Schopenhauer speaks of the media as a “steam valve”,

freedom of the press is to the machinery of the state what the safety valve is to the steam engine: every discontent is by means of it immediately relieved in words

that releases pressure through words, (essays and aphorisms) and mentions “shadow play on walls”:

"Newspapers are the second hand of history. This hand, however, is usually not only of inferior metal to the other two hands, it also seldom works properly. The so-called ‘leading articles’ in them are the chorus to the drama of current events. Exaggeration in every sense is as essential to newspaper writing as it is to the writing of plays: for the point is to make as much as possible of every occurrence. So that all newspaper writers are, for the sake of their trade, alarmists: this is their way of making themselves interesting. What they really do, however, is resemble little dogs who, as soon as anything whatever moves, start up a loud barking. It is necessary, therefore, not to pay too much attention to their alarms, and to realize in general that the newspaper is a magnifying glass, and this only at best: for very often it is no more than a shadow-play on the wall."

Is this relative to Plato’s cave allegory? And if it is how is it relevant in today’s society?

  • Would you have a reference with title and page number for the quote from Schopenhauer? This would make it easy for people to find. Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 19:09
  • 1
    Page number may be relative to publisher. But in “Essays and Aphorisms”/on various subjects/section 4/paragraph 4.
    – Robus
    Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 19:18
  • I edited in the paragraph. There is nothing about "steam valve" and I think you are overthinking it. It may not even have Plato in mind specifically, and if it does, it is only in the banal sense that in the cave allegory the shadow play is a distraction from contemplating True Forms (towards which it is supposed to lead a keen mind).
    – Conifold
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 1:38
  • Ahh, forgive me, the “steam valve” is related at,essays and aphorisms/ laws and politics/section 7/ paragraph 2
    – Robus
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 2:31


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