Centuries before we even understood what the world is, Plato came up with the concept of two worlds.
The one world that we are familiar with – is the Visible World. This is the world that is made up of physical objects. The sun is the entity that allows us to see physical objects.
And then there is the Intelligible World. This is the world that is made up of the images and reflections of all objects that exist in the Visible World. This is the Invisible world, where everything is an image. And it is not the Sun, but it is The Good that allows us to see and understand things of the Intelligible World.
Not my words, but Plato’s. But it takes special situations in life to truly decipher the meanings of such words. Most often, we don’t even come across such events in our lifetimes. I was most fortunate a few days back to experience this and of course most thankful to life for the opportunities and events surrounding me in the last three weeks.
The hours we spent in the Bophelong Special School (doesn’t even exist in Google Maps) would remain with us for ever. This is a school for children with special needs. The children were all decked up to greet us. After all, they all knew that some special people would be coming to meet and greet them! The initial hesitance broke into jubilation and joy when we danced, sang, drew, read and played (football) with them. But deep inside, I was feeling a hollowness which I could not express. Looking into the eyes of the little children, my mind was filled with a sense of desperation, anxiety and escapism. Are our efforts enough? Has humanity been fair to them? Most of them have a disability of some order, and having born with such disability in ridiculously poor families in one of the most neglected areas of the world – is this a start that you deserve at the beginning of your life? And I know there are millions of such children across the continent, across the world.
My friends Tariq (US), Julie (US), Lucia (Brazil) and I tried playing a nice game. We drew up the “Hello” in charts in various languages and drew the respective country (in a world map) with the children. So an “Oi” in Costa Rican led to a dash of colour near the Panama Canal, a “Namaste” led to a yellow mark in India and a “Hi” led to a splash in the North American continent.
But every barrier broke when we rushed outside, on the ground for the beautiful game. This game knows no boundaries, no language, no introduction, no teaching. All it gives you is sheer joy. How rightly said. Forget the drawing board, this is where you want to be, under the sun with a football with you.
While we drove back – to the surreal world, I kept wishing that these hours we spent together, stays on in their memories for as long it stays in our memories.
Plato’s two worlds coexist. And they would continue to coexist for ever.
But the stupid question that kept on lingering in my mind was – how right are we to assume that the world we live in – the world that is familiar with the De Beers and the BMWs and the Multiplexes, is not the Visible World? Perhaps it’s the other way round?