Greek Mythology: “Plato’s allegory of the cave” and its relevance in our lives today. (Written 2000 years ago)

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Plato was a student of Socrates. He wrote the allegory of the cave in his book The Republic to compare the effect of education and “programing”.

The Allegory of the Cave, or Plato’s Cave, was presented by the Greek philosopher  Plato in his work “Republic” (514a–520a) to compare “the effect of  education, “programming, and the lack of it on our nature”. It is written as a dialogue between Plato’s brother Glaucon and his mentor  Socrates, narrated by the latter.

Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the only prisoners’ reality.

Socrates explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not reality at all, for he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the manufactured reality that is the shadows seen by the prisoners.

Plato begins by having Socrates ask Glaucon to imagine a cave where people have been imprisoned from birth. These prisoners are chained so that their legs and necks are fixed, forcing them to gaze at the wall in front of them and not look around at the cave, each other, or themselves (514a–b). Behind the prisoners is a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway with a low wall, behind which people walk carrying objects or puppets “of men and other living things” (514b). The people walk behind the wall so their bodies do not cast shadows for the prisoners to see, but the objects they carry do (“just as puppet showmen have screens in front of them at which they work their puppets” (514a). The prisoners cannot see any of what is happening behind them, they are only able to see the shadows cast upon the cave wall in front of them. The sounds of the people talking echo off the walls, and the prisoners believe these sounds come from the shadows (514c).

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Socrates suggests that the shadows are reality for the prisoners because they have never seen anything else; they do not realize that what they see are shadows of objects in front of a fire, much less that these objects are inspired by real things outside the cave which they do not see (514b-515a).

The inmates of this place are so brainwashed that they do not even desire to leave their prison; for they know no better life.  Some of the prisoners manage to break their bonds one day, and discover that their reality was not what they thought it was. …Just imagine their shock and disbelief!

Nothing that they have been forced to accept as reality was actually true!

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They discovered the sun, which Plato uses as an analogy for the fire that man cannot see behind. Like the fire that cast light on the walls of the cave, the human condition is forever bound to the impressions that are received through the senses. Even if these interpretations are an absurd misrepresentation of reality, it is difficult for us to somehow break free from the bonds of our human condition – we cannot easily free ourselves from phenomenal state just as the prisoners could not free themselves from their chains. If, however, we escape our bondage, we would find a world that we could not understand – the sun is incomprehensible for someone who has never seen it. In other words, we would encounter another “realm,” a place incomprehensible because, theoretically, it is the source of a higher reality than the one we have always known; it is the realm of pure Form, pure fact.

Plato then supposes that one prisoner is freed. This prisoner would look around and see the fire. The light would hurt his eyes and make it difficult for him to see the objects casting the shadows. If he were told that what he is seeing is real instead of the other version of reality he sees on the wall, he would not believe it. In his pain, Plato continues, the freed prisoner would turn away and run back to what he is accustomed to (that is, the shadows of the carried objects). He writes “… it would hurt his eyes, and he would escape by turning away to the things which he was able to look at, and these he would believe to be clearer than what was being shown to him.”

Plato continues: “Suppose… that someone should drag him… by force, up the rough ascent, the steep way up, and never stop until he could drag him out into the light of the sun.” The prisoner would be angry and in pain, and this would only worsen when the radiant light of the sun overwhelms his eyes and blinds him.

“Slowly, his eyes adjust to the light of the sun. First he can only see shadows. Gradually he can see the reflections of people and things in water and then later see the people and things themselves. Eventually, he is able to look at the stars and moon at night until finally he can look upon the sun itself (516a).” Only after he can look straight at the sun “is he able to reason about it” and what it is (516b).

Plato continues, saying that the freed prisoner would think that the world outside the cave was superior to the world he experienced in the cave; “he would bless himself for the change, and pity [the other prisoners]” and would want to bring his fellow cave dwellers out of the cave and into the sunlight (516c).

The returning “enlightened” prisoner, whose eyes have become accustomed to the sunlight, would be temporarily blind when he re-enters the cave, just as he was when he was first exposed to the sun (516e). The prisoners, according to Plato, would infer from the returning man’s blindness that the journey out of the cave had harmed him and that they should not undertake a similar journey.

Socrates concludes that the prisoners, if they were able, would therefore reach out and kill anyone who attempted to drag them out of the cave (517a).

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The symbols:

  • Shadows – The experiences we receive in this spacio-temporal world – shadows of the truth. (A few current examples today: Programming, advertisement, propaganda, fake news, false flags, wars, political games, “virtual games” & “reality television” )
  • Puppets – The Forms which cause the shadows that we experience – ( Those manipulated by the few that control all the communications, monopolies, corporations, industries, and all natural resources for money, personal power & control)
  • Free prisoner – The philosopher (free thinker) or enlightened man  that awakens from the hypnosis, who can first understand the true nature of reality, and the darkness in which the rest of humans have been kept since birth.  He will eventually be killed, incarcerated, or exiled  for his humanitarian and enlightened beliefs and for trying to bring knowledge, light & freedom into their world.
  • The Sun – The essential Form of Goodness – source of the Forms and Light, Knowledge and truth.

Some examples in or history:

Master Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcom X, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ninoy Aquino.

Others:

  •  Joan of Arc (French: Jeanne d’Arc, ( 6 January c. 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans” (French: La Pucelle d’Orléans), is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred years’ War . She was handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age. Ironically, (after her death) she was later on canonized as a Roman Catholic saint!!!
  • Galileo Galilei: The Galileo affair (Italian: il processo a Galileo Galilei) was a sequence of events, beginning around 1610, culminating with the trial and condemnation of  Galileo Galilei by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in 1633 for his support of heliocentrism (his conviction that the earth and the planets revolve around the sun)
  • Giordano Bruno: is among the most famous scientists ever to run afoul of the Inquisition. Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was a Dominican friar, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He is most remembered for his cosmological theories. After seven years of trials in Rome, he was condemned and burned at the stake in 1600.
  • and the list goes on and on….

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The wisdom of Plato remains so relevant today, in our modern times, even though he wrote this allegory two thousand years ago!!!

Even the images of the cave’s wall used as a screen where shadows of reality were projected remind us of other “modern magic boxes” filled with “virtual realities” and brain washing programming which indoctrinates young minds to become “consumers” for the growth of the monopolies of the world… everything from the food industry (mostly unhealthy junk), to unnecessary products that promise us to “be happy, youthful, healthy and fulfilled”. In order “to fit in society” we must wear certain clothes which are considered more appealing if they are “labelled” (which is the same stuff, just way more expensive), therefore giving us a false sense of status (all the while, making “the star that provides the name or “label”, richer).

As a society, we value and honor pop stars, as the role model for our youth, more than any other great Light bringers for humanity, the true “awaken” souls that walked our Planet and many of them died in total poverty like Nichola Tesla, while all his hundreds (if not thousands) of inventions were taken away before humanity could benefit from them (such as free energy for humanity, which was not “profitable” for Morgan).

Games of war are molding our consciousness to accept violence at an early age as a regular part of life, killing people in virtual games and actually enjoying it (which after all are not real, right?) as the people die like flies, in a virtual world where no remorse or appreciation for life is needed.

Unfortunately, our subconscious minds are not able to differentiate reality from fiction and it gets accustomed to violence from an early age.

We live in a world of “manufactured” conflict, division, and fear… we live in a virtual reality, emotionally affected by how many “likes” we get on Facebook, we communicate with others in tweets and short texts messages, while emoticons are used to express how we feel.

Like the famous Roman “bread and circus” proclaim to keep the populous happy and content by keeping the people distracted and fed. Basically ancient Rome was a society that completely revolved around war, and where compassion was considered a vice rather than a virtue.

Then it was bread and chariot races and gladiatorial games that filled the belly and distracted the mind, allowing emperors to rule as they saw fit. There’s truth to the view that people can be kept tractable (manageable, complaisant, obedient, submissive, apathetic and anesthetized) as long as you fill their bellies and give them violent spectacles to fill their free time. Watching people and animals slaughtered brutally in the arena was seen as a way to keep the civilian population from this ‘weakness’ .*

In modern times we have fast (junk) foods easily accessed  with a quick drive through or even delivered to our homes within minutes. We have the “Kardashians” and all the virtual reality shows, virtual games, and violent thriller movies & sports.  Of course we still have brutal spectacles  with innocent animals like bull fights & dog fights, and certain circus for our enterteinment (Circus training for animals often brutal and dangerous. Training methods can include use of beating clubs, electric prods, and deprivation of food, just to name a few).

In addition, we also have all the most gruesome & most violent highlights in the news (which are never good news), making us live in fear: fear of war, fear of natural disasters, fear of smiling at someone on the street, fear of feeling, and daring to be our own authentic true selves…

It’s time for us to wake up!!!

To see things as they truly are, to seek the light, to walk inwards to the sun of our souls, to bathe in nature and feel the true love that surrounds us & interconnect us all.

To no longer accept the hypnosis in our lives of things that break up families, that bring us financial enslavement to consumerism, unhealthy foods, contaminated air, water, pollution, “manufactured” wars, division, hatred and prejudism.

We need to unplug from the virtual reality matrix, even if just for only a few hours a day, and regain our inner peace and our own capacity to freely think for ourselves, to connect with others, with nature, and with our own hearts: our inner Light!

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References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_of_Arc

https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/politics/stories/8-great-heroes-of-human-rights

http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2016/02/25/1556571/yellow-ribbon

*https://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-astore/bread-and-circuses-in-rom_b_3414248.html

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for sharing this.
    I shall come once again to read this..
    Shiva

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    1. Thank you! I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this post!

      Like

  2. As interesting a post as I have ever read. Thank you for sparking me to consider more and to seek understanding more diligently. I plan to start today! And I agree with all that was said about todays’ standards-heartbreaking images.

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    1. Hi Michele! I’m glad to hear that you found a spark in this post.I know you are one of the most “connected” people I know: to nature, to your loved ones, and for connecting with your own inner Light! 😉

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      1. Goodness, what a nice thing to say. Your words fill my heart. You are nourishment for the body and soul. thank you love Michele

        Like

  3. LindaP says:

    So much truth in this post!

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  4. Thank you Linda! I hope it inspires us to seek truth, Peace & Light in our lives.

    Like

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