At some point in our lives, everyone has asked themselves some version of the same questions: What is “reality”, in conjunction with what determines our perception of reality, and what am I supposed to do with (or about) it? Throughout “Allegory of the Cave,” Plato attempts to answer these questions. Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave,” suggests that humans have a constrained view of the world, and that there are two different perceptions of reality, a "bodily eye” and a “mind’s eye.” The “mind’s eye”, the hypothetical site of visual recollection or imagination, is a higher level of thinking. When the prisoners are set free from their chains and begin to explore the outside world, this eye emerges. The “bodily eye” is a metaphor for the senses; it relies on sensory images about the world in order to determine what reality is. This eye is the only eye which exist inside the cave where the prisoners are confined.
“Thus they stay in the same place so that there is only one thing to look that; whatever they encounter in front of their faces. But because they are shackled, they are unable to turn their heads around”. (Plato)
One of Socrates’ theories was that of forms, which explains that the universe is made up of views of more perfect and ideal forms. The physical world, the one we can smell, touch, hear and see, is just partially viewable images of these forms. In fact, Socrates proclaims that depending on your physical senses alone, for instance –only trusting what is right in front of you- is blinding yourself in-entirety.
“And what do they see of the things that are being carried along [behind them]? Do they not simply see these [namely the shadows]? Now if they were ...
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...ed - - and thus it certainly does not pay to go up”. (Plato)
“And if they can get a hold of this person who takes it in hand to free them from their chains and to lead them up, and if they could kill him, will they not actually kill him”? (Plato)
Even when considering those circumstances, are we not still obligated to educate the uneducated?
We all have had preconceived notions about reality at one point or another. Some of us mistake sensory knowledge for the truth, while others seek the truth through philosophical reasoning. Both forms should be comprehended together; you need to understand everything in order to understand anything, regardless of the consequences. Knowledge should be embraced and not feared. Not everyone has the ability to see the truth, or the motivation to seek the truth. Therefor it is the responsibility of the enlightened to enlighten others.
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