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Plato's Cave

Plato tells the story of men being held hostage in a cave for decades, while having terrifying illusions projected on the cave wall.

  In the book The Republic, Plato tells the story of prisoners of war that were held captive in a cave for such a long period of time, they could not remember their lives before their captivity. These men were forced to face the back of the cave wall for decades, while a fire burned behind them for illumination. The only objects that the prisoners could see were the cave wall, their own shadows and the shadows of the beasts guarding them. This was both terrifying and paralyzing for the men.

One day, one of the men found the courage to look back at the fire and the beast guarding them. What he found were ordinary men guarding over them. The guards had cut-outs of monsters and projected the shadows to the back of the cave where the prisoners were held. This was the easiest and most effective way for the guards to control the prisoners.

The knowing prisoner found an opportunity to escape the cave and did so as soon as possible. When the free man stepped out of the cave, he could not believe his eyes. The sun, that he now remembered, was much brighter than the cave fire. He smelled the flowers, remembering their scent from his youth. The free man watched as people went about their daily lives, remembering his life before captivity.

The free man was overwhelmed with the joy of remembering his former life, his real life. The free man wanted to free his fellow prisoners as soon as he could and planned his quest. The next day at an opportune time the free man made his way back to the cave. When he found the guards away from their posts, the free man sprang into action. Running to his fellow prisoners and telling them of everything he discovered to be real, both inside and outside the cave. He told his friends of the cut-out monsters that terrified them. About the sun outside the cave that was much brighter than the fire that illuminated the cave. The free man told his friends about all the wonderful things he had discovered again in his new found freedom.

After hearing everything the free man had to say, the prisoners showed disbelief, mockery, and hatred toward the free man. They thought, how could this man know better than they did? How dare the man pretend to know more than they did.

The free man left the prisoners in the cave and walked back out to his freedom.

In today's world, we are allowed to walk anywhere we want to inside the cave, its encouraged. The cut-out monsters are projected on every wall, floor and ceiling. Our scary shadows come from the same place that lights our cave. TV, Radio, Internet, Newspapers etc.. Once we free ourselves from the Maya (Illusion) we can walk back outside the cave and remember who we truly are, again. The first step for the free man was to recognize the Maya. The second step was to understand who he was not. The third step was to understand who he was, to "Know Thyself."

As far as us going back into the cave to save our fellow prisoners...the Illusion is slowly fading away. Many will cling toFeature Articles, "the good old days." Cling onto the projections of shadows that were on their cave walls. Others will finally leave the cave and find a sun brighter than the cave fire and a SELF greater than they could have ever imagined.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Beau Hermes is a 46 year old Rancher, Energy Producer and part-time Philosopher from Texas.



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