Archive for January 18, 2011

The Allegory of the Cave – also known as the Analogy of the Cave, Plato’s Cave, or the Parable of the Cave – is an allegory used by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work ‘The Republic’ to illustrate “our nature in its education and want of education”.

All these years later, how perfectly the Cave describes the mechanism that has captured, deceived and diverted us from what is important and real about humanity. Real life has been arrested in our modern day; Instead, television and other forms of bread & circuses present to us imitations of life that we learn to take on as our role models and heroes.

Socrates describes a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Socrates, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not constitutive of reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

The phrase ‘Look to the past to understand the future” is more than relevant today!!

JP