Precis: When Worlds Collide

Irigaray extends Plato's Allegory of the Cave into a Metaphor of the journey from the maternal womb towards the knowable father. Leaping over the wall to the paternal side of light, man is baffled by the wealth of truth he finds. He comes to see the cave, the womb, as merely shadows of an 'inferior' reality and soon despels and forgets it. Socrates saw the Light as the only pure reality. Irigaray counters that it is just a different reality, and by disregarding the cave, we distance ourselves of the opposite, equally valid, world of the maternal-cave. Instead of gaining the truth of both worlds, the symmetrical truths of male and female, according to Irigaray, we believe in only the male world of light. She argues that we undermine the maternal cave. We do not experience a camel for the first time when we see its corporeal presence in daylight. We already had an image of a camel by its shadow. Now we just have a different perspective of the same thing. Following such an idea, it is the maternal reality that shapes our interpretation of the world, regardless of the truth we imagine. Do not forget your time in the cave. Do not underestimate the value of female intellect. By integrating it with male knowledge, greater truths can be revealed to us.

Kalmar, Gyorgy. "The Gendered Other of Metaphysics." Central and Eastern European Online Library. 2002. University of Debrecen. 17 Sept. 2008 <www.ceeol.com>.

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