Honors English 4B
September 7, 2010
“The Allegory of the Cave” demonstrates many of Plato’s beliefs, impacting the way he views education. …the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being… (Plato 5). This quote implies Plato’s argument that humans have the potential of obtaining a considerable amount of knowledge, without actually being conscious of it. Likewise, education should not aim at putting knowledge into the mind and soul, thus, turning the mind and soul towards certain desires. The goal of education is to drag every person as far out of the cave as possible. He fathoms that you cannot truly put something into your soul if it was not already there. For example, Plato states that, “…professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put a knowledge into the soul which was not there before, like sight into blind eyes” (Plato 5).
Plato clearly states that although you cannot truly direct knowledge into the soul that was not already there, it can be discovered through training. For instance, “…for even when they are not originally innate they can be implanted later by habit and exercise…” (Plato 5). The stages of the cave embody the stages of life in the beginning of the text. Plato entails that we must all proceed through the lower stages of life in order to overtake the higher stages. Everyone begins using their imagination, believing these things are the most real things in the world. We begin deep in the cave, using education as a struggle to move out as far out of the cave as possible, passing through each stage of imagination, questioning and determining the most real things in the world until we attain the stage of understanding.
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