Allegory Of A Cave

  • Category: Philosophy
  • Words: 1340
  • Grade: 88
Summary
        In this selection "Allegory of the Cave" by Plato, Plato reveals what prisoners in a cell choose not to see. Furthermore, the prisoners are blinded by their own conformity, which consequently keeps them in the dark. Plato reveals what life in the cell is like for the prisoners and what different things symbolize for them. For example, the light of a fire symbolizes the brightness of the sun. In addition, Plato describes how shadows hold an importance to the prisoners. When a prisoner sees a shadow it is up to him to decide what the shadow is of and what it could reveal. To a prisoner the world is right above them, but Plato continues to portray the facts that if a prisoner were to make an attempt to leave, he/she would be killed. I get the feeling however that this is not the reason for the prisoners's choice not to unveil themselves to the real world. Instead, they lie in the pit comprehending what they believe the world is.
        Later in this selection, Plato tells Glaucon that the prisoners have formed a habit and can ironically see ten thousand times better than the people conformed to true light of the world. In addition Plato describes that to be a leader of a State, a person must have virtues and wisdom, obtained through non-bias points and people who were exempt from corruptness. The only people that carry both of these attributes are people like the prisoners whom are left to form their own views of the world. Plato states that if the prisoners were introduced to the world it would take them a while to adjust, not only with their eyes, but also with their former beliefs. It would be devastating to such a person to be released to the cruel truth of the false conception they once held of the world. For these reasons it is my understanding that Plato tries to persuade his reader that although blind conformity may hold the prisoners in darkness, it may very well be for the best.
Reflection
        When I analyzed the point of "Allegory of the Cave" by Plato, I determined the distinction between reality and understood reality. If I was locked in a cave and all I got to see was darkness, I am unsure of how I might imagine the real world to be. According to Plato, the prisoners tend to see shadows and develop them in their minds as to who they may be or how they may appear face to face. Furthermore, Plato goes on to describe the representation of each item in the cave. For example, Plato states that the fire in the cave represents the sunlight to the world up above. Also he compares the views of the world that people above ground know and the world that the prisoners imagine it to be.
        I tend to agree with Plato when he makes such a comparison that the views of the world are greatly vast from each other. However, I question to myself which view of the world would be closer to the truth. It is my belief that because people who have been shown the world in reality are susceptible to corruption and bias that they may have a corrupt view of the world as well. The prisoners on the other hand have been trapped all their life and are left to form their own opinions. For this reason they may hold the only key to the reality of the world. I find this ironic because according to Plato the real world lies within the grasp of the people above ground. The only reason the prisoners don't find the light appears to be the fact that their blind conformity keeps them in the dark. They are so used to the darkness that the prisoners might be frightened by what the world actually is and looks like. In accordance with the fact that they have formed their own opinions it may seem that they could see the world for its true cruelty or beauty.
        So many people have their ideas of what the world is but if we are corrupted to our beliefs what makes them right? To the prisoners, although hidden beneath a dark shade, the world reveals no disadvantages or advantages, but rather just how it changes or develops. If one were to disclose the world behind their formed curtain the blind would see the corrupt and bias world that we know all to well. This could tend to be very devastating, therefore putting them at an advantage that the rest of us have no opportunity to attain.
Connection
        This article relates to many aspects of today's life. There are many people that have blind conformity holding them back from the cruelty of the real world. Instead the only world they can see is the one that they can imagine. For this reason, the world has no end, but holds no true beginning as well. There are many blind people in this world today, just as there were when Jesus was present on earth 2000 years ago.
        The difference between the blind that cannot see and the prisoners in Plato's writing is that the blind have no choice but to guess at the real world. The prisoners, however, had opportunities to be introduced to the real world but chose not to let it in based on what it might do to them. This reminds me of when Jesus existed and according to the Bible and many beliefs, He gave the blind the opportunity to see. I wonder what that would have done to the former blind. They represent the prisoners greatly. The prisoners, unlike the blind in Jesus' time, did not want to be revealed to the true world. It is my belief that when the blind were given the chance to see again it may have hurt them more than it helped. I say this because, just as the prisoners, they must have formed their own opinion of what the world was. If the blind saw the world as a beautiful place that held many opportunities, they were shown the cruel truth of contrast. Instead they opened their eyes to a bias and prejudice world where one could not hold their own opinion as they had when they were blind. Furthermore, there was no freedom of speech or religion and they were forced to follow whatever precedents were set before them. It appears that the blind were at an advantage because at least then they could still imagine a different and nicer world.
        The blind today, in my opinion are lucky. Although they have no symbol to represent the sun and can't see shadows, the blind still have every other sense. They too have their imagination and this is the only thing that can never be taken away. It may not be used as much by conformed people of the real world, but to the blind that is all they can rely on for sight. I would welcome the opportunity, even if for a day, to experience being blind. How different the world would appear. The greatest minds are those that carry the most imagination. Many of the inventors in this world were geniuses simply because they used their imagination to develop their ideas. The blind likewise, have only their minds to focus on.
        It is my belief that the blind are probably much smarter than a person that can see. There is no corruptness or bias for the blind. Similarly, there are no distractions that can be an annoyance to the blind. They are able to focus on a task at hand much more than a person that has eyesight. The prisoners may very well have been at an advantage to not be introduced to the real world. They represent what the blind represent today, a true person. They could only tell truth and form what they knew around truth and there was no one there to tell them any different. How nice it must have been.
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