What Is Education - Allegory of the Cave

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Dear College Bound Student,

You are about to embark upon an important journey. You are going to pursue a higher education. To succeed in attaining a higher education, you must first understand what is education. Everyone from ancient Greek philosophers to modern day English professors have evaluated the definition and goal of education. You must gather the knowledge of these humanitarians to understand the definition education, thereby directing you down the right path towards an enlightening college experience.

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato describes education in his "Allegory of the Cave" as a process of spiritual enlightenment. According to Plato:

If (one) is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged

ascent, and held fast until (he/she) is forced into the

presence of the sun (himself/herself), is he not likely to

be pained and irritated. When he approaches the light

his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see

anything at all of what are now called realities…He will

require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world.


In this quote, Plato implies that one cannot be forced to acquire an education, but one must choose to seek an education. The prisoner cannot be forced to see the upper world, but he/she must have the drive to try to gain an understanding of the world in order for them to see the "light." Similarly, in college you must not depend on a teacher to be interesting or a course to be easy for you to learn. You must take the initiative to understand your material and think on your own in order for you to gain knowledge. I am in a chemistry course consisting of over 200 students. A class of this magnitude is often very intimidating to me, and I may be tempted to rely on my existing knowledge of the subject to get me through the course. This attitude towards college will inevitably lead you to failure. To succeed in my chemistry class I attend all lectures, do...
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