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The Cave Allegory depicts the level of human reasoning and perception when it comes to the truth about existence. Plato describes the lives of prisoners who are imprisoned and have no contact with the outside world in his writings. Prisoners can only see shadows that move in front of their eyes. The purpose of this paper is to see if Plato's Allegory of the Cave makes a stronger case for enlightenment or ignorance (Castro 101). This topic is important and timely because it attempts to address misconceptions about ideas that are formed as a result of reality versus those that are based on mere perceptions. This paper is of the opinion that Plato is right in asserting that ignorance profoundly engulfs the society. The argument in support of this position is discussed in this corpus.
The Allegory of the Cave presents a clear and a coherent argument that is effective for enlightenment among human beings. It is true that the senses only are unreliable just like perceptions. Perceptions are indeed imperfect since they reflect on how people individually look at things. When we perceive things, we fail to interrogate the truth in them. It is crucial to believe in things with evidence of truth and not because we view them to be so (Castro 87). Many are times when people believe in what they can see or hear. Human beings are always ignorant of their situations and prefer confine their thoughts to what they think suits their circumstances. In the story, Allegory of the Cave, characters can be seen going out of the prison where they see the light but they do not change. People are always immersed in abject ignorance.
As human beings, we can only comprehend the truth when we go beyond what we merely perceive by our senses. In fact, we cannot live in an ethical surrounding if we fail to understand this. The virtues of the body are similar to the soul qualities. However, as rational beings, we cannot rely on soul and physical qualities in seeking for the truth but just comprehend their implication. For instance, opinion yields knowledge through reasoning. In essence, when we reason, assessing opinion or perceptions (senses) leads to knowledge (understanding) by the logic of their implications. It suffices to point out that human thinking is often riddled with fallacies. The reasoning ability of people is clouded in subjectivity.
It is the assertion of this paper that in several circumstances, people act on limited information with interrogating the validity and reliability. Wisdom is premised on critical thinking and the search for the significant information that is always omitted. As pointed out in Allegory of the Cave, human beings act and think irrationally. Typically, the human nature is more inclined towards the belief that the end justifies the means. This justification is not fair because processes are supposed to be evaluated before approving such results.
Allegory of the Cave some prisoners are chained by their arms and legs, and they can only see shadows and hear echoes (Castro 93). The prisoners are unenlightened people with an ideal version of reality. To me, the Allegory of the Cave creates an almost accurate description of life and the process someone undergoes through time. When an individual is young, the perception he/she has represents the natural condition of the acquisition of knowledge. With continued exposes to different phenomena the understanding of idealized version changes. Indeed, that the freed prisoner would not want to go back to their state of idealized imprisonment, the allegory veers into the op-ed territory. The story is an accurate view of the philosophical processes someone faces in life. Allegory of the Cave both tackle the question the of “What is a reality?” and “Are we living in the real world or an illusion of the real world?”
Today, people are much like the people of the cave as depicted by Plato. The senses chain people and always hold that what we perceive to be true. In a real sense, reality can be equated with people sitting in a cave with their back to the light. True knowledge exists underneath the superficial appearances. Uneducated individuals cannot see beyond the shadows of real objects, and undeniable hold them as the truth. Plato is of the view that the ultimate goal of education is not just to transfer knowledge to students. Students’ minds are directed to make discoveries of what is real, important, good, and true.
Education is meant to drive away ignorance and at the same time turning peoples’ souls towards the truth. It can be argued that the soul has the power and capacity to learn hence it merely needs right guidance towards the absolute truth (Castro 107). Many people are unaware of the theory of forms. People have a distorted understanding of what is the reality. The general terms of a language cannot be used to nominate physical object that can be seen. In other words, the general terms denote things which cannot be discerned by the mind but can understand by the mind.
According to Plato, human beings can only possess genuine knowledge of substances or things which are perfect and do not change. Human beings can merely know forms but limited knowledge regarding material objects (Castro 101). Human beings are thought of having only beliefs or opinion as far as the material world is concerned. Plato in his writing helps the readers to understand the unfolding event in the Allegory of the grave when Socrates asks Glaucon see the natural events when the prisoners are released. The release of prisoners the natural world compels them to grasp the theory of Forms by applying reasoning with the mind.
According to the argument by Plato, until human beings come out of the box of our reality, our false sense of perception bears no wisdom at all. According to the Allegory of the Cave, the learning process can be associated with ascension. It begins from a person’s deluded state to the real characterized by clear ideas. This assertion supports the notion that the concept of the good is the supreme reality. In the Allegory of the Cave, a prisoner escapes and is bewildered at the sun (Castro 89). However, it takes the prisoner time to come to terms without what he is seeing. This confession shows how ignorant people are because accepting the truth is always difficult. Even after some prisoners had escaped and went back to the cave to share their stories, the situation is grim. No prisoner wants to believe them because they are used to darkness and cannot believe in light.
It is imperative to point human beings do not agree to open themselves up for scrutiny. Public argumentation is normally characterized by assumption of hard line position even when such positions are wrong. Learning process requires that exchange of ideas is based on pragmatic and yet consistent thought process. It is critical that people change their attitude towards to conform to ethically desired behaviors. We should remove the chain of ignorance that has bound us for a very long period of time.
In conclusion, the Allegory of the Cave persuasively argues that human beings are ignorant of their situation as their senses just lead them into believing in something without necessarily applying reason. Ignorance has made people to be subjective rather than to be objective in appreciating the world around them. It is tragic that in most cases, human beings ignore the plain truth and engage in entertaining fallacies. In a nutshell, there is the need to look for the truth.
Castro, Andres Fabian Henao. "Slavery in Plato's Allegory of the Cave: Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière, and the Militant Intellectual from the Global South." Theatre Survey 58.1 (2017): 86-107.
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