ca. 428-347 B.C.
Plato (a student of Socrates) was a teacher, philosopher, mathematician, writer, etc. In his Allegory of the Cave- Plato's Republic , he symbolically describes his belief that:
1. The world as we know it is not "the real world" but a poor copy (shadow) of it.
2. The real world can only be understood by teachers directing student's minds toward what is real/ important and allowing them to comprehend it for themselves.
3. The pursuit of knowledge and truth is a natural (ingrained curiosity) and sometimes uncomfortable (hard work, painful, etc.) human endeavor.
4. The only way to obtain knowledge (education/ truth) is to take what we have learned...search...think about it...search..."anchor it"...and search/ think about it some more!
5. "Educated" individuals have a duty and responsibility to help bring out the best in their world.
Watch this clip to help understand this post...
SummaryIn The Cave: Prisoners are chained (unable to turn their heads to see what goes on behind them) within the darkness of the cave...behind the prisoners, are "puppeteers" and a fire casting shadows on the wall- "hypnotized by their ignorance" - it is the only reality the prisoners know.
Fog's Analysis- The Cave = modern technology...television...text messages...Facebook...twitter...PowerPoint presentations...conventional wisdom...political correctness...social contracts...media talking heads...etc.
Freedom From The Cave: Once the prisoner is released, he is forced (by his teacher) to look upon the fire/ objects that were once his only reality and to climb a long stairway out of the cave to "see the light". Plato describes how the real truth will be painful (but ultimately wonderful) to the eyes of the prisoner, and how he would naturally want to return to The Cave where "the truth" is pleasant and painless.
Fog's Analysis- Freedom = seeking...questioning...introspection...hard work...appreciating various viewpoints...reading primary sources...more introspection...truth...etc.
Outside The Cave: When the prisoner finally climbs out of the cave, he is fully immersed in the light (truth)...confused, afraid, unsure, etc...it takes time for his eyes to adjust to his new reality. The prisoner is excited with his "new understanding" and decides to return to speak to the unreleased prisoners.
Fog's Analysis- Outside the Cave = True education leads to uncomfortable truth...character...freedom...a life of service...killing jellyfish...etc.
|"Sometimes...you just have to walk out on a bad movie."|
Back In The Cave: The prisoners laugh and ridicule him for "his ignorance and stupidity"... he is crazy!!! It's at this point that Plato describes the "duty and responsibility" of a leader to do his best to share his new understanding of the world. Plato then asks the question, "if they were somehow able to get their hands on and kill the man who attempts to release and lead them up, wouldn't they kill him?"
Fog's Analysis- Back in the Cave = Citizen-Leaders who pursue truth, freedom, justice, equality, peace, virtue, etc. are often mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted by those "in power"...
"Students must have initiative - they should not be mere imitators.
They must learn to think and act for themselves - and be free."