Essay Reality of the Shadows: The Allegory of the Cave

Essay Reality of the Shadows: The Allegory of the Cave

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Philosophers are often tempted to find out the hidden meanings behind the apparent reality. A lot of valuable contributions to that particular philosophical topic were made by Plato. Much of contemporary philosophy is still being based upon what he had left behind. Also, many other themes developed by philosophers can be related to Plato`s vision of reality and form. William Goulding in his essay, ‘Thinking as a Hobby’ assigns three grades to thinkers based on their understanding of the world and their perceptions of truth. The truth in Goulding`s (2004) writings can, conveniently, be related to the truth in Plato`s work, as the end meaning and the thematic vision is similar in nature. Goulding argues that detachment from the popular perception of reality and the ability to create new ideas takes an individual to the grade-one level of thinking, while blindly following the norms would be an attribute of grade-three thinkers. Similarly, in the ‘Allegory of the Cave’, Plato narrates that once a prisoner had been freed, he understands the reality behind the shadows.
In this context, it is crucial to understand Goulding`s attribution of grades to the people. His obsession with ‘thinking’ led him to the conclusion that he himself cannot think at all. It was back in school when he observed the statuettes of his headmaster who had asked him, “Don`t you ever think at all?’. He sought inspiration from his teachers to initiate the process of thinking, which seems too complex at the time. He was even more confused when he realized that those who claimed to think themselves exhibited self destructive behavior for instance drinking, or staring at attractive women. These kinds of people are attributed as grade three thinkers, who according to...


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...der to begin the journey from grade three thinking, one will have to de-construct his ideals and be open to other thoughts and perceptions as well. Once someone has the ability to look at things from different perspectives by turning his head away from the shadows to their source, he can get closer to finding the truth.



Works Cited

• “Plato's Simile of Light. Part II. The Allegory of the Cave (Continued)”, A. S. Ferguson, The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Jan., 1922), pp. 15-28, Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association, Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/636164
• “Thinking as a Hobby”, Golding W, The Norton Reader, Shorter Eleventh Edition. Ed. Linda H. Peterson and John C. Brereton. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2004. 124-130
• “The Allegory of the Cave “, Plato, Brea, CA: P & L Publication, 2010. Print.

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