Plato’s Allegory of the cave
We often wonder if reality is as real as it seems, and if we are part of a world that is real or fictional. Everyday before our eyes, we expose ourselves to objects; those whom we have comprised ideas of universal design. Take a bus for example, to see it pass by once, twice, or three times a day is no surprise to us. Similarly, we live with those things all the time, whether it’s our bed, a clock, a television, a car, or a chair. But when our eyes fix themselves to new objects, which at first we have vague ideas or lack prior knowledge about, we dumbfound ourselves and think it is “out of this world”. Gradually we incorporate it into our lives; spreading new knowledge. Just think of the time cell phones first came out and how we have progressively accustomed them to our everyday life. So it seems we need to experience this new object in order to find some truth about it. Therefore, we come across the question, “what is real?” What we saw before or what we see now? Plato’s Allegory of the cave somewhat presents us with this same idea. Plato addressed an issue as transcendental as life itself, and a way to look at it and learn from and experience. I think this a perfect representation of the awakening of conscious and “self” and provided a pave way for enlightenment for those who wished to seek it. This is why the Allegory to me is so significant. While the theory of knowledge is concerned about knowing, from an epistemological point, this allegory or metaphor that Plato presents us, is simply a way to explain knowledge and it’s human nature: men are prisoners until they find the way to reach this knowledge (to become virtuous) in order to explain the relationship between man and his environment. Most importantly, in the cave, the man is identified as a kind of prisoner where he can only see the shadows of what men puppeteers’ project, thus having only one perspective, that being captured
only by the senses. Today we wonder if this is still the same. We do not see shadows or fire, but we realize that we live in a world of appearances. It's up to go outside, stand in front of a newsstand and see what is displayed: Glamour and celebrity magazines and national and international news manipulated by the media. We realize that it generates in us a necessity that often is not crucial to our lives, but could come to be. So then how do we come to realize what really is true or what is false and manipulated? What if we begin to reflect on this, and begin a journey in search of the absolute truth? The idea is not to go against the system, but also raise the need to find wisdom through philosophy. To answer previous questions solemnly lies on reflection; to always ask what we are living, what we are doing. To find the truth, I think the first thing we need to be driven to find it. However in order to be born with that need we should be able to reason and always pounder and ask the majority or the good, everything we do, see, receive, feel, etc. We must ask questions such as: what is the start of something? How and where did it come from? Along with this, we must not ignore the fact that every human thought is individual and particular as we will often not have the same opinion on these arguments and further discussion is needed to answer what we are thinking. In Class, we participated in several inquires where I found to be the most interesting and helpful in finding a better justified answer to an argument. Back to the Allegory, the world that is outside the cave and which the prisoners do not see, could be defined as the world of ideas, in which the highest idea, the idea of property (or truth), is the sun. When one of the prisoners succeeds in liberating himself from the chains that has tied him all his life and proceeds to get out of the cave, getting to know the real world—a real world where...
Cited: Bloom, Harold. Aldous Huxley 's Brave New World. New York: Chelsea House, 1996. Print.
Palmer, Donald. Does the Center Hold?: An Introduction to Western Philosophy. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Pub., 1991. Print.
Peterson, Russell. "Plato ~ The Allegory of the Cave." YouTube. YouTube, 05 Mar. 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. .
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