Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
Plato’s Allegory of the cave is a written dialogue between his brother, Glaucon and his mentor, Socrates. Socrates asked Glaucon to imagine a cave inhabited with prisoners since childhood, with legs and hands chained fixedly so that all they could see was the wall. They came to believe that the shadows of the cave were real. Socrates then explained that once the prisoners were freed from the cave, the lights from the outside world would first pain their eyes, and hurt them. Some might even hide back into the cave to avoid it. But those who have opened their eyes starts to widen, sees everything and realizes that the sun is the source of all the light. They recognizes that what they see now is truth, and the shadows that they once thought was true was an illusion.
What Plato is trying to say is that the goal of education is merely to open up ones sight, drag everyone out of the cave, so that they can see further and be more open-minded. He explains that it’s not to simply be full of knowledge, but to have the right desires. This can be explained by his little analysis of how the man first was blinded by the light and would want to crawl back into the cave, but he slowly was adapted to the light and realizes that everything that he once thought was real was an illusion. He implies that everyone has some sort of an illusion, but to break free from that illusion would result in improvement. He’s implying that in life, we need to keep breaking illusions to be further educated.
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