Allegory Of The Cave

  • Category: Science
  • Words: 408
  • Grade: 100
A report I had to do on Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Plato

was born 427 B.C. and died 347 B.C. He was a pupil

under Socrates. During his studies, Plato wrote the

Dialogues, which are a collection of Socrates' teachings.

One of the parables included in the Dialogues is "The

Allegory of the Cave". "The Allegory..." symbolizes man's

struggle to reach understanding and enlightenment. First of

all, Plato believed that one can only learn through dialectic

reasoning and open-mindedness. Humans had to travel from

the visible realm of image-making and objects of sense to

the intelligible or invisible realm of reasoning and

understanding. "The Allegory of the Cave" symbolizes this

trek and how it would look to those still in a lower realm.

Plato is saying that humans are all prisoners and that the

tangible world is our cave. The things which we perceive as

real are actually just shadows on a wall. Just as the escaped

prisoner ascends into the light of the sun, we amass

knowledge and ascend into the light of true reality: ideas in

the mind. Yet, if someone goes into the light of the sun and

beholds true reality and then proceeds to tell the other

captives of the truth, they laugh at and ridicule the

enlightened one, for the only reality they have ever known is

a fuzzy shadow on a wall. They could not possibly

comprehend another dimension without beholdin! g it

themselves, therefore, they label the enlightened man mad.

For instance, the exact thing happened to Charles Darwin.

In 1837, Darwin was traveling aboard the H.M.S. Beagle in

the Eastern Pacific and dropped anchor on the Galapagos

Islands. Darwin found a wide array of animals. These

differences in animals sparked Darwin on research, which

lasted well up to his death, culminating in the publishing of

The Origin of Species in 1858. He stated that had not just

appeared out of thin air, but had evolved from other species

through natural selection. This sparked a firestorm of

criticism, for most people accepted the theory of the

Creation. In this way Darwin and his scientific followers

parallel the escaped prisoner. They walked into the light and

saw true reality. Yet when he told the imprisoned public

what he saw, he was scoffed at and labeled mad, for all the

prisoners know and perceive are just shadows on a wall

which are just gross distortions of reality. Darwin walked the

path to understanding just like the escaped prisoner in "The

Allegory of the Cave." Plato's parable greatly symbolizes

man's struggle to reach the light and the suffering of those left

behind who are forced to sit in the dark and stare at

shadows on a wall.
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