The majority of people in school today, and they don?t want to be there. School is painful to them. They, the unenlightened, have not seen the light. In Plato?s Allegory of the Cave, the prisoners can resemble those who do not thirst for knowledge. They seem to be prisoners in their own world.
The small bunch of people in schools today is passionate learners, and they yearn for and covet knowledge. These groups have a thirst to understand and seek truth and are able to comprehend the true value of learning. The fortunate individuals have seen the light, felicitate themselves on their advancement and pity those who do not comprehend. ?I think that he would rather suffer anything,? in Plato?s work it is said, ?than entertain these false notions and live this miserable manner.? Plato refers to the one who asserts themselves to thrive for knowledge. These few would rather endure anything than to think in the ways of the ignorant and those who never want to learn. However, if the enlightened ever wants to return to be with his past peers, they believe he is not understood and they ridicule him. The confused think the enlightened one must be blind to see actual reality while ignorant is being fooled.
The enlightened are comparable to the one who journeyed upward in the allegory. In this allegory, it is interpreted as ?the journey upward to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world is a glorious thing.? Those who enjoy the journey of learning have been enlightened, while understanding advantages and requirement of learning of learning. Those surrounding do not conceive the motives and never long to be like him. For as Plato said, “In the world of knowledge, the idea of good appears last of all and is seen only with an effort.” It is truly a commendable thing to see the good of knowledge. Once one recognizes the wonder, he cannot go back to his old and familiar ways, but still shames others who do not travel his path of wisdom. Such is true of those who make a journey to desire to learn more.
Knowledge is free. Enlightenment is available for anyone who wants it. To procure wisdom, all one must do is grasp it. Yet, so few do. Knowledge and wisdom, though free, come with effort and an innate desire to learn. In the allegory, the light is knowledge. Nevertheless, to the prisoners, the light is perceived as sinister and blinding. Yet, to the voyager, the light is pure goodness. It is all in how the light is perceived; for perception is everything.
A person?s perception is basically limited to his or her own personal experiences. The prisoners who do not know any better perceive their situation as good. Yet, to one who has seen what lies ahead, there is no turning back. Once he steps outside his experiences and his comfort zone, his perception changes and grows. This gives him or her a greater awareness of all things encompassing him. One needs to put forth a genuine effort to see the good in learning.
I feel that I have had this greater perception in life. I have had many experiences that changed my understanding of life and have put everything into perspective for me. One?s such experience is volunteering in the local shelter to help less fortunate children with their homework. This has allowed me to see that way some have to grow up and that they all seem to be happy with a smile on there face all the time. I no longer get angry at the small things because realize how lucky I really am. I have felt that I shed the light into these small kids. They are as the people of the cave unenlightened and if I, being there to help them once or twice a week, have brought only one out of the cave it was worth it. With something as simple as a math problem I helped them understand I feel I have done my job and helping them become a little closer to having the light shine through them.
I have observed that the average teenager are also like people of Plato?s cave. Knowledge shines into children through teachers but many never take the chance to look strait into the light and absorb the wisdom that could be given to them. As seen in my peers, the go through life in only shadows not able to see the light of the fire or the larger picture in life. There are very few that ever allow themselves to see the light and understand the way of perception of life.
I imagine that I have this enlightened outlook on life. Through my experiences in and out of school I would like to believe that I have seen the light. I also feel that I can only able to really relate to a few of my friends. In my eyes this small number of my peers have let themselves see the light and gateway to knowledge.
To the people of the cave, the knowledge does not exist because they have not observed or experienced life beyond the cave. It is not real to them. For those who have not experienced the true realm of learning, there is no such thing; it is not real. For those who have seen the light, there is no turning back. But the experience is waiting for all who chose to find it.