Cave Allegory - Plato

Through his 'The Allegory of the Cave', Plato calls upon people across centuries, attempting to raise their awareness and spark their curiosity by using the allegory of a cave. In that cave, people watch without reasoning what is set in front of them by the reflections of objects flowing before their eyes. However, they don't realize those reflections are only the shadows of the real objects. Even worse than that, they don't bother asking, questioning, or even wondering the source of those reflections.


Plato, by drawing such passive recipients of reality for people, tries to wake individuals from their deep sleep. And he also goes on to set another scene by giving the example of one freed prisoner who got the chance of breaking his chains went out of the cave to see the essence of life. Plato declares the sun as being the real source of knowledge suggesting that it is the sun that "which grants both the seasons and the years; ... which governs whatever there is in the now visible region of sunlight; and ... that it is also the cause of all those things that the people dwelling in the cave have before their eyes in some way or other." By this analogy, Plato uses the sun as an analogy of what it's like to be a philosopher. He makes this comparison to introduce the origin of knowledge and the nature of reality.
However, he also goes on to describe the fate of the prisoner when he decides to return to the cave excitedly to tell other prisoners what he saw outside the cave. Thinking that they will be happy about this, he shared his experience with them without worrying about the pain he felt in his eyes as a result of the sudden change of his environment, from sheer reality (the sun) to complete darkness (the cave). Without again reasoning, the prisoners decide to get rid of him as they thought the reason for the defect in his eyesight is the sun, which is literally a bitter irony.
Hence, Plato warns that although philosophers may be the source of illumination, they can also fall as the first victims of the masses who are not willing to change.

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