Metaphysics: Plato and Buddhism
Plato used an idea called the cave allegory to show how humans are ignorant. Before I explain a real life example, I will explain the Idea. In the cave there are prisoners. These prisoners cannot move because they are restrained by chains. The only thing that they can see is a wall that illuminated by a great light. This light is actually a fire behind them, which has a low sitting wall in between itself and the prisoners. As men walk below the wall holding up objects made out of every type of materials and in all sorts of shapes, the shadows of these shapes are placed on the wall in front of the prisoners. The low wall serves as a sort of "stage" or "blind" that keeps the men hidden and allows only the shadows to be illuminated onto the wall for the prisoners. The prisoners have known nothing other than the cave and its wall of shadows. While these prisoners have been watching the wall of shadows they have been able to hear the low talking of the men passing by the low wall. Knowing no better they have associated the noises to the shadows. To the prisoners the truth is only the wall and its shadows. At one point a teacher releases one of the prisoners and lets him up to show him his surroundings of the cave. When the prisoner looks around at the actual objects that create the shadows he is rather confused, and feels that the shadows are the truer of the objects because those are the things he has always known. The teacher then lead the prisoner up to the surface and out of the cave. When the teacher and the prisoner reach the world the prisoner is held fast until the pain of the light and confusion are overcome by his understanding of these visions. The prisoner would then first see the shadows, but then slowly he would see all things in their reality. As he starts to see the objects of physical reality he would soon see his reflection in water, the stars and moon in the sky and the sun hanging in their places. This will lead the...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document