Allegory of the Cave
Plat’s conception of the soul is that it is an open vessel. Each has the capacity and ability to learn and to receive knowledge but first the whole being must be open to new knowledge and to learning. However some people are very close minded and set on what is already in front of them and refuse to open their minds. In order for one to become enlightened they must want to learn and must work for their knowledge.
Plato says, “Whereas, our argument shows that the power and capacity f learning exists in the soul already; and that Just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or in other words, of the good. ” If we go back to his allegory you see a group of people chained in a cave.
They have no conception of what is real and everything they see is mere shadows to reality. They have had no en to help usher them into new knowledge or to help enlighten them. And when one finally breaks free and emerges into the sun and the real world he is forever changed. Now he is above petty human issues and he is focused on obtaining new information and bettering himself. So eventually this person wants to go back and share his new found enlightenment with all his friends, but his friends have no concept of what is reality and scowl at him when he tries to tell them of his new findings.
Everything they see is shadows, so they have no conception of sun or light r colors or of anything he is saying and they say he is crazy and refuse to see reality. Now if we take this literally we have an amusing fictional story, but once you look at it and figure out Plat’s meaning behind the story you see a reflection of society as a whole. Humans are impressionable we pick up on what the people around us do and most of us Just try to fit in. What society does we do. So if a person comes in and starts preaching about something that is not accepted as a societal norm then people will reject him as crazy.
In order to be enlightened one must open themselves to new experiences. You must wrap your life around the desire to learn and to be enlightened. Although every soul has the ability to learn not every person achieves this because you have to work at it. Knowledge does not simply come for free, you must seek it. However once one has obtained this enlightened state and sees everything as it truly is he cannot simply abandon his old peers and wander around forever in a peaceful knowledgeable bliss, he must go back and try to help others achieve his state. A person is not truly a philosopher until they teach others how to helicopters.
A soul is not whole until it has helped to better other’s souls. Plat’s conception of a soul is that it as a changeable thing, something to be taught and till d Witt knowledge. In order tort society to become better everyone must be enlightened so bettering yourself is not merely Just about obtaining knowledge, it is about helping those around you to see the world as it truly is.