By Mara PALAGHICIUC, EEB4 FRA
THE MYTH OF THE CAVE
Misery, soreness, strain… The never-ending agony of a soul bound to the primeval earth and doomed for all eternity to live its life in vain, is heard through the thick walls of a stone-hearted bane. The cries of a hopeless heart, and its love for shackles remains…nowhere to hide, and no one to blame…
In a life of pain and darkness, the only available light becomes your best friend and a beacon of hope… Misery, soreness, and strain fade away when the little you receive, becomes the greatness you can afford.
And so, the prisoners in Plato’s cave lived their life each day without knowing any other world than the one presented on the wall right in front of them. The fire behind them ignited, men carried, the shadows persisted, and the images appeared on the wall of the cave, as shameless as they had been, always…
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the myth of the cave.
TO AND FRO THE WORLD OF PLATO
The myth of the cave, which was written by the ancient philosopher Plato in “The Republic”, is probably one of the most interesting allegories of the human condition, in relation to reality. It helps us rediscover the meaning of truth, through the depiction of a cave full of chained prisoners.
Firstly, Plato urges us to imagine a big cave, that is linked to the outside world only through a long ascent which prevents any daylight from entering the cave. Inside, a row of chained prisoners face a wall, their limbs and neck bound, so all they can see is the rampart in front of them. Behind them a fire, which reflects on the wall the shadows of the goods people are carrying to and fro, in the cave.
Thus, the only perception of the world that the prisoners know, is the one cast right in front of them. If a prisoner was to be released and shown into the outside world, as Plato says, he would be overwhelmed by the amount of light, new sounds and perceptions he discovered, so, he would like to return to the dark cave he was used to. Once the released prisoner was accustomed to the upper world, he wouldn’t want to return. But imagine if he had to, Plato encourages us… What would happen then?
The elevated prisoner, with his newly found knowledge, would certainly be mocked by the old prisoners, whom cannot understand the facts presented to them, as they do not possess the necessary experience to imagine another reality than the one in their cold dark pit.
HOW CAN WE INTERPRET THIS MYTH IN OUR LIFE?
Once knowledge has been attained, it cannot withdraw. Thus, the fire of reason within us shines and enlightens the rest of the world, but it truly reaches the hearts and minds of the ones that have the necessary tools to perceive the reality as we present it to them.
This allegory of the human condition shows once again how reality is a subjective matter.
We can extend this discussion by asking ourselves: Are all of us really capable of enlarging our own point of view, so as to be able to relish the incontrovertibly sweet, and perhaps sour taste of the truth?
In the next article, you will be able to admire some golden tones, and almost hear quite an excruciating bellowing, whilst feeding knowledgeable twigs to your inner fire …Can you guess the next debunked myth? Until next time!
Sources: Featured image: https://www.philosophyzer.com/the-allegory-of-the-cave-by-plato-summary-and-meaning/