Primates in Plato's Cave
by Charles Rocco
This project, inspired by the Allegory of Plato's Cave, was originally conceived, developed and employed as a background audio chant supporting one of my sculpture installations. The theme explores the fragile state of a 21st century civilisation less than adequately undertaking its responsibilities as a global guardian, competently and compassionately overseeing the welfare of this planet and all its living organisms.
If you are unfamiliar with the Allegory of Plato's Cave you will find an excellent summary at:
Anam Lodhi @ Thoughts and Ideas
Primates in Plato's Cave
FUNDAMENTALS INFRASTRUCTURES GLOBAL INTERACTIONS TRANSITIONS
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If a definition isn't displayed owing to its esoteric nature it can be found in the unabridged OED
“If your train’s on the wrong track,
every station you come to is the wrong station.”
Bernard Malamud 1963
- 000 Prolifix (reproduction)
- 049 Progeny (offspring)
- 105 Insides Out (ingesting)
- 141 Tents and Temples (shelter)
- 213 Mammon's Mantra (finance)
It’s in our genes to fornicate.
A pleasure we much advocate.
Males rampant with machismo gait
while most females self-decorate.
Small tits implants exaggerate.
Armpits and legs, we depilate.
Ply creams so skin won’t corrugate
and blemishes don’t replicate.
Wield loofahs to exfoliate,
add rich scents to infatuate.
With baubles bright that pendulate
in efforts to become ornate.
From heads protrude our ears lobate
with pins and studs we can punctate
and dangle earrings: orbs prolate;
the same both sides to counterweight.
And draped across our omoplate,
gold necklaces with charms lunate.
On fingers, stones of silicate
that jewellers facet and serrate.
Wristlets the size of a vamplate
complete our task to titillate.
The sole goal just to illustrate
personas that can captivate.
We pucker up and osculate
preparing to inseminate.
Fast comes the time to penetrate.
We clinch secure and consummate.
When swimming sperm capacitate
the female seed can germinate.
A nine-month sentence to gestate
in warm dark caves that incubate.
The bulging tummy we palpate
and feel a being palpitate.
The swollen breasts start to lactate.
New life begins to maturate.
With great success we procreate.
Hold lovingly our neonate
and back slap to congratulate
the ease with which we propagate.
Though if we’re gay instead of straight
or just prefer to masturbate,
men can their penis elongate
and harmlessly ejaculate.
Or women can the hips gyrate
and with a dildo self-vibrate.
Then sperm and eggs stay inchoate
and children won’t proliferate.
Us kids that do eventuate
wave chubby fingers digitate.
Our little feet folks titivate.
We squirm and squeal and cachinnate.
Our parents note each unique trait
and each one they enumerate.
Our comfort they facilitate.
Their lives to us they dedicate.
Our first names we abbreviate.
For Katerina call me Kate,
Ignatius is condensed to Nate
or Iggy should you be a mate.
Our birth records they laminate.
Our nurseries they constellate.
Against most germs they vaccinate.
They’re thorough to inoculate.
We each become a state inmate.
We’re sent to schools that educate,
though some would say indoctrinate,
and with peers we confederate.
Chrome braces for our mouths dentate.
To stop decay we fluoridate.
Pains our mums ameliorate,
abrasions they iodinate.
Each year we grin for our portrait
to document our fast growth rate.
Fad diets to control our weight,
replace sugar with cyclamate.
For culture one trip to the Tate.
In sport some bones we dislocate.
Take tests teachers invigilate
and learn how to procrastinate.
In English told to lucubrate,
instructed when to hyphenate,
in math we’re taught to tabulate
and times-tables ingeminate.
Learn languages we mistranslate,
in history events that predate,
in chemistry lixiviate,
in music how to syncopate.
Boys weird out with skulls cucullate.
For A.D.D. we medicate.
Stray cats we like to lapidate.
Frail weaklings we excruciate.
Meanwhile young girls start to pupate
till we emerge as ripe jailbait.
By twelve it’s time to menstruate.
For forty years we’ll ovulate.
Safe sex pamphlets elucidate
about how we should conjugate.
Our parents we alienate.
We seek to individuate.
Into adults we’ll graduate
and in most ways just imitate
the homes where we originate,
so, cycles thus perpetuate.
Insides Out (ingesting)
in most foods that we masticate.
Our drinks the makers caffeinate:
we think this will rejuvenate.
It doesn’t take a diplomate
to know we shouldn’t drink phosphate.
Don’t smoke, detox, decaffeinate;
use diets that desalinate.
With good food we capacitate.
Eat badly, we dilapidate.
Food oils we hydrogenate.
Kill fungi with Merthiolate.
When wanting to exhilarate
it’s common to intoxicate
with alcohols that lubricate:
fermented from the vines baccate.
But after all we drank and ate
we ingest much bicarbonate.
As stomach ulcers aggravate
our mouth glands start to salivate.
We loudly belch and flatulate.
Cascades we then regurgitate.
Leave puddles where we urinate
then wait in queues to defecate.
In slurred speech we alliterate.
Our throbbing dull heads acerbate.
For fast relief we aspirate
a few breaths of amyl nitrate.
We pop some pills to stimulate
nerve systems to accelerate.
We like to soar and elevate
to worlds beyond those of our fate.
Or search for something to sedate
and help us to eradicate
the demons we hallucinate
in darkened realms within our pate.
Tents & Temples (shelter)
The social structures we create;
clear boundaries delineate.
The rich from poor will insulate
in regions of prime real estate.
We’re safe behind a stately gate.
Steel bars the craftsmen lanceolate.
With rich motifs they foliate:
in copper they electroplate.
Stone columns on a stylobate
accent façades we crenellate.
High towers we can fenestrate
and ramparts we machicolate.
Our in-ground pools we chlorinate.
Twee gardens caretakers curate.
Our worries just evaporate
as guests, in awe, felicitate.
Our riches help us levitate,
to heights where we luxuriate
in rooms of marble and glazed slate
that chandeliers irradiate.
The unwelcome can’t infiltrate
these lavish chateaus Latinate
where decorators floriate
and fresh brewed coffees percolate.
These palaces instantiate
the wealth that we accumulate.
A life of lords we simulate.
No way will we die intestate.
Our money we can fecundate:
to own the best, ours to dictate.
This role we will not abdicate.
Our comforts we’ll not abnegate.
On holidays we aviate
to beaches where we estivate.
Lounge in the sun with our comate.
Relax so we don’t herniate.
But those who can’t participate
towards middle class will gravitate.
To drab suburbs we’ll relocate:
We dutifully domesticate
and fence disputes we arbitrate;
to mortgages capitulate
and on consumer goods fixate.
Devotedly we renovate.
In heated spas we macerate
and hope we’ll never liquidate.
In slums, the poorer populate;
exposed to rents that strangulate.
Cold flats where heat don’t radiate
and bleak nights make breath condensate.
We ask landlords to fumigate:
the vermin to exterminate.
In pantries roaches nauseate
and filthy rats intimidate.
From noise the walls reverberate.
The neighbours’ fights reiterate.
The airless hallways suffocate.
Five door locks we must situate.
Still worse, we that itinerate;
our shelters we’ve had to vacate.
Soup kitchens graciously donate
the hot meals we ingurgitate.
Most druggies cannot motivate
enough to rehabilitate.
Drunks find it hard to moderate
a fondness to inebriate.
And on the streets gangs demarcate,
select turfs and consolidate.
New members we initiate.
Trespassers we assassinate.
Mammon’s Mantra (finance)
Small industries amalgamate
and streamlined now we operate:
outsource, downsize and automate.
Competition we obliterate.
From this, huge profits emanate.
Stockholders hail the chief magnate:
a demigod we adulate
although he’s found to peculate.
Since companies self-regulate
their price tags tend to escalate
which leaves us all to contemplate
outstanding debts as they inflate.
Big chain stores have funds to regrate
which helps us to potentiate.
False bargains interpenetrate
consumers who desiderate.
Some financiers prognosticate
on spending we should concentrate,
but others strongly intimate
it makes more sense to curb the spate.
On markets, punters speculate;
hope dividends quadruplicate.
A windfall we anticipate.
Our surplus needs we satiate.
Though if the bank should designate
we’ve nothing to hypothecate
we need not rant and get irate.
Bankruptcy we can auspicate.
- 241 Prize Dunces & Prime Miniatures (governance)
- 281 Applied Energy (work)
- 325 Mediacrity (the media)
- 413 In Practice (law & order)
Prize Dunces & Prime Miniatures (governance)
As leaders we just barely rate.
We narrowly habilitate.
By any means we dominate
with cover-ups like Watergate.
To rule supreme our one mandate.
Each one of us a potentate.
The world is ours we estimate.
The good that’s done we then negate.
With colleagues we collaborate,
but treat the rest like excess freight.
We bully and manipulate
and choose not to negotiate.
Our custom to prevaricate:
an instinct in our genes innate.
Deception is a skill connate.
For these sins we will not lustrate.
A lot of crap we fabricate,
reality we obfuscate,
the vital facts we expurgate
and falsehoods we enunciate.
Unbridled greed we instigate.
Vast funds we misappropriate.
We take, but fail to compensate.
These acts we always exculpate.
In question time equivocate
and with straight faces nuncupate.
Ignore those who interpellate.
Long-term goals we abominate.
The voters we conciliate.
At conferences confabulate.
Amendments we intercalate.
In question time we hibernate.
Opposing thoughts, we denigrate,
though like minds we can tolerate.
We love those who ingratiate
and help us to re-nominate.
Two fingers high that bifurcate
from all the crowds that execrate
this growing global feudal state
where overlords officiate.
Applied Energy (work)
All creatures that are vertebrate
must work until lungs crepitate.
The weekly grind we punctuate
with weekends that invigorate.
In fair times we could federate
in unions that would regulate
and make the bosses obligate
to wage scales, we would help prorate.
If wronged we could expostulate
and sweat shops we’d inactivate
until the bosses expiate
and profits fairly integrate.
As populations pullulate
and work places de-regulate
employers we propitiate;
the paymaster, a cold cheapskate.
We now closely approximate
the slaves we used to castigate.
Our hands from hard work vesicate.
Taskmasters we calumniate.
Our pay packets we calibrate
so, debt we don’t exacerbate
and bankers can’t expropriate
possessions that we aggregate.
We hope that we can compensate
our incomes with a tax rebate
to partially alleviate
the bottom lines we rubricate.
Employment ads fantasticate.
Remunerations they misstate.
Make false claims and interpolate.
The overtime they understate.
Those of us that matriculate
hope that we’ll be a candidate
for jobs that we associate
with offices that coruscate.
Superb CV’s we paginate;
at interviews excogitate.
Our strengths we strongly iterate
and loyalty we predicate.
The unemployed in lines rotate.
We’ve exceeded our use-by-date.
This puts us in a dire strait.
Our self-worth it can vitiate.
Mediacrity (the media)
Airheads like to uncomplicate.
Our brain mass we choose to deflate;
elated to decerebrate;
delighted to decorticate.
We’ve no need to sophisticate.
We’re happy with our heads hastate.
From branch to branch we brachiate
and treat life like a gala fête.
The media all syndicate
In hopes ratings will triplicate.
Hyperboles we circulate.
Reality we underrate.
Truth, at times, we annihilate.
In-depth news we abbreviate,
complex facts we adulterate,
and skewed views we disseminate.
On gossip we exuberate.
Paparazzi we remunerate.
Remarks we can’t substantiate
bring libel suits to litigate.
Our minds we tend to passivate.
With partial news we corroborate
what we choose to communicate
to friends with whom we ideate.
For hours we can vegetate;
in front of screens our eyes dilate.
Gulp down beers we refrigerate
then to the loo to micturate.
With TV sport we recreate.
When our team scores we much elate.
But should it lose we fulminate
so much we hyperventilate.
Late breaking news will indicate
infernos that incinerate,
hot lava flows that granulate,
skyscrapers that disintegrate.
The internet’s a place to skate.
This labyrinth can fascinate.
A billion sites concatenate
while trying to dissimilate.
Towards sex sites we can deviate;
watch all and sundry copulate.
In skin flicks sadists flagellate
or on a face expectorate.
View sites where porn stars personate;
perform sex acts that consternate.
Contortions that necessitate
the Karma Sutra to translate.
Finger nails girls variegate.
With flair and poise they exuviate.
Seductive lips they miniate
imply they’re happy to fellate.
To further help our glands pulsate
on social sites we acclimate.
With words we can impersonate;
be anyone we stipulate.
No one need know we’re overweight
or suffer from a weak prostate.
Ourselves on-line we re-create
without the flaws our friends berate.
Our strengths we can accentuate
without need to authenticate.
These strangers to whom we narrate
will never meet us tête-a-tête.
As bloggers we can validate
views that others repudiate.
On points of fact pontificate
and generally, just ventilate.
Our hard disks over-populate
with games designed to scintillate.
Their hardness levels we gradate:
some easy, some infuriate.
Into strange scenes we immigrate
where avatars peregrinate.
We meet fierce foes sent to frustrate.
Our goal is to reciprocate.
These scoundrels we must obviate,
but countless duels end in stalemate.
To cyber-hell we relegate
slain zombies who then duplicate.
When losing we vociferate
and seek to disaffiliate.
We check the scores to correlate
then shun the game and terminate.
It’s hard to differentiate
what’s real and what we just conflate.
Our lives just seem to emulate
the fiction we prefabricate.
In Practice (law & order)
Our legal systems formulate
that law and order permeate.
With victims we commiserate.
False clues often exasperate,
mistakenly may implicate,
but new facts then illuminate;
those wrongly charged they vindicate.
As villains we’re invertebrate.
Our skills we overestimate.
In flawed plans we miscalculate
and leave clues that incriminate.
Escapes we must precipitate
and so, we fast flee interstate.
Our lairs police triangulate
to capture and incarcerate.
Appointed is a magistrate
to manage and adjudicate
with ranks of lawyers to debate
and juries to incorporate.
So, trials we co-ordinate.
Grave charges we effectuate.
The purpose is to criminate
the lawbreakers we derogate.
Next prosecutors postulate
the prisoner is a reprobate
and further we insinuate
he’s only good for fishing bait.
Defence then tries to demonstrate
some factors that extenuate.
The jury must appreciate
this miscreant’s a retardate.
In closing, lawyers inculcate
the jury to exonerate.
But prosecutors perorate
a guilty verdict, actuate.
The twelve jurors then sequestrate.
We’re told not to discriminate;
the gory details explicate
and evidence evaluate.
Behind closed doors we altercate;
decide the fate of this ingrate.
The heinous crimes we quantitate.
The rights from wrongs we calculate.
For hot tea breaks we impetrate.
All facts we recapitulate.
Choose one to intermediate;
the verdict to articulate.
- 461 Planet Plunder (environment)
- 533 Ends to Means (conflicts)
Planet Plunder (the environment)
Whole forests we defoliate.
Grand old-growth trees chainsaws truncate.
Our lush wetlands we desiccate.
Green grasslands we deracinate.
With muck our rivers constipate.
Our reservoirs now exsiccate.
Vast oceans we contaminate.
Once pristine lakes coagulate.
Hectares of woods we conflagrate,
replaced with fields we irrigate
and grossly over-cultivate
to grow peas that we dehydrate.
Our farms we supersaturate
with kilos of superphosphate,
encourage plants to pollinate,
but spray so they don’t verminate.
Huge dams cause valleys to hydrate.
These lakes now form a new substrate
where bees no longer bombilate
and birds cannot nidificate.
The polar ice shelves fractionate.
Warm air won’t let them regelate.
For fur, seals we excoriate
in numbers that depopulate.
In jungles hunters ambulate
and rifle sites we collimate.
The loud shots discombobulate;
rare beasts we incapacitate.
Huge schools of fish we desquamate,
we fillet and we decollate.
Their egg sacs we evaginate:
indulge ourselves on roe ovate.
Crustaceans with claws serrulate
are dredged up by the hundredweight.
Then cooked ’til pink, cookbooks notate.
Their limbs we disarticulate.
Grain fed pigs we eviscerate.
Their limbs and head we obtruncate
The unctuous lard, machines quadrate.
Pork crackling, we decrepitate.
The cries of sheep arpeggiate.
We slaughter and exsanguinate.
The meat with herbs we impregnate.
For warmth their wool we flocculate.
Plump poultry we decapitate.
Their eggs we transilluminate.
Internal glands we levigate;
chopped liver pâté on a plate.
Tame cattle herds we decimate.
Our feet their skins encapsulate.
The meat in wine we marinate
then char it on a barbie grate.
Leeched soils slowly salinate.
Our drinking water we filtrate.
The air fouled with particulate
from gases that we generate.
The green groups that we delegate
to save, restore and depurate,
with vigour they expostulate
and on our wrongs expatiate.
and politicians defalcate.
Protection bills are edentate.
Their strength to change we overrate.
It’s right to decontaminate.
But tricky to vaticinate
when that age we’ll denominate.
Much wildlife we devastate
as habitats attenuate.
Extinction rates we festinate.
All sanctity we violate.
Ends to Means (global conflict)
Around the world we navigate,
inclined to want to subjugate.
Those allied we legitimate.
The others we vituperate.
Endless treaties to seriate
as our alliances fluctuate.
When all else fails we spoliate
with swarms of weapons sagittate.
with solar panels aureate.
Antenna clusters decussate
at altitudes that de-aerate.
Our job to disambiguate
and sovereign states impenetrate
in order to predestinate
how best our foes to urticate.
In vales that gently undulate,
in forests where winds susurrate,
in streets that pavers tessellate
we have no qualms to militate.
In deserts where winds triturate,
in fields canals reticulate,
in lands oceans peninsulate
we’re likely to extravagate.
Our missiles poised to extirpate.
All life, with death, we saturate.
The past we foully desecrate.
The future we appropriate.
Despite how much some remonstrate
we force our foes’ lives to mutate.
Dear valuables we confiscate.
The hearts and minds we lacerate.
Surreptitiously we jugulate.
The innocent we inculpate.
Reward those that tergiversate
and those that don’t we immolate.
Mass graves the tractors excavate.
Distorted corpses in a crate.
Still, others in the dirt prostrate:
our bodies bullets perforate.
Shocked parents yowl and ululate;
their children’s screams full resonate,
at least those that resuscitate.
The rest authorities cremate.
Crushed prisoners we interrogate,
we prod and poke and fustigate.
The enfeebled we emasculate
just purely to humiliate.
In dark cells souls etiolate.
Such actions families deprecate.
We plead, but captors objurgate
with no desire to placate.
Appendages are placed pronate
and currents through them commutate.
Then once allowed to transmigrate
each soul becomes a runagate.
The conquerors self-coronate
and place upon a stereobate
stone statues to commemorate
their triumph to dissimulate.
The victors’ actions indurate
the hearts of those who emigrate.
Our loathing we’ll not modulate
nor with these raiders mediate.
So, refugees expatriate.
Passports officials annotate.
We hope that at some future date
we exiles can repatriate.
Some stateless won’t habituate
and choose to dissociate:
displaced, forced to evacuate,
Of those some will retaliate;
procure potassium nitrate
and timers that can detonate
homemade bombs meant to deflagrate.
Vengeance we premeditate
and gracelessly recriminate.
We’re not inclined to sublimate.
We’re maggots that engorge on hate.
- 613 Soul Salve (belief systems)
- 675 Curling Up (dying)
- 743 Candide's Lament
- 765 Step out into the light
Soul Salve (belief systems)
We’ve ample gods to venerate
who don’t much help us mitigate
transgressions that we perpetrate:
the evils that we machinate.
Whatever faiths we nominate
have sacred laws we promulgate
and rituals we orchestrate
in temples that we consecrate.
For help, to gods we invocate.
In chorus skyward, we phonate.
Our ills we pray to palliate.
Of ancient times we’re derivate.
Good Catholics transubstantiate.
Our God divine we trifurcate.
In churches we conglobulate.
The Testaments we indagate.
The Pope lives in his city-state.
Archbishops wield rods uncinate.
These chaste men of the First Estate
reluctant to impropriate.
Profane we excommunicate,
The zealot strives as an oblate.
From Protestants we segregate
because they consubstantiate.
Jews are the chosen, we orate.
Observe laws of the rabbinate.
Once baby boys attain day eight
Their pink foreskins we amputate.
Towards Mecca Muslims supplicate.
The Qur’an we transliterate.
Obey codes of the Imamate.
A kaleidoscopic caliphate.
All Buddhists calmly meditate.
Round prayer wheels circumambulate.
Protesting monks self-immolate:
consuming flames asphyxiate.
Hindus seek to reincarnate.
A wealth of gods we animate.
At Thaipusam we celebrate.
Bad karma’s bound to ruinate.
Zoroastrians to fire relate.
Quakers prefer to rusticate.
To Taoists opposites equate.
Hari Krishnas tintinnabulate.
Rastafarians all cantillate
that Selassie is God incarnate.
Fundamentalists don’t innovate.
With nature Wiccans affiliate.
Astrologers read charts stellate.
Black Pagans tend to imprecate.
Good witches mix up mithridate.
Empaths seek spirits discarnate.
Creationists all intonate
and piously asseverate
God, from clay, did agglutinate
the man from whom we’re all agnate.
Charismatics in tents jubilate.
Agnostics for hard proof we wait.
J’s Witnesses just irritate
with door knocking that won’t abate.
And Atheists extrapolate,
The universe is insensate.
Religions only dissipate
our skills to ratiocinate.
Curling Up (dying)
In time old age will inundate.
Our bodies it will antiquate.
Decay fails to de-escalate.
Employment we must abrogate.
Our positions bosses subrogate.
We’re made to superannuate.
Sent home where we deteriorate.
When young we fail to cogitate
at some point we will culminate.
To think we might decelerate;
beyond us to deliberate.
Thought processes degenerate.
Ideas fragment and divagate.
Confusing notions agitate.
A focused view we can’t locate.
Yet further still we enervate.
Spent legs inclined to vacillate.
From side to side our spines librate.
To stand we need a strong helpmate.
Translucent skins become bullate.
Green crusty scabs appear crispate.
Landscapes of pimples pustulate.
Thick yellow liquids suppurate.
Internal leaks of exudate
as white blood cells extravasate.
Bruised tired eyelids nictitate.
Blurred cloudy eyes obnubilate.
Flawed organs deoxygenate.
Dry scaly windpipes ulcerate.
We sound like snakes that sibilate
and grasshoppers: they stridulate.
Dim hearts commence to fibrillate
so, doses doctors metricate
in quantities we manducate
to help our thin blood inspissate.
On screens our life signs oscillate.
From wires we can’t separate.
Both forearms pale and supinate
are pierced with needles subulate.
Our bedside nurses imbricate
a host of charts that adumbrate
while guts, surgeons invaginate
and arteries inosculate.
Facilities they sanitate.
Lungs, plastic tents oxygenate.
Down our throats doctors intubate.
The rot they try to isolate.
Still further we debilitate.
No known cure will emancipate.
On what has passed we ruminate.
To change things now is way too late.
Blood relatives don’t hesitate
to make the point that they’re cognate.
They want the sick to die testate
and gift all assets at probate.
Detached physicians dissertate
as final stages depredate.
For paddles they gesticulate;
one last try to defibrillate.
There’s no chance we’ll recuperate.
No way will we regenerate
and awesomely eliminate
the ailments that emaciate.
Accept raw facts; we’re in checkmate.
All thoughts of life subordinate.
From mortal coils extricate.
The humming flatlines liberate.
We dance in circles, hands palmate,
like marionettes with heads nutate.
Opinions we’re loathe to update;
spewed out in public tongues vulgate.
Our world view we pixelate.
Those different we invalidate.
Those like us we accommodate;
reluctant to desegregate.
Resistant to acculturate
and biases deconcentrate.
False gods we don’t deconsecrate.
Our Mother Earth we fast ablate.
Wreck anything that’s half sensate.
Through telescopes we now spectate
and seek spheres where we can instate.
Our plan to build spacecraft peltate
and from our globe flee festinate;
in lengthy convoys we’ll tailgate
to find new orbs to mutilate.
Step Out into the Light
In Plato’s cave we congregate
content to be the top primate.
Our size, cast shadows overstate.
In light of day, we’re far less great.
It’s time we seek a new template.
© Charles Rocco 2018 🔺
The moral right of Charles Rocco to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
This work remains the copyrighted property of the author and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.