Pi and Plato

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Dennis Pang
Hock
Academic English IV
16 October 2012
To seek the truth of the unknown is the inquisitive nature of humans. One cannot help but acknowledge that they are a tiny speck surrounded by the insurmountable amount of knowledge hidden in the world which humans strive to gain an understanding of. Yet many of those who try to apprehend such knowledge lack the ability to perceive why some things in the world are better off not knowing. The Allegory of the Cave written by Plato and the movie Pi by Darren Aranofsky demonstrate exactly why such goals should not be attainable. In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato expresses the idea of different perception of the real reality and the fear of letting go that perceived reality. The prisoners chained in a cave their whole life believe the shadows is what signifies their real world and the ultimate reality whereas one prisoner (the Philosopher) reluctantly leaves the cave and he discovers the real truth of the world. Obtaining enlightenment, he has now understood their misconception of reality and intends on sharing with his fellow prisoners. In the movie Pi, a genius mathematician name Max Cohen is on the pursuit for obtaining the key for understanding all existence. Obsessed with trying to understand the concept of our world, he is determined to find out a pattern that lays hidden within. He experiences 5 hallucinations in which signifies his process of apprehending knowledge and the reluctance to go forward with his research as he fears the dangers ahead of knowing such things. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and Pi both share similar goals but in opposite fashion, the Philosopher wants to enlighten others but is rejected for his knowledge whereas Max does not want to share his knowledge with the world but his knowledge is valued upon and can be benefited from. Max and the Philosopher’s process of apprehending knowledge in order to gain a better understanding of the reason for all things will prove to have unforeseen and destructive results.

Max’s way of apprehending knowledge may differ from the Philosophers but both are very similar after attaining enlightenment do they realize the realization of the power they hold. The sun or light plays a important role in both cases, in where it acts as truth and enlightenment. For Max, he gained the inquisitive nature and realization that there is more out there than meets the eye only after he looked into the sun as stated by Max himself: “9:13, Personal note: When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So once when I was six I did … [And] slowly, daylight crept in through the bandages and I could see. But something else had changed inside of me. That day I had my first headache” (Pi). This is symbolic because when Max mentions that was when he had his first headache after the incident with the sun, he became more aware and suddenly everything just opened up in his eyes but that does not mean it did not come with a price. Due to that, he experiences these headaches which makes him experience hallucinations but it is also significant because his hallucinations actually play a part in his process of apprehending knowledge. Through each hallucinations, he gets more and more reluctant to press the enter key on the computer because he is afraid of the results if he actually cracks the mystery to the world. The first hallucination he experiences actually has to do with a blinding light which acts as his enlightenment, whereas his door with all the locks is actually a barrier that is actually trying to protect him if he ventures forth.

As Socrates is talking to Glaucon, he is talking to him about the process of how one of the prisoners which his the Philosopher had to be reluctantly left the cave in order to see the real reality than the one he thought to have perceived in the cave. Socrates then explains how when they if one of them had to be liberated and compelled to stand up and look towards the light...
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