28 June 2015
“Innocence, Self-Reflection and Influences”
In Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” Socrates enlightens Glaucon of a hypothetical cave that is inhabited by these cave dwelling prisoners who are shackled by their hands and feet and have never seen the light of day. Not only are they bound to the wall by their hands and feet, their heads are restricted from movement so that they may only see what is directly in front of them, a wall. Behind them is a walk-way and beyond the walk-way is a fire. Passing across the walk-way are men carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figurines which cast shadows onto the wall of all shapes and sizes for the prisoners to see. There are also voices coming from the men walking over the walk-way which the prisoners think are coming from the shadows. Suddenly, one day a prisoner is unchained and dragged out from the cave into the light of day. Once outside, the prisoner is pained by the sudden exposure to the sun and all the light he is so unaccustomed to and it takes some time to adjust to the light.
Once he has established himself in this new world, he starts to see things he has never seen before and begins making realizations that the world he knew and the belief system he had, was false. He sees that the shadows he’s been seeing are actually cast from real objects in the world and that voices actually come from other men the same as him. He finds more and more truths about the world he lives in and cannot wait to return to the cave and share with the other
prisoners all the knowledge he has gained and the things he has seen. But upon returning to the cave with all the information he has learned, the other prisoners cast him away thinking he has been corrupted by things that they are unaware of and that he is stupid. Being that this is an allegory, we need to understand that Plato intended this story to have another meaning then the actual text explains. When asked, what does...