Tomb for the Soul

Tomb for the Soul

Now the story told in the secret writings about these things, that we humans are in a kind of prison and one must not release oneself or run away from it, seems to me an important one and is not easy to understand.

Phaedo 62b, Plato

The context is a prison in Athens where Socrates has a last chat with his friends before drinking poison hemlock. He is referring to Philolaus a Pythagorean philosopher (hence the secret writings).

On Wikipedia, the Pythagoreanism article says tomb instead of prison:

They believed that the soul was buried in the body, which acted as a tomb for the soul in this life. The highest reward a human could attain was for the soul to join in the life of the gods and thus escaped the cycle of reincarnation in another human body.

In the Phaedo above, to release oneself or to run away from the prison is to give oneself death. The Pythagoreans still vied for escape.

Socrates was found guilty of moral corruption and impiety. Was he simply releasing people from their poorly built convictions?

I think that we, as tabletop role-play gamers, have preserved from childhood a skill for escape. Maybe that skill is close to philosophy. Role playing games too have been accused of corrupting the youth.

The childhood skill is about collaborative story building, I am in this role you are in that one, we build a story together. It's better when negociated and enriched.

I think there is another prison in the solitary escape through games and social networks both dealt by computers. Leave your smartphone at home and walk outside to see some of the inmates. There is solitary escape in books too.

Compared to a philosophic conversation, a role-playing game is more intoxicating, the conversation touches on limits (frustrating) while the game goes beyond limits (intoxicating).