Plato investigates human consciousness in terms of the social cooperation. The way of the personal improvement and education can be confusing and painful. Plato’s parable The Allegory of the Cave describes a community people who do not acquainted with the external world. Their life goes around the worlds inside the Cave which are symbolized by the shadows on the wall of the Cave and puppets in fire – the offset light these shadows.
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People in the Cave do not interact with the worlds outside the Cave, reflected in water, the things themselves, including the stars and the moon in the night sky and the sun. Reflecting about the reasons of accepting or declining the information, Plato consists that a closed mind is inborn, although, there is still a chance to open it. Plato considers the ascent to truth confusing and painful, as the people in the Cave have to rebuild their mind and usual comprehension of the things.
Plato discusses about the way of getting the information, thinking about the reason why people behave like they are prisoners of the Cave. If they are prisoners, they must be released. They will get the freedom to contemplate the whole world and to imagine freely. But the point is that they were not forced to stay in darkness. Now they see only offset shadows, games of fire on the wall in front of the Cave where the puppet-handlers are inseparable part of their life.
The people in the Cave are unable to see something else, their heads are motionless and their legs and necks are fixed. This fire is the pure Knowledge, but people are able to see only its shadows. They chose this way which is more safe and easy. It is better to see only the shadows, not the flame that can burn. The outside world can be dangerous, as the sun in eclipse is dangerous to the eyes. There may be a number of terrible things which can destroy the usual way of life.
The terror of the ascent is obvious: the world can be changed and it is impossible to predict the results of such transformation. If people in the Cave were free, they would start to imagine. Every social phenomenon they would explain from a position of superstitions. Educated in the spirit of ignorance, they would take a lot of things for granted. They would look at the world through the prism, the barrier that stands in their minds.
Imagination plays a big part in our perception of the world. Plato considers this position in a negative way. People would like to stay in darkness, instead of suffer from “bright light”. Communicating with each other and interacting with the outside worlds, people in the Cave would name the objects, would open the new facilities and different elements. This is the way of the ascent; however, people in the Cave will be in a danger.
Nevertheless, the ascent from the shadows to the sun involves not only terror. The beauty of the outside world is worth to be confused at the beginning. The real knowledge is the most valuable thing that can help people in the Cave to improve their life, to forget all fears and prejudices. This knowledge can be achieved only in a way of interaction with the things outside, including stars, moon and sun.
Therefore, it is necessary to claim that people in the Cave, as well as everyone in this world, should not be afraid of the ascent from one world of things to another. All those worlds can be a part of one common world of consciousness which will be a source of the real knowledge.
Obviously, no one wants to consider oneself as a prisoner of a close mind. However, often, we cannot understand that world is bigger than some “cave” and, although the ascent from one world to another can be complicated, the final result is worth to be achieved. I have experienced such situation with one of my friends. He came to our city from another part of the country and, at the beginning, he did not want to meet people and to communicate with someone.
He lived in his own separated world, studying at home and trying to spend all his time away from people. Only members of his family could talk with him. I wonder how he could see the outside world. For someone who does not talk with people, the local community may seem dangerous, as people may judge the new member. However, it reality it is not true. My local community is welcoming and friendly.
But how the guy who does not talk with someone can understand this? Although his “cave” allowed him to study, get knowledge about sciences, he could play sports and different games with the members of family, but surely it is not enough for a modern citizen. As his neighbor, I wanted to meet him and to make the acquaintance with a new person. However, honestly, I had a number of doubts about this guy, as such solitary way of life seems strange, especially in case of the young man.
I was invited to his home and we found that both of us can give so many things to each other. I understood that he is well-educated, friendly and funny person who needs someone to help him to involve in the social life. Although sometimes it seems confusing and dangerous to change the habitual way of live, the consequences of such transformation can be absolutely profitable.
Only one who does not scare to move and ascend will get the positive results. However, most of the time, people need someone who can help them to comprehend the necessity of cooperating with other worlds, communities, people and different things.
As the people in Plato’s Cave are narrow-minded, they chose the life of prisoners by themselves. This bright allusion is always actual characteristic of society. And even today, in the age of the outstanding technical facilities, people still can be afraid to ascend, as they scared of the possible danger and difficulties. People, who were not forced to live in darkness, choose this way for its demonstrative simplicity.
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The real knowledge can be found only in case of cooperation of all worlds. However, due to the peculiarities of human consciousness, people may start comprehending the new things from the position of superstitions and barriers in their minds. Thereby, people need someone who can teach them and show the real meaning of the things, to give them a change to improve their live and to get the knowledge.