Hiding from Truth in Plato’s Cave

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Updated: May 27, 2021
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“In Plato’s most famous book, The Republic; we have to read and present an original argument on a meaningful way for us from: The allegory of the Cave reading. Socrates established a conversation with a young follower called Glaucon, Plato’s brother. As a famous philosopher, he presents a correlation between perception and reality. As a symbolic representation, Socrates told Glaucon to imagine a figure of humans being living inside a cave since their childhood. Nowadays, this illustration could have a relation with how some society lives in many places in the world, in slavery meaning lack of truth or knowledge.

In this cave, there were prisoners with chains that were not able to move their body, to the point of just be able to see before them and not turn their heads around. They have never seen the outside world. Therefore, they were growing up and adapting their lives to that environment. That environment became their living space, just allowing the prisoners to see shadows on their front wall as all are real. But these shadows were the action of men carrying vessels, statues and figures of animal crossing in between a fire and prisoners. Suddenly, as an assumption one of these prisoners escaped and was able to walk out of the cave. However, at that moment of his outside world encounter was when he realized that perception of reality that he had inside the cave was incorrect.

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For my understanding, Plato wanted to illustrate at this point, the conflict of when the truth (outside world) is found vs what you thought it was a “restricted” reality (cave environment) that prisoner had. This conflict happens in any human beings’ mind that has been in chains but decides to seek the truth. The reason of calling restricted reality previous mentioned, is because if the person who decides to stay comfortable inside any place (cave) as the other prisoners did; the boundaries (chains) will not let them going beyond that limited space. This will prevent from any future experience or to seek the truth.

Thus, the prisoner who escapes decided to return to the cave, but with a main purpose trying to explain to other prisoners about the life outside the cave, the real world. But these prisoners rejected him. They rejected to know the truth of what would be their freedom to the reality.

In essence, Plato brings with this illustration a metaphor that could be translated to our real world. Now, we can compare prisoners with some countries, society or slave groups who lives in captivity, not having freedom of speech, of thinking outside box, and taking their own decision. Also, we can find a correlation between governments or slave-owner with the men carrying vessel, statues and figure of animals. This means, they do whatever is convenience for them and manage things around for their benefits.

As a real example, certain countries now day have their people’s mind chained up like the prisoners were in the cave. Those countries do not allow them to take their own decisions – i.e where society must worship their god as the only one established by the government’s rule. But if anyone who wants to seek the truth (get educated) gets caught worshipping a different god, they will be punished. Why? Because that government knows if a person keeps seeking the truth as Plato states “will eventually be able to handle it better. In fact, they will want more …” “Once you’ve tasted the truth, you won’t eventually go back to being ignorant!” And government wants people to continue living in ignorance, because they can manipulate and wash their mind; the same way men carrying statues, figures of animals, etc. did inside the cave with prisoners’ mind.

In conclusion, we live in a world that most of our society feels comfortable just the way they live or as Plato said “being ignorant”. Those who are intellectual and seek truth can take control of the ‘ignorant’, whether be for good or bad intentions. As a society we should never conform to what we already know and stay ignorant. We must be eager to learn more even if the process might be harsh, but it will lead us to go and to enlighten the ignorant with truth.”

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Hiding From Truth in Plato's Cave. (2021, May 27). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/hiding-from-truth-in-platos-cave/