Plato and the Search for the Truth Part II
Plato’s allegory of the cave is a metaphor that depicts the value of knowledge or more specifically of education to people. It is an interesting story on how people are blinded on the difference of illusion and reality. It is a metaphorical scene in which people are born in a cave, with no light and full of darkness. The cave is a place where people have not seen the outside world in which sunlight and others can be seen. Plato considers these people as prisoners of their own ignorance because they are chained by the illusion that they encountered in the cave . The objects inside the cave are not what they appear outside it. For example, trees, plants, horses, and others that people see are merely shadows or reflections of the true objects that are outside the cave. People are forced to believe that everything that the shadows project are the true reality. As long as they stay inside the cave, people would be forced to accept that everything in the said place is real. The allegory suggests that most people don’t know what the truth really is. Most of us tend to live in darkness because it is to accept everything that we see as real. Most of us are in the state of ignorance that the darkness represents in the said allegory. This state of ignorance is widespread since pursuing the truth an arduous task. It takes a lot of effort and critical evaluation of the things that we encounter in this life and to go against the majority. Most people would opt to blindly receive the common sense interpretation of everything than to intellectualize or philosophize. But, as Plato emphasizes, philosophizing is the way to the truth. He further argues that it is the only way to liberate oneself from the bondage of ignorance. Unfortunately, philosophizing is just for the few. For most people, it is more convenient to accept common sense because it takes guts and intellectual acuity to fight for the truth. Plato argues that only a few would possess the courage to find the light outside of the cave of illusion. These people would even be condemned by the majority because the truth is hard to accept. It is why most of the prominent thinkers were persecuted during their time. For instance, Socrates was penalized by death because of his philosophical teachings. Galileo, Darwin, Columbus, and others suffered condemnation and persecution when they declared their ideas to the world. Indeed, most people don’t want to talk about the truth or anything deeper than the common sense reality. Sadly, there is a tendency of people to reject philosophical insights that may change the way they see things in reality.
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