Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Jumping Mouse

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Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Jumping Mouse

Truth is like trout. Slippery, it becomes difficult to grasp tightly in any attempt to catch it, and is even more difficult to show to other people, in that when one holds it up for scrutiny it is often lost in the struggle to do so. "Jumping Mouse" and Plato's "The Allegory of the Cave" have a common theme in the form of the search for truth, and showing this truth to the unenlightened. They vary greatly, however, in the carrying out of their exposure of truth, and more, their view of truth and how it is to be handled.

In the ancient story of "Jumping Mouse", Mouse finds his way to the river and medicine through his ability to literally jump past his fears and see the sacred mountains. When he does so, he catches a glimpse of a personal vision that is to drive him through the remainder of the story, and eventually to a higher plane when he is changed into an eagle. This vision is everything to him from that point on, and he strives from then on to reach it. After he has seen it and fallen into the river, he returns to where the rest of the mice are busy with the same thing they did when he left. They are enthralled in their narrow worlds and views, and so treat him with fear when they see him. They choose to make a story to explain his physical change, an excuse to stay away from him, possibly because they fear the ideas of change he brings back with him.

On the most basic level, Jumping Mouse at that point threatens their existence. They are mice, and defined by the fact that they are ever busy: burrowing and nesting and foraging; Jumping Mouse comes back with the idea that this might not be the only thing to life. Obviously they cannot simply drop everything they had known to that point and take up his view, so they instead rejected him.

Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" is similar in that a fabled and nameless man who had been chained to his illusions was set free and saw the true nature of all that was around him, outside of the cave. When he hypothetically returns to try to tell those who are still chained there of the outside world, and how everything they see is only the faint shadows outlining the true nature of reality, they reject him outright.

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