Themes in Plato`s account of the interior of the Cave and their relevance today
Themesin Plato’s account of the interior of the Cave and their relevancetoday
Plato’sThemes of the Cave and their relevance today
Plato`s"The Allegory of the Cave" literal meaning depicts a groupof prisoners chained inside a cave. The people have no much freedomof movement and are limited to one side of the wall. “Thepeople have been in this dwelling since childhood, shackled by thelegs and neck.” [ CITATION Pla17 l 1033 ].Shadowsof people have cast before them thanks to a fire in the cave. Theshadows belong to people who occasionally pass near the cave carryingluggage. All the chained prisoners see are shadows of whatever iscarried across the fire casting shadows. It is the much descriptionPlato gives about the cave and its inhabitants. The paper willhighlight the key themes of Plato`s narrative of the cave and howthey are applicable in today`s life.
Platoraises themes in the allegory. He raises the idea of knowledge andenlightenment. Plato describes the cave as dark with little light.The author describes the outside of the cave as filled with light andfreedom as inside people are chained and bounded. He connects allthis to perception and sensory creations of the world where there isa difference between truth and what is perceived as reality. Hesuggests that the lack of pursuit to pursue knowledge and to seek thetruth keeps many people in the dark. He challenges individuals whoare born only to settle for what they hear and see as being in thedark[ CITATION Pla17 l 1033 ].He encourages people to exercise their inherentabilities to study and understand their environment since an ignitedmind is powerful.
Platodescribes a wall that comes in the way of the chained people to seebeyond it.Hesuggests that one has to make an effort to see beyond what is infront of them and search for the hidden treasure or meaning. Hecondemns laziness and settling on comfort zones of simply what is ondisplay already to see and challenges people to see beyond the raisedwall.
Shadowscast inside the cave are all the bounded people see. Since this isall they see, the illusion is exchanged and taken to be the reality.Plato seeks to suggest that beyond the illusion or what has beenpresented to humans naturally is simply a reflection of reality outthere to be sought after. Beliefs are founded not on truth but anillusion. "thosewho were chained would consider nothing besides the shadows of theartifacts as the unhidden.”[ CITATION Nat14 l 1033 ].
Transitionspose challenges. When one of the prisoners is unchained and releasedinto the world of light, the new light hurts the eye and blinds himat first. There is the state of transiting that is quite a processand takes time. After that, there is the open the door to the realworld and understanding of how things work. Beauty and meaning oflife are indeed revealed as freedom abounds outside the cave. Thetheme of transition is highlighted as challenging since most peoplechained by poverty and other social problems always see the means oftransitions as risky and hard to achieve. The theme applies to modernstruggles for a better living.
Ignoranceis the other theme Plato brings out sharply. There is the usual urgeto go back to the cave and help out the other prisoners into thefield of light. People are emersed in ignorance, but they are notaware of their depths of ignorance in their circle. The people in thecave cannot stand the idea of their fellow prisoner, and they opt tokill him instead. They could not even give his thoughts a secondchance. Their beliefs and understanding of life could not be givenany room to be challenged. Here, Plato seems to question the life ofthe political world of many states as many go unchallenged and thefew who rise to challenge the already laid out systems are killed.“Andif they can get hold of this person who takes it in hand to free themfrom their chains and to lead them up, and if they could kill him,will they not actually kill him? … They certainly will.”[ CITATION Pla17 l 1033 ].
Platodiscusses the theme of change. Change is possible and inevitable. Itis also difficult for everyone. Change is depicted by some prisonersurge for the light. Ignorant people find it hard to accept realityeven when it is presented to them. In the same way, after finallyreceiving knowledge, it is equally hard for the enlightened person toagree on the level of ignorance in others or even going back to thestate of ignorance.
Platoencourages people to embrace education and to open themselves upspiritually to get themselves off the bondage of their minds. Hesuggests that everyone has the power to engage the mind and seek thetruth. Plato encourages people to be less concerned with the materialthings and pursue goodness and shun evil. He encourages people topursue justice courses and fight injustice systems. People areenlightened and spiritually illuminated have qualities of rightnessand distinguish wrong doings.
Beyondhis writings and works about the cave, Plato is known as a man whopursued justice and knowledge and truth. He preached equality amongpeople. Plato envisioned an ideal society with excellent leadership.He envisioned government institutions out to serve humanity and itscitizenry. The world haslimited resources that require proper management and public agenciesto improve the well-being of people(Mendoza,2014).Leaders should bring forth administrativelaws that mind people`s welfare and enforcing statutory requirementsto guide individuals in an enlightened way.
Educationtoday is becoming a luxury for the few individuals, yet it is the eyeopener for the people in the society. People need to be removed fromtheir chains of ignorance and education should be a free resourceprovided by the government. Learning matters should be a priority forany serious government for liberating people [ CITATION Nat14 l 1033 ].In today`s world, these negative themes can be solved by education.
Fromthe above themes, it is clear that Plato was advocating for a betterwelfare of the society. His ideas are applicable in the modern worldfor people to shun poverty, ignorance and fight for good governance.Plato seeks positive changes in the society, themes such as changehas been used by politicians recently in America and other economies.The author is indirectly talking to people for them to gain freedomfrom society vices that lead to social imprisonment.These urges are a continuous affair since the world is still facingchallenges that were there even in Plato`s era [ CITATION Nat14 l 1033 ].The theme of education is still relevant even in modern societymany people have joined university and colleges for more knowledgeand specialization in productive fields. Also, on the ignorancetheme, the government fight ignorance by establishing educationinstitutions in the modern world.
Inconclusion, Plato tries to communicate themes such as education, hardwork, and change in society. Even though the narrative was done inyester years, the topics are applicable even in the modern world.Plato describes how human chain themselves in ignorance by failing tosee the light His solution to this is education. Education today isstill applicable in the world to solve humanitarian problems such ashealth and poverty.In the cave, prisoners influence each otherdecision. The influencing can be explained in modern day lifestylewhere social media and television influence people and sometimesshield them from making rational decisions.
Andersen,N. (2014). ShadowPhilosophy: Plato’s Cave and Cinema.London: Routledge. Retrieved fromhttps://books.google.co.ke/books?id=5BBgAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA76&dq=plato+cave+allegory+application+in+modern+life&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=plato%20cave%20allegory%20application%20in%20modern%20life&f=false
Mendoza, A. (2014). "Reinsurance as Governance: Governmental RiskManagement Pools as a Case Study in the Governance Role Played byReinsurance Institutions."
Plato.(2017). TheAllegory of the Cave.Raleigh: Lulu. Retrieved fromhttps://books.google.co.ke/books?id=50T6DQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=plato+cave+allegory+application+in+modern+life&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
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