3 Comments

OPINION – Are we living in Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’?

platoIn Plato’s work ‘The Republic’. Plato used ‘Allegory of the Cave’ (also known as the ‘Analogy of the Cave’, ‘Plato’s Cave’, and ‘Parable of the Cave’ to illustrate how people perceive the world around them, and how they learn.

In the ‘Allegory of the Cave’ there is an imaginary dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon (Plato’s brother), in which Socrates describes cave dwellers who have been chained facing a wall all of their lives. The chains make them immobile, and the only thing they can see is a blank wall, and the shadows cast by things happening behind them on a walkway, and an eternal fire beyond.

The shadows are the only reality the cave dwellers have ever known. They have no knowledge of what has cast them, or of the fire beyond. So the cave dwellers perceive the shadows as reality. If the cave dwellers were able to turn and look at what had cast the shadows, and the fire beyond, they would be unable to recognise them and would quickly return back to their perception of reality.

Socrates proposes that if a cave dweller were suddenly released and taken into the sunlight, they would become angry and distressed, and long to be back in the familiarity of the cave – back to their reality. But if they were given time to become used to the new experience, they would develop understanding of it, and may consider it to be their new reality as they come to understand what the sun is, “…the source of the seasons and the years, and is the steward of all things in the visible place, and is in a certain way the cause of all those things he and his companions had been seeing,” and start to learn what other things they had never encountered before were.

Socrates then asks Glaucon “Wouldn’t he remember his first home, what passed for wisdom there, and his fellow prisoners, and consider himself happy and them pitiable? And wouldn’t he disdain whatever honours, praises, and prizes were awarded there to the ones who guessed best which shadows followed which? Moreover, were he to return there, wouldn’t he be rather bad at their game, no longer being accustomed to the darkness? Wouldn’t it be said of him that he went up and came back with his eyes corrupted, and that it’s not even worth trying to go up? And if they were somehow able to get their hands on and kill the man who attempts to release and lead them up, wouldn’t they kill him?”

We live in our own realities – realities which are created in our minds based on our experiences and our analysis of the world. Each of us sees the world differently, even though we are having the same experience.

As the cave people, we become familiar with the things around us and our perception of reality. We normalise our experiences to fit with our vision of the world, of our thinking of the way things are. Anything that does not fit within that narrow perception is shunned as something not real, or too complex for us to devote our senses to, which in turn may become unmanageable and corrupted.

We shut ourselves away from infinite possibilities and maintain our finite worlds of familiarity, of safety, at the expense of broadening our knowledge of the way things could be.  We fear being shunned by other members of society for daring to question the shared experience of an illusionary reality,

Many never dare to take a step into the light that has always been there, but which they have chosen to ignore because of their own fear.

A world of infinite possibilities awaits anyone who is brave enough to take a step and embrace the unknown and wonders that we all can share as a whole humanity.

So are you living proof of Plato’s allegory?

Follow @martynjsymons

About these ads

About Order Of Truth

We are just everyday people who have realised the world is not as it is presented to us by government and media. Our aims are: To raise awareness of the truth behind world events to the public To use (where possible) reliable and verifiable sources of information. To give honest and unbiased comment. To promote a shift in public attitudes from the ‘self’ to the wider concept of consciousness. To promote real thought about subjects that matter to the people of the world. To promote universal peace and respect. To help expose those who manipulate society. We believe: Government based on humanity not profit Equal human rights for ALL people Natural resources should be managed – not monetised GMO food crops and products should be banned Infrastructures (such as power, health, water and rail etc.) should be nationalised, not privatised Education should be non-secular, although encourage humanistic and spiritual development, and cover a wide range of practical and artistic subjects Laws should be based on humanistic principles, and punishments should be appropriate The time is fast approaching where all of us are going to have to WAKE UP and make choices about how the future is going to be

3 comments on “OPINION – Are we living in Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’?

  1. What I would say is that the ideas of the outside of the cave is already in the imagination of the shadows one can see on the wall of the cave. Thus the way to move away from the cage is not to try to escape the cage but to see the fantastic in the shadows.

  2. It is generally agreed that we do, in fact, live in a version of this allegory. Lisa Zhang is right to say that the fantastic in the shadows can be sought out, but this is no true liberation. If perspective is the reason we cannot face the world as it is, there is no true liberation.

    Our capacity for infinite possibility is perhaps more imagined than we’d like to imagine.

  3. This was very eye opening. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 415 other followers

%d bloggers like this: