An Analysis Of Plato 's ' The Cave ' Essay

An Analysis Of Plato 's ' The Cave ' Essay

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What is reality? An enduring question, philosophers have struggled to identify its definition and basic concept since the beginning of time. Plato, in his provocative essay, The Cave, used symbols and images to ridicule and explain how humanity easily justifies their current reality while showing us that true wisdom and enlightenment lies outside this fabricated version of reality. If he were alive in modern times, he would find society unchanged; still uneducated and silently trapped in our own hallucination of reality with only the glimmer of educational paths available. While this may be a bleak comparison, it is an accurate one as the media influences of today present a contrasting picture of education and ignorance that keeps us trapped in the confines of our own minds.
Plato would be dismayed to find that his description of the chains that hold humanity in a fabricated version of life lives on, especially through the medium of television. He described prisoners as
“dwelling in a sort of subterranean cavern with a long entrance open to the light. Conceive them as having their legs and necks fettered from childhood, so that they remain in the same spot, able to look forward only, and prevented by the fetters from turning their heads.” (paragraph 1)
Not only does this truly represent what happens in front of a television, we have even ironically named our favorite place to do this activity as a ‘man-cave’. Viewers watch the images in front of them in mostly silent reflection while ignoring the passing real life around them. We are, however, not as limited in our version of the “shadows cast from the fire on the wall of the cave” (paragraph 5). Television has documentaries and educational programs that challenge th...


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...d other things, and later, the things themselves, and from these he would go on to contemplate the appearances in the heavens and heaven itself.” (paragraph 21)
Plato and his timeless allegory still hold significance today. Humanity has always been drawn to the illusion and in doing so is quite capable of maintaining a false sense of reality in order to maintain its sanity. Television, video games and the internet offer an escape from reality and, at the same time, a prison of our own making. If television or video games were substituted for the shadows cast on the wall, Plato might well have been written The Cave allegory today. Humanity still worships the illusionary life of shadows. Despite being more scientifically advanced and perhaps enlightened in some areas, Plato would find humanity more tightly bound and imprisoned by our chains today than ever before.

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