major lesson to be learned from Plato’s allegory of the cave
The allegory goes that there are prisoners kept in a deep underground cave. They are chained so that all they can view is the back wall of the cave- they cannot see behind them, or even each other. They have been like this all their lives. On the back wall passes a constant stream of shadows that the prisoners can see hut the prisoners cannot identify the causes of shadows. The shadows are caused by people carrying cardboard cut outs walking back and forth behind the prisoners.
The fire betvceen the walking people and the prisoners projects shadows of the cut-outs onto back wall. The people holding cut-outs walk in a trench so their shadows are not projected. To the prisoners these shadows are all that exits – the shadows are their reality. Suppose nouu one prisoner manages to turn away from the wall and to get our of the cave He first sees people with cut-outs & crawls out of the cave and sees real rocks and trees and realises cut-outs are copies Of reality.
He is then the only person üho tan ome back and rule the cave dwellers. The story is about human perception and contrasts what we perceive and what we believe is reality. All of us may be trapped in a cave of commonsense experience and beliefs, Which may turn our to be nothing but Some of us live in a world of appearances but not true reality which exists at a deeper level. The everyday world is real, not an illusion, but is itself a mere copy Of a higher reality and therefore all we perceive are imperfect “reflections” of the ultimate Forms. ich subsequently represent truth and reality. What appears to be real is sensory knowledge but what is real is intellectual knowledge. It is as if all of us live in our own cave, where we live a comfortable, happy and familiar lite. gut we are actually, prisoners of the truth. We prefer living a dull, mundane life and simply follow set social norms rather than question or challenge the authenticity of the •shadows’ that we have been seeing since childhood. The one who does question is often ridiculed and despised.
The man who discovers the cause of the shadows is like philosophers who think beyond the set norms, question the reality and keeps accumulating nmv experiences and knowledge. Society often condemns, prosecutes and laughs at them, yet these philosophers are willing to voice their opinions and face the truth. It teaches us that it is important to seek knowledge out of the senses when journeying to find truth and wisdom because real knowledge is gained through philosophical reasoning because the senses cannot be trusted.