Allegory Of A Cave Essay, Research Paper
Lisa Ann Haney
Allegory of the Cave
Is our perception of this world true or is it merely a reflection or shadow of the real world? Can knowledge be passed from teacher to student or must each student travel his own path to enlightenment? Are the enlightened responsible to the rest of society? Are they the only people qualified to run society as a whole? These are the questions that plagued Plato and resulted in his famous portion of The Republic entitled Allegory of the Cave. These questions are very important because they address the system of education, the system of government, and the concept of a better or alternative universe. These questions have plagued many for thousands of years. The answers affect our every day lives thus giving them great significance.
The author proposes that there are two worlds, the physical and the intellectual. He thought that knowledge could not be passed from teacher to student, that rather, the teacher should direct the student?s mind toward what is real and important thus allowing them to apprehend it for themselves. He also felt that it was the responsibility of the enlightened to ?educate? and rule over society as a whole.
Plato uses an allegory to suggest that the true path to enlightenment consist of a, maybe painful, journey out of the darkness and into the light. It supports or maybe created the theory that the truth hurts. He takes a character who grew up in a cave and who was taught to believe only what he experienced with his senses. This is only logical. That is until he is released into the ?upper? world, the world outside the cave. Plato takes him through his journey to enlightenment beginning with the painful first sight of direct sunlight through the visions of shadows and to the reflections in the water until finally he is able to look directly into the sun and argue that it is the ?true? way of seeing things. He is then made to descend again into the cave and make his efforts and journey worthwhile. This allegory represents our journey from knowledge consisting only of our physical reality to knowledge of an intellectual reality.
In this argument, Plato assumes that the world revealed by our senses is not the real world but a poor copy of it, that knowledge can not be passed from teacher to student, that the universe is ultimately good, and the enlightened are obligated to society and only the truly wise should rule.
Platos Allegory of a cave