Plato’s Cave: Still Current in Mass Media
In the “Allegory of the Cave,” Plato describes a group of stupefied people who have been trapped in a cave their entire lives. These prisoners are chained facing a wall; they cannot see anything except the shadows on that wall, which are being cast by men carrying unknown objects in front of a glowing fire. They never see the actual carriers or items, and they hear nothing but the echoes of these obscure men, yet are still entranced by these illogical sounds and images. Plato’s Cave illustrates how people solely base their perception of the world on their experiences of physical objects, and by doing so, they limit themselves to the confined notions prescribed by their fear of change. The purpose of this essay is to prove how and why the stubborn ignorance present in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave can still be found in many aspects of today’s mass media, including television, news broadcasting channels, and advertising.
Today, most people have been chained to their television since childhood. These attached viewers can be seen as prisoners in their own cave. The television screen plays the role of the wall with shadows, and the television speakers replace the echoes. Instead of the men carrying objects, the creators of the televisions shows broadcasted are now projecting their desired images. The oblivious prisoners absorb these relentlessly exposed illusions, and expect to encounter them in reality, which differs greatly from their own “reality”, which is composed of the images. This intertwining and disorientation of realities becomes even more abstruse when the transmitted images are that of “reality” television shows. Since these series are presumed to be “real”, the captives are forced to believe that such scornful people truly exist and such outrageous events have actually occurred. However, in true reality, the people starring in the television shows are merely creating images of images to entertain the...
Bibliography: Plato. "Allegory of the Cave." The Problems of Philosophy. Ed. Michelle Braiden. Montreal: Dawson College, 2012. 52-53.
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