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The Cave - the Allegory of the Cave - Plato Case

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What is reality? Why do we search for wisdom? What are the effects of the bringers of wisdom? "Allegory of the Cave" by Plato helps us to answer some of these questions we may ask ourselves. This parable is about a group of men that are held captive underground in a cave since childhood. The entrance to the cave is a long passageway that rises from the ground to the outside light. The prisoners are forced to face the wall of the cave because their legs and necks have been chained making it impossible to move. At the end of the cave behind them, there is a candle which allows them to see the projection of their shadows on the walls. One selected prisoner was given the opportunity to escape from the cave and see the outside world. At first he was blinded by the bright sun but little by little he saw clearly until eventually he could see the world for what it really was. He was called to come back to the cave and explain to his fellow captives the wisdom he obtained. All the other prisoners did not believe him and thought he was being ridiculous; as a result they prosecuted him. This allegory discusses how ignorance and learning can come from human isolation. There are many symbols which convey different teaching that relate to our society today. "The Cave" teaches us about reality, the search for wisdom and the human response to the bringers of wisdom.

"The Allegory of the Cave," teaches us that the reality we experience is based on our illusions and ignorance. In our society today, many people's lives consist of following strict routines. For example: waking up early in the morning, going to work, picking up the kids, going home, having dinner, watching TV, going to sleep and then having to wake up and continue their strict cycle all over again. This provides people with the illusion, that they are making order out of their daily existence. Living in an extreme scheduled life may also close their minds, from taking time out to question their existence further and search for the truth of what they believe is their reality. In the story, "The Cave," the prisoners are ignorant of their reality and follow a daily routine, just as we do. "Since childhood the prisoners, have lived a routine of being chained by their legs and knees so that they cannot move, from the cave walls. The prisoners see nothing of themselves but fragments of their shadows. They can hear echoes of their voices. They referred to these shadows as if they were real. For the prisoners, reality would consist of nothing but their shadows." (Plato 8)The illusions of their own voices and shadows convince them of a false reality, making them believe that there are other human beings living in the caves when in reality they are the cause of the echoes and shadows. This routine and way of living has become their reality, making them ignorant to believing anything different from what they have known their entire lives. Their reality is actually an illusion. "The Cave" helps us to have a better understanding of our reality by addressing the importance of taking time out of our busy schedules to question our existence, so we don't become ignorant based on our reality of illusions.

"The Cave," teaches us that the search for wisdom leads to self- awareness. Many people in our society today are easily influenced by media and their peers. They base their opinions on what others say is "cool," rather than being self- aware and making their own judgments based on what they believe is wise. For instance, a number of people in our society read tabloids and focus

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