In my freshman english class, Ms. Purves introduced us the Plato’s Allegory of The Cave. I’ve heard of Plato, socrates and other greek-persian thinkers, but never really knew any of their work or philosophies. Even though, i didn’t know their work, i knew that the Greeks and the Romans paved the way to modern society by advancing government, sports and arts. Knowing more about Plato i began to realize that he was truly a product of his environment. He had all the tools to succeed very prosperous and rich time in Greek history. Being born a male during the final years of the Golden Age of Pericles, he had an amazing opportunity to study philosophy and become a scholar.
Reading through I remember just being awed by the insurmountable and surrealist scenario pictured in the “Allegory of the Cave”. In the Allegory of the Cave a group of men have spent their entire lives securely chained up in a cave. They have a severely shortsighted field of view as they were bound by leg and neck, and cannot even turn their heads to see elsewhere. The only reality they knew was the shadows that they named and distant noises. They based their reality only the things they actually see and their external stimulus. They only base reality on their “material world” as Plato explains. The material world, the one we feel, smell and see, is really just half-seen images of the reality of the forms. It suggests that we are slaves to our senses
This entire “journey” is about perspective and what is reality is to different people with different knowledge about the world. The prisoners’ perspective of reality seemed warped and hallucinogenic to our minds. The prisoners believed that the shadows were real. Although we all know shadows are not living things, that was the reality for the prisoners and it felt real to them; as real as the sun and the moon are to us.
I feel like Plato is referring to the uneducated and uninformed consumers and people of the world who do what they are told or believe what they are told to believe. He is trying to warn that society has conformed into a big gullible group of thoughtless followers, who comply with all the rules imposed on them without protesting. It is a concept that demonstrates how humans are fearful of change from normalcy and what they don’t know. Plato is basically saying that men are living in an underground cave and it’s ironic that the story they’re literally in a cave.
knowledge metaphorically meant power. However, with all this power comes responsibility. The less the prisoners knew about the extremely complex world around them the less power they had.
Why are we here? What is reality? Are we being hidden from reality?
represents enlightenment, stepping of your comfort zone, and abandoning past beliefs.
The golden age of Greece led to breakthroughs in politics, philosophy, art, architecture, language and literature which are still impactful today. Modern Civilization would not have been the society we know today without the many influences from the ancient Greeks.