THE ALLEGORY OF PLATO’s CAVE WITH PERSONAL OSERVATIONS
PLATO’s REPUBLIC (POLITEIA) includes the Allegory of the cave. In POLITEIA, Plato discusses his Ideas about an ideal state. Here, I discuss only a portion from his teachings known as the ALLEGORY OF PLATO’s CAVE, adding some of my own observations.
Assume that a group of people live in a cave all their life and that they are chained on a wall in such a way that they are not able to turn their head and see behind them. They can see only straight ahead.
Let us suppose also that behind them there is a fire burning, and that between them and the fire there is a stage for a puppet show with the shadows of the puppets projected on the wall of the cave that can be seeing by the chained people.
That is, these people can see only their shadows and the shadows of the puppets projected on the wall in front of them.
In addition, if the wall in the cave, in front of them reflects the sounds of the voices of passers-by, most likely the chained people will believe that these voices come from the shadows passing before them.
In other words, the people inside the cave would believe that the shadows of the objects just mentioned have voices and that both shadows and voices represent reality and truth.
Let us name such happenings THE SHADOW EFFECT.
Suppose now that one of the chained people was able to break the chains and free himself and get out of the cave, most likely, he will be blinded by the glare of the sun.
Then, the free guy has two possible choices:
1. Since he is blinded by the glare of the sun, he could return back to the cave and keep believing what he was accustomed to believe before, or
2. He can stay out of the cave and adjust his vision to the bright environment that he is now exposed.
If the free guy belongs to the second category, then he will see things that he could not see before, and he will understand that what he saw in the cave was not real. In other words, the light helped him to see the real world outside his cave and not have illusions.
If we interpret the myth of the cave in religious terms, and identify good with light or God, and darkness with bad or evil, then we can deduce that without God, people live in darkness and therefore are evil.
Let us now associate this SHADOW EFFECT with a number of situations that have to do with our development. Cultures, traditions, history, religions, educational systems, and media are doing exactly that.
The fact is that from day one of our existence, our lives are shaped up and influenced from the environment in which we live. Family (parents, grandparents, etc.), schools (teachers, professors, etc.), friends, etc. have an undisputable effect of what will happen in the rest of our lives.
Naturally, this has important consequences for what is going to happen in the world.
I believe that, THE RIGHT EDUCATION, NOT TRAINING, IT IS PROBABLY THE BEST SHOT AND HOPE THAT WE HAVE FOR MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE.
I conclude this note by mentioning the well know saying:
TELL ME WHICH IS YOUR TEACHER TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU KNOW.
Of course there are exceptions, but not very many.
SOCRATES, and PLATO’s teachings, together with the teachings of JESUS CHRIST, if well understood and applied, may make the difference for the creation of a better world.
Nick D. Panagiotacopulos