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Discussion Questions for Plato – The Allegory of the Cave Essay

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Updated: Jul 28th, 2022

Plato was a prominent philosopher whose works inspire millions of people. Among his writings, “The Allegory of the Cave” attracts much attention due to its symbolic suggestions. The analysis of a hidden moral meaning in Plato’s allegory is necessary. My goal is to understand what Plato wanted to say about reality, false truth, human progress, and the intention to use education as the only means to transform and deal with challenges.

The illustration of Plato’s case represents a prisoner who tries to escape the cave and discover the outside world. The author used the light of the fire and the shadows to be taken as reality. People are not ready to accept other realities except the one offered by the shadows in the cave. Therefore, the inability of individuals to discover the truth and leave the cave makes them unable to choose between actual reality and the world that they falsely believe to be true. However, Plato showed the way of change by looking toward the real light. He applied metaphors like the need to escape through the fire, with its light hurting the eyes, and liberation to provoke movement and decision-making as a part of education.

When a person emerges from the cave, the first emotions disturb and frighten because it is never easy to leave a routine. People suffer from sharp pain in their legs, necks, and eyes because they see reality from a new perspective. For a long period, they have been chained and lived under the already established rules. Now, they become free, and their eyes have never seen the sunlight, which causes new sensations. The same happens to people who choose education for their progress. Education is a step out of the cave, but it is never straightforward. Knowledge, as well as the escape, is just the first goal after which new decisions and options occur.

Still, not many people want to leave the cave as they believe that unpredictable harm waits for them behind the fire. They decide to stay in the cave, the symbol of safety and ignorance, and forget about those who left their ordinary environment, relying on their illusions. The light of the fire represents false senses, from which it is impossible to learn the true reality. People, who leave the cave, never come back because they can see and use the power of the sun that represents the higher truth.

In college, I could change my mind on some issues, and my friends and family would positively react to my achievements. They have already experienced the power of knowledge and expect me to do the same. Plato admitted that education should not be directly related to professions people choose. Education efforts are never used to tell students how to behave but to provide them with knowledge and engage in discussions to make them able to decide, solve problems, and develop (Johnson 47). I think that Plato’s view of education differs from the modern interpretation. He believed that art and the development of extraordinary qualities introduce the fastest way to get out of the cave and reach reality. It is expected of young people to get themselves prepared for college by learning history and following the standards. Creativity and uniqueness are usually allowed when some experience is gained.

In general, Plato’s opinion about education as a profound transformation cannot be ignored today. Although people understand the necessity of change and development, they are afraid to take new steps and try to resist. Some families do not want their children to be hurt by the outside world, while many young people want to discover the world. I believe that my academic experience might be painful at first because I do not know what to expect from peers and educators. Still, I consider this challenge worthy because education opens a new door in my life. If it is necessary to deal with some discomfort and pain, I am ready to manage it and use my skills for good.

Reference

Johnson, Craig E. Organizational Ethics: A Practical Approach. 4th ed., SAGE, 2018.

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