In a famous piece of apocrypha by Plato, Socrates asks his disciples to imagine a group of people chained inside a cave since birth, their backs against a wall. The entrance to the cave is behind them and not visible, but sunlight and firelight from outside filters in, casting shadows onto a wall the prisoners can see.
I was rustled awake by cold, the first time I can remember being woken by something so still and silent. The air inside my car felt crystallized around me, and it seemed that I was unable to move. Eventually, I managed to reach out and turn the key. The engine did not turn over.
Outside, the light was just coming up against the stars. I opened the door and saw the dark, almost black feet of the San Jacinto Mountains where they jutted out into the light blue desert floor like the roots of an ancient tree.
One evening, just at twilight, I woke up on that couch and opened my eyes. The rooftops were clean black edges framing the immutable shape against the deep blue of the impending night. I kept looking at it, trying to memorize every line and precise angle, until it was too dark to see. 
Plato’s cave allegory can be seen as an uncanny description of human interaction in the Information Age.

With alarming ease, we cast the shadows of our own true form the way a ventriloquist throws his voice, the way a fortune-teller speaks of a mark’s certain future.
Matthew Glaser lives in San Francisco.