Plato and the cave
After reading Plato?s cave several times, I learned that every time I read it I gained a completely different interpretation. You can relate all of the different symbols to any aspect of life, and still have a clear understanding of what Plato is talking about. My first interpretation of the cave was, the world as the cave. The world is a cave to most of society. We are chained to the wall, because we only know what we have been taught. We haven?t had the urge or desire to venture out into the world, to find our own theories and conclusions. We are satisfied with the way things are, that we have no intentions of stepping outside your comfortable, secure world. The light might be the driving force that intrigues your curiosity enough to break away from your daily routine and venture out in the world to find something better for yourself. The wall actually does symbolize the screen for the puppets. The reality of the real world is beyond that wall. As you are chained inside the cave, you are a puppet, relying on what you have been taught instead of finding out what you might learn beyond that wall or in the real world. In the story it talks about men being bonded. I believe we are bonded, until you venture out on your own, and test everything you have been taught and know first hand for yourself that in fact it is a certainty. That is when you become unbounded. After the man breaks loose from the chains and heads in the direction of the light, To learn of new and different ideas that might be out there. He later returns to share his new understandings and to find out that the others aren?t ready to hear what he has to say. They get very upset and even talk about killing him. Sometimes people don?t want to hear what we have to say or just don?t want to listen because it may rock the boat too much. There are such sensitive subjects out there that society would rather be in the dark (the cave), then find out the truth that lies beyond the wall.
Another interpretation that caught my attention was death. On earth some people do break their chains and escape the cave to see what reality is, however at death everybody breaks a chain. The story says it is painful to break the chains and death is not very pleasant in most cases. Once out of the chains, the light draws you out of the cave. I?ve always heard that there is a bright light that draws you towards heaven. Similar to the sunlight drawing you out of the cave. Outside the cave the true reality would be heaven. Both represent a place where things will make sense to you. The story does state the chains are broken on earth. Everybody finds true reality at some point, but only a few of us are fortunate to find it on earth. The breaking of chains is death, being released from our physical forms. Heaven is the outside light, the true reality, which allows us to explore new worlds. Most people on this earth accept life here a reality, as do I, but we will never really know until we die. Maybe this is why missionaries get attacked, some people are afraid of the possible reality of their teachings. They?re scared that there is an after life.
No matter how you look at Plato?s thoughts, it is clear to say that the object is to escape the cave and go somewhere better or become something better.