The Divided Line
Plato wrote about many things in The Republic including how we humans use knowledge and opinion by the analogy of the divided line. In the divided line there is no such thing as total ignorance. Everyone has knowledge, but some have more than others. The divided line is divided up into two worlds, the world of intellect and the world of the visible. The world of intellect is also known as the world of ideas and the invisible world. Here universal ideas are reflected. The world of the visible is also known as the world of the senses and the world of seeing. Here particulars are reflected. The division between these two worlds is knowledge (episteme) and opinion (doxa). The world of the visible is made up of opinion. The people in this world have some knowledge but they also lack a lot of it too. Also they are divided between those who believe and those who follow appearances. Those who follow appearances have the lowest form of knowledge. They can not make a distinction between an illusion and the real thing. For example if they are looking at say a rock and a picture of that same rock. They are unable to distinguish which one is real. They do not know that the rock itself is real and that the picture is an illusion. And if they are asked to choose which one is real, they would most likely choose the picture of the rock over the real one. In other words they would choose the illusion over the real thing. The other group of people in the visible world is the believers. They are blind followers. They believe what they are told without questioning it or giving what they are told a second thought. These people are like the hysteric mob they follow the ideas of others. But unlike the appearance followers the believers can distinguish between the illusion and the real thing. The believers could tell you that the rock itself is real and the picture of the rock is an illusion. They know that the rock itself contains more reality. And the believers...
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