it! He returns to the cave, staring up at the shapes of his ancestors, hoping to enlighten his peers. Look, look what I’ve done! I told you this could happen. Come, join me. They deny him.

Do we expect to fail? How many times do we trash our wealthy brothers and sisters just for making better decisions in life than we did? Especially the ones who come from our same streets. The ones that we can’t use the excuse ‘they had it better than me’. How many times do we say ‘I knew he’d be back’ when one of our own returns to the nest after failing their great try?

Another thing that hit me was that this goes both ways. Will he remember how hard it was for him to see others succeed? After he’s achieved his goals and reached the top tier, does he say to himself “I understand how they feel, I remember being that kid that would say ‘this old black man with his tailored suits just don’t get me!’ ” One thing that I wrote down while taking notes was “Eyes can be confused in two ways”.

Anyway, I know this was something different than what I usually do but I really wanted to share my thoughts on this. I’m not really one that will spend my time spouting about “The Man”, etc but this is something I definitely think about. This is one of the major reasons why I wanted to go back to college and finish my degree. I love to learn, to experience new things, new ways of thought. I’ve already opened my mind more than I thought possible and I still have far to go.

Please let me know what your thoughts are. Did you get this from The Allegory of the Cave? If not, what did you take from it?

Good Readance,
Jade

Book Review: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.

Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her.

Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has.

Alright, I admit it took me a really long time to read this book. Almost a month. Just as I was cracking the book open my college courses started. Always the one with her head in the clouds, I thought No, I won’t have any issue reading for entertainment while also trying to read class assignments. I was wrong. The Philosopher’s Way and Plato soon took over all of my free time. The only time I could find for personal reading was before work, during my lunch break and just before my eyes shut at night. That basically means I only read ten to fifteen pages at a time. My usual average is around fifty to ninety so this just makes me look sad. I didn’t want to stop though and took the book everywhere with me; to the doctors office, to work and to stand in line at Walmart.

Anyway, I really liked the book. Often times I caught myself wanting to tweet the author and say “Oh my god! They could totally be best friends!”. I loved the fact that you go back and forth between point of views. I didn’t like this sort of writing when I was younger but as I get older and hone my own writing style I appreciate the craftsmanship. The personality differences between Ellen and Saskia are so vast and you really get to see that. This way, you get the stalkers thoughts first hand and maybe, you don’t totally hate her.

the hypnotists love story

I would definitely recommend this book! If you are looking for an easy read that doesn’t have too many twists and turns this is for you! One part of the book I thought, there’s totally going to be some crazy plot twist that will have me on the edge of my seat and things turned out differently. No worries though, I did like the way the book ended. It was a pleasant story.

If you’ve read this book, if you liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions for me to read or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Happy Readance,
Jade

Link to Book

Hearing From You! My favorite people!

Questions!
I’d love to hear from you! Comment below! Please answer any of the questions below or feel free to ask any of your own.

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What do you like to read?
What’s your favorite genre?
Do you like to write? If so, what?
Have you read any of the books I’ve reviewed? New or older posts?
What books would you like to see reviewed?
Do you like the posts not related to reading and writing? If not, what would you like to see?

Jade

Reading for Self Betterment and Accomplishing Goals in 2018

Heya Readers,

I’ve been reading since I was a young child and, for the most part, it’s been for entertainment. I hardly ever read non-fiction. I always found it hard to find something that didn’t drone on like a history book. Lately, I’ve been really getting into biographies (autos) and non-fiction works and I think it’s because I’ve been seeking for something real. Something that will actually do something for my mental health. Don’t get me wrong, my love for fictional books (paranormal romance, thriller, psychological thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, general fiction, the list could go on) will never die but this is different.

I’ve been through a lot over the last few years. After the loss of my daughter last year (my second loss in two years) grief, depression, hurt, nights of crying myself to sleep, days of lethargy and more ruled my 2017. I am feeling better (Although I still cry when I think of her sometimes) and I plan to have a better 2018. I know that you can’t rush the healing process but it has been eight full months since I gave birth. I’m just ready to stop feeling so…down.

I’ve really been trying to take back control of my life. Last year I slacked off on a lot of things. My plans for weight loss, my strive to officially get a job in my career field (I tried to find the right fit and couldn’t and I didn’t try again, I’m embarrassed to say). After celebrating Cherchez La Vie this past December I listed several of these things on my goal list for the next six months. I’ve accomplished a few of them. I just got a new job and I’ve been attempting to figure out how I can work the gym into my new busy schedule.

As a child, I always wanted to be a writer. I thought the ability to spin stories and create new worlds, worlds better than the one I’d been living in, was a fascinating idea. I had a hard beginning and landed in foster care. Then I was adopted. It was tough and I still feel some of the residue of abandonment and rejection that was a huge part of my early years. Reading and writing were ways I could create something new. It could make the pain go away, it could make me feel wanted. Because…your characters never disappoint you right? Riiiiight.

Somewhere along the way I got distracted by the glamour of building design and the philanthropy of creating safe and envirnoment-friendly spaces for the homeless. It was a weird girlhood dream of mine, especially after a few months of HGTV and Extreme Home Make over (Move That Bus!). I studied hard and right out of high school I enrolled in college at the University of Kansas to get my master’s degree in Architecture. That was just a funny way of saying I was going to be stuck in school for six years. I loved it, for the short time I was there. I started out with reciprocity grants and scholarships, that only lasted for a while.

Attending school as an out of state student, without scholarships, would cost me nearly $30k a year. I eventually ran out of money and had to withdraw. That was six years ago. I was really upset about it in the beginning but decided not to drag me down. I moved to Florida; eighteen hour road trip with a friend, stretched over two days. I made new friends, I met my soulmate. I changed the course of my future even though I wasn’t sure how it would pan out.

My love for writing has never gone away, I have dreams and goals that, I feel, are bigger than me. I want to accomplish them. I am going to accomplish them. In 2018 I plan to set that into motion. Get a job in my career field, finish two books (WIP!), and continue my education. It will be tough but I’m sure that I can do it.

I have lived in Florida for three years now. This means that (exaggerated pause for effect) I can get instate tuition at the university here! I had no idea and I just happened to be sitting on the couch, watching TV when one of those commercials drew me in. You know, the ones that are like ‘Hey, do you want to finish your education?‘? Yes, one of those. The university here is actually pretty amazing, I’ve already been on campus. It’s literally a dream come true. That’s a major plan for self betterment that I’ve already put into motion. Less than two weeks from now I am starting my spring courses. I should graduate just over two years from now.  I’m getting my degree in English, with an emphasis in rhetoric and fiction writing.

Wow, obviously I talk a lot. Thanks for sticking around. I said all of that just to say  I’ve picked up Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (creator and writer of Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Scandal, etc). Shonda (as she’s so informally referred to on the inside flap) is an introvert, like me! She, too, has issues with public speaking and large crowds. The book is about how saying yes turned her life around. “Yes, I’ll do…” “Yes, I would love…” “Yes, I will show up to…”.

Year of Yes

I’ve actually already started it and am excited to tell you guys what I’m gleaning from her story. She has a particular voice that makes me feel empowered when reading it. This year, I am really trying to incorporate books that will help me live a better life, fuller life. Live life…in general. This is one of many on my list this year. So here we go.

By the way, if you’ve read this book and loved it, leave me a comment below! Tell me what you thought of it? Did it make you laugh? Did you smile? Are you an introvert like us? (Yes, that’s me referring to Shonda and I like we are best friends). What are your plans for a brighter future? Do you have any goals, big or small, that you want to accomplish this year? Are you in school now?

Happy Reading,

Jade

 

 

Link to Book