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Plato - Allegory of the Cave

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Plato - Allegory of the cave

In Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”, prisoners have been chained up in a dark cave for most of their lives and can only look at a wall without any access to the outside world. Behind them is a roadway used by travelers and behind that is a fire that casts shadows on the wall the prisoners look at. They know nothing else in life except these shadows. In the allegory, one of the prisoners is released and he is blinded by the light outside the cave. As his vision slowly clears however, he explores the new world and he is able to see the truth, the very thing he knew wasn’t true. When the prisoner ran back to the cave to tell the other prisoners, they didn’t believe him.
This allegory is a symbol for the contrasts between ideas and what we perceive as reality. For example, Plato would argue that ideas transcend the physical world. Think of a cup. That cup could fall on the ground, it could crack, break... eventually it won't exist anymore. However, the idea of the cup will go on forever. The idea, once thought of, cannot be undone. It cannot be broken or tainted. Plato also argues that we are the cave slaves. We live in a world of shadows, where we don't see the reality of ideas. We see the cup that can be broken, the shadows of ourselves. However, it is possible to climb out of the cave, to be released from our shackles, but the process is painful. When the cave slaves (ourselves) climb from the cave (perceive and understand ideas), we see the world for how it should be. We see that ideas are eternal and perfect, even though the physical world crumbles.
I personally feel the allegory is relevant to our society today. It is seen in politics where politicians create this atmosphere so we hear what we want to hear, not necessarily the truth in the government. Politicians and congressmen feed us a hand full of information that makes us...

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