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Plato's Cave

Loosely paraphrased and with a call to action.

Joel Agee

on 30 July 2012

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Transcript of Plato's Cave

Imagine that you are
a prisoner in a cave. You are one of many prisoners
chained in a row. In front of you is the cave wall. Behind you is a raging fire. The light of the fire casts strange shadows. You see
your shadow. You see the
shadow of your chains. You see the
shadows of the prisoners. And everything that comes
between the fire and your back also casts
a shadow. You cannot see
what casts the shadows. You cannot see
the real prisoners. You cannot see
the real you. Everything you can see
is only shadows. Now imagine that you have always been in the cave. Imagine You have never
seen the fire. You have never
seen your chains. You have never
seen the prisoners. You have never
seen yourself. The cave and shadows
are all you have ever known. Everything
you've ever talked about everything
you've ever thought about was only
a shadow. Now imagine that somehow
you are freed. Your chains
are released. You rise
to your feet. You are led to
the brightest light you've ever seen Holding your hands
in front of your face your eyes
narrow slits you stumble
to the mouth of the cave The light burns your eyes! but slowly they adjust a world you never imagined You will learn the things you see are trees and mountains rivers, winters, summers and nightfall blood and toil, music and color friendship and accomplishment And you can never be the same. You will never live content with shadows. Plato's cave an allegory an artwork in which
every part has multiple meanings:
the literal meaning as well as symbolic meanings Now imagine
this choice: would you ever go back
to the cave? Would you live with
your new knowledge and never
turn back? Or would you return
to the cave and tell the prisoners
what you had learned? Would you tell them that
everything they know is shadows? Would they
believe you? Would they even
know how? Would you know
how to explain it? Which would you choose? Or are you still in the cave? and you begin to see justice, mercy and joy giving, losing, holding You have never
heard of the sun. Plato, Greek philosopher:
"I don't know how to put this,
but I'm kind of a big deal."
Full transcript