The Divided Line

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The Divided Line is the first book in the Noumenal Realm Trilogy, which focuses on the unconventional educational initiatives of an institution called the New Smithsonian Foundation, whose aim is to educate the children of America through virtual reality experiences instead of through the Smithsonian Institution’s dusty museum artifacts. In this novel, a group of middle schoolers enter famous paintings, where they meet Socrates, Plato, and René Descartes, who show them the secret to entering the Noumenal Realm. They have to interpret the paintings and the philosophers’ theories in order to complete the simulations and escape from virtual reality.

The storyline of this volume focuses on the famous “Analogy of the Divided Line” from Plato’s masterpiece of world literature The Republic. Socrates divides a line into four sections in order to show how the human mind progresses from imagination to facts to concepts to ideas. But is the goal of this progression certainty, as René Descartes argues? The young heroes of this novel discover a fatal flaw in Descartes’s logic and find the goal of the Divided Line hidden in a Grecian urn instead.