February 10, 2005

Seeing shadows? If so, you may not know the truth

If you are seeing shadows and that is all you are seeing, do you know anything at all? Plato explained in "The Allegory of a Cave" how a man living in a cave was able to experience light and the outside world for the first time. When he would go back and tell the others, they would not believe him. The man saw the truth, and no one wanted to believe his truth, because their truth was the shadows.

First of all I wanted to mention how Plato is always creating one very talkative character and one very agreeable/non-talkative character. I feel that Plato does this so that the reader thinks, "Oh, well Glaucon is agreeing with Socrates, so why shouldn't I." I felt this same way while I was reading "Ion" and "Phaedrus."

While I was reading "The Allegory of the Cave," I felt as though Socrates was trying to say that even though the man was able to see the truth and the light, that he was not still able to see the "real" truth. I understand that the message of seeing the light was a beautific vision, but if anyone knows Plato, they know that seeing other objects under the light are not the true form.

Plato believes in forms, forms and more forms. He believes that the ideal of a certain object, take a chair for instance, is only in your head not in reality. We compare everything to the ideal in our head, which is why we describe a certain object as a chair. If an object matches the ideal table in our head, then we call it a table. Only these forms are the truth to Plato, not the objects.

The whole time I was reading "The Allegory of the Cave," I thought that Socrates was trying to say that we as humans are looking away from the truth. We are the ones in the cave looking at the shadows, which I compare to the objects in reality. We do not understand that the truth is the ideal, or perfect, object in our minds.

Posted by Anne Stadler at February 10, 2005 12:37 AM | TrackBack
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