The Allegory of the Cave
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a philosophical piece of art. Plato, the student of the great philosopher Socrates, created the allegory to answer one of his student’s questions. When asked,”What is man’s relationship to the truth?”. His response to his student’s question has become a well-known parable throughout history. The lesson learned is timeless and can still be applied to our daily everyday life. Depending on the person’s life, we are all prisoners to some kind of puppeteers, whether we know it or not.
Plato’s student asked the question, “What is man’s relationship to the truth?”. When Plato heard this question, he began drawing. He drew pictures of prisoners that were chained, unable to turn their heads, and behind them were puppeteers in front of a fire who casted shadows. The prisoners, are unable to see behind them and only see an alternative reality. Behind them, though, is the real truth. In other words, Plato suggested that the men were prisoners to the truth.
The most obvious correlation with our everyday life is the puppeteers being the media or politicians. We, as citizens, act as prisoners to the real world. The puppeteers act as the media or politicians which cast shadows or bias stories towards us in which we feel the need to believe. The media, including all social websites, news casters, and even reading materials, influence which side of the story we are seeing. This heavily impacts our stance when we are exposed to a controversial topic or any topic in general.
Plato explains that when the prisoners are released and turn their head, they are disturbed by the concept of their reality being threatened. Just like in the allegory, when we are somewhat exposed to the other side of the story, we turn our heads, denying any evidence and making excuses as to stay with the image we have set up in our head so that it does not go disturbed. Despite seeing the truth, we don’t like the idea of us being wrong, which leads to ignorance. There are some, however, who are open to the truth. These are the people who don't turn a blind-eye when they see the truth and are able to understand and become knowledgeable on a topic.
When I think of my stance in the allegory, I believe that I am one of the free prisoners when it comes to the news media. I like to believe that I open myself to all aspects of a story before taking a firm stance. It is psychologically proven that we, as humans, always have a preference, whether we are aware of it or not. What differentiates us from ignorance is whether we are open to see the other side and change our stance when there is a substantial amount of evidence and facts provided. There are other areas, however, where I do believe that I would be considered a prisoner. In some cases, it is acceptable to remain a prisoner, so long as it does not harm others. Purpose wise, everybody has a purpose. Whether it is puppeteering, freeing the prisoners, or being the prisoners themselves. It takes time to discover our purpose, but soon we realize.
Ultimately, Plato's timeless philosophy of the truth has been a great masterpiece to people all around the world. This timeless, universal piece has taught us a lesson as to how we, as prisoners, treat truth-bringers. The allegory can be used to represent any topic worldwide, but I believe that in current day it is most relatable to our relationship to media. Those who turn their head away from the truth remain ignorant where as those who accept it become more knowledgeable and open-minded. We should work to open ourselves up to the truth so that we function better as a society.