Looking at the Shadows in the Cave

“Yes,” Dr. Malone went on, “they know we’re here. They answer back. And here goes the crazy part: you can’t see them unless you expect to. Unless you put your mind in a certain state. You have to be confident and relaxed at the same time. You have to be capable- Where’s that quotation …”

She reached into the muddle of papers on her desk and found a scrap on which someone had written with a green pen. She read:

” ‘… Capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.’ You have to get into that state of mind. That’s from the poet Keats, by the way. I found it the other day. So you get yourself in the right state of mind, and then you look at the Cave-“

“The cave?” said Lyra.

“Oh, sorry. The computer. We call it the Cave. Shadows on the walls of the Cave, you see, from Plato. That’s our archaeologist again. He’s an allaround intellectual. But he’s gone off to Geneva for a job interview, and I don’t suppose for a moment he’ll be back…. Where was I? Oh, the Cave, that’s right. Once you’re linked up to it, if you think, the Shadows respond. There’s no doubt about it. The Shadows flock to your thinking like birds….”


A computer named "the cave" where users look into the shadows displayed on it and it reflects their thinking. Named for Plato's Cave, it also sounds like Tarot readings; however, in the context of the story, there is something supernatural at work too.

Folksonomies: fantasy supernatural cave plato

/technology and computing/hardware/computer (0.689129)
/art and entertainment/books and literature/poetry (0.500015)
/science/social science/philosophy (0.500003)

cave (0.964594 (positive:0.376036)), shadows (0.817625 (positive:0.449768)), Shadows respond (0.804225 (neutral:0.000000)), Shadows flock (0.788926 (positive:0.461789)), Dr. Malone (0.784338 (neutral:0.000000)), Tarot readings (0.766116 (neutral:0.000000)), poet Keats (0.744608 (neutral:0.000000)), green pen (0.738556 (negative:-0.659010)), certain state (0.735254 (neutral:0.000000)), job interview (0.715374 (neutral:0.000000)), right state (0.699854 (positive:0.514454)), mind (0.649951 (positive:0.514454)), Plato (0.629337 (neutral:0.000000)), thinking (0.614840 (positive:0.461789)), muddle (0.577053 (negative:-0.659010)), uncertainties (0.564082 (negative:-0.322828)), Lyra (0.563191 (positive:0.217948)), doubts (0.562044 (negative:-0.491306)), quotation (0.559346 (neutral:0.000000)), archaeologist (0.553786 (neutral:0.000000)), doubt (0.553757 (negative:-0.255835)), users (0.551945 (neutral:0.000000)), context (0.551728 (neutral:0.000000)), story (0.551177 (neutral:0.000000)), work (0.551058 (negative:-0.557467)), scrap (0.550900 (negative:-0.659010)), time (0.550168 (positive:0.867290)), desk (0.548784 (negative:-0.659010)), moment (0.548614 (negative:-0.290784)), mysteries (0.547932 (neutral:0.000000))

Plato:Person (0.735235 (neutral:0.000000)), Dr. Malone:Person (0.471533 (neutral:0.000000)), Lyra:Person (0.425638 (positive:0.217948)), Keats:Person (0.420507 (neutral:0.000000)), Geneva:City (0.401893 (neutral:0.000000))

Thought (0.931006): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Cognition (0.882701): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Mind (0.753545): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
English-language films (0.712341): dbpedia
Epistemology (0.699666): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Psychology (0.689443): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Logic (0.671055): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Reason (0.665654): dbpedia | freebase

 The Subtle Knife
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Pullman , Philip (2002-09-30), The Subtle Knife, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, Retrieved on 2011-08-10
Folksonomies: fiction atheism fantasy theism