The Allegory of the Cave

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The Allegory of the Cave

The Allegory of the Cave is one of the most famous passages in Western philosophy history. It starts with a scene representation of a group of captives who have lived like their entire lives bound to the wall of a dark cave. These prisoners seem to be subjected under severe torture due to the conditions in which they are living. The prisoners in the caves observed shadows which were projected on a blank wall like every day, and according to them the shadows were actual, and they shaped their whole reality. Imagining that one of the prisoners eventually manages to leave the cave and walks outside and experiences the sunshine and the world outside the cave. While outside the cave he is exposed for the first time to the sunshine as well as the light and therefore he is finally able to see the exact shapes, forms plus the actual reality of the shadows which he previously believed were real (Plato and Benjamin, p.16). On learning the truth, this individual would undoubtedly feel remorseful for his companions who are still back in the cave. If he tends to return to the cave and elucidates to them what he saw and experienced in the outside, they would probably not believe, and they would laugh at him thinking he has gone crazy.

Therefore the Allegory of the Cave by Plato tends to explore the tension amid the imaginary reality that the individuals reflect is actual (shadows) against the integrity that is the actuality (outside the cave). This paper discusses and analyzes how the current issues in the society regarding self-development and entertainment relates to the Cave Allegory context on how people are made to believe what is not factual to be the reality.

The best method to learn from the Cave Allegory is to reflect on the individuals who were confined in the cave as the majority of the individuals in the world. The individuals in the cave alleged that the shadows which they experienced daily were the truth, and this corresponds to the majority of individuals in the world in contemporary times who trust in and follow the shadows based on education, money and fame among others. These things which the individuals tend to believe in and follow are commonly the notions as well as the social norms which individuals have been made and told to stick to early from their childhood due to the majority accord. Inappropriately, this thinking leads to a life of lost prospects plus mediocrity since the individuals will never contemplate and realize how much reality and opportunities essentially happens outer the “cave.”

Moreover, the Allegory of the Cave in today’s society also relates in one way or another to false advertising. False advertising which is evident in the music industry, movies, news, newspapers, billboards, and magazines among others. In this context, the individuals believe in what they see without proper reasoning, and when they finally conduct some research, they may find out that the advertising was indeed a lie. For example, many companies use false advertising to make the individuals believe that their products are good and hence they profit from the lies. However many individuals already know this, but most of them are still oblivious. The individuals who already understand all this and always buys the products relate directly to the prisoners who only watched the shadows in the cave and the ones who took the next step of doing some research on the products relate to the prisoner who became free. Also, the individuals in the society are still blinded mainly while watching the television and some movies where the culture is easily influenced (Peterson and Valerie, p.276). Today, the television functions as a form of entertainment to everybody. In reality Television individuals tend to believe that it is real, but in reality, they know that it is not the reality as there exist the producers who set everything up. However, the individuals incline to trust what they see is real. Consequently, so many children are glued to the television and other forms of entertainment like playing the video games, and this seems to become their little world which they are trapped in and are slurped into a world that is not the actual reality and hence they are made to believe that it is true.

The internet is another component since nowadays it is like anyone can post like anything they like. Individuals can publish their writings concerning their opinions on some issues and later post them online where they are available by many people. These writings or ideas may be rumors or may be false, and some individuals might believe in them as they are actual. Also, celebrities plus the existing social networking sites make the masses go into another imaginary world and makes them in some way to escape the reality. The celebrities and the internet have therefore created an illusion to some individuals that what they hear, see and experience from them is real, just because they saw it on the television or the internet (Huard and Roger, p23). What Plato was trying to mean is that sometimes the masses are being blinded by the reality and some of the individuals do not even discern what to think or they want to believe otherwise since they are accustomed to their mode of thinking.

In conclusion, the Allegory of the Cave still applies to today’s world as individuals are still being kept in the dark and thus looking at the “shadows” cast by different sectors in the society like the media and the entertainment industry. They all portray what they want the individuals to believe, and the individuals who manage to get the truth out it becomes hard to make others think the same since they have been brainwashed into believing the lies. Therefore it is right for the individuals to realize that times have transformed, the world has evolved, and they do not have to be living in the captivity and darkness anymore.

Works Cited

Huard, Roger L. Plato’s Political Philosophy. Algora Pub., 2007.

Peterson, Valerie V. “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: literacy and “the good”.” Review of Communication 17.4 (2017): 273-287.

Plato., and Benjamin Jowett. The Allegory Of The Cave. Enhanced Media, 2017.

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