The Allegory of the Cave by Plato explores the extent of enlightenment among people based on their exposure. He contrasts the natural conditions of the people to those of the inmates locked in secret dungeons with just the aperture that lets light. They can only see shadows mirrored on the wall, and their view of the world is focused on everything they see on the wall, before one of them survives and sees the real world. The Allegory of the Cave is important today as people live within the confines of their own convictions and morals, believing that their belief in theology, science, morality, history, politics, and ethics is the reality of the universe. People resist change because they do not want to face the world of the unknown, which is a common occurrence in the business, political, religious, and other life aspects. Their minds are chained to their version of reality just like prisoners as they fix their eyes on the shadows on their beliefs yet the sources of enlightenment and civilization are just behind them True, how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads? (Plato 62). This implies that humans are living in a world in which each individual has different opinions, ideologies, and judgments trying to convince others to believe them. This means that each person has a different perspective about the nature of the world since whatever is known is based on human experiences and may not indicate the actual world.
Human beings depend on things that they have heard from others, the media, or read from different writings but the reality may be completely different. Just as the prisoners were confined to the walls of the cave, human beings may be limited to the environment they live in and the social patterns affecting them. The escape of one of the prisoners can be compared to the decision of some individuals to detach themelves from common beliefs, seek knowledge about the world, and experience its true nature. The cave can be taken as a symbol for peoples limited capacities and the shadows act as the illusions about the world Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave? (Plato 63). The quote indicates that human beings belief in what they can see, hear, or experience until they get some enlightenment from other sources.
Plato. The Republic of Plato. Vol. 30. London: Oxford University Press, 1945.
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