The Platonic Philosophy

It is known to everyone that Plato’s Allegory is one of the most thought-provoking as well as fascinating parables ever told. It is however intriguing that many people have devoted their career as well as lives to try to fully grasp the true essence and meaning of the Plato’s Allegory. The Allegory of the Cave is known to have infinite interpretations- which have added to its beauty over time, creating multiple platforms for discussion, debate and abysmal philosophical analysis. The tale below depicts the journey of a prisoner who is out of the dark cave and into the world of good. It also shows how a story concerning the importance of knowledge, the soul as well as the factual meaning of liberation.

It is also true that a person that has analysed ‘The Republic‘ by Plato will be the only one to summarize the three ways in which a person is able to make the celebrated turn and according to them they are; what is known as ‘dialectic’, education of the individual through the muses and gymnastics (which is supervised by the philosophers) and divine intervention or ‘divine irruption’ into the human dimension. This turn transforms a person from being a regular person to a philosopher in fact, the person will see “the true light of the Good”.

As a matter of fact, the Allegory of the Cave can be categorized as an example of divine irruption and the motive behind for this assumption falls on the wording of the allegory (which was narrated by Socrates). Socrates begins his renowned narration by instructing Glaucon to imagine a cave

“Imagine further that since childhood the cave dwellers have had their legs and necks shackled so as to be confined to the same spot. They are further constrained by blinders that prevent them from turning their heads; they can see only directly in front of them.”

This statement clearly shows the reality that there is only one thing that the prisoners are familiar with (the shadows that are projected on the cave wall) and to them, every other thing is obscure and unknown.

Hence, the person who pursues true education and seeks knowledge, continuously clarifying his doubts, will be able to attain the title of a philosopher if he strives to do so.

After Socrates mentioned to Glaucon that one of the prisoners is freed we sense an interference from ‘the greater source that commands the liberation of the prisoner’.

“One prisoner is freed from his shackles. He is suddenly compelled to stand up, turn around, walk and look toward the light.”

Then “Again, let him be compelled to look directly at the light and then let him be dragged up by force both reiterate the interference of an external force”.

What we learnt from the above statement is that the ordinary people can make the turn towards the light of good. When the ‘chosen prisoner’ is released and let out to the real world, his/her eyes gradually begin to adjust to the new environment. With no time, he adjust and everything becomes familiar once again. We know that there is nothing truer than reality but however, if there is a possibility of the prisoner returning back to the cave, he will be ridiculed and mocked as a result of his claim of seeing a “truer world’ that the world of shadows. This is because other prisoners (who have never experienced life outside the cave) find it impossible to believe a different insight on reality compared to the one they know during the course of their lives “the faded shadows on the wall”.

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