Plato's Allegory Of The Cave

1430 Words6 Pages
Utah Valley University Socrates’ Education and Happiness Lynn Barlow III HUM-1010-101H-029 Leslie Simon November 1, 2015 The pursuit of a higher education is difficult and often painful; however, it will enable us to experience a greater and more fulfilling happiness. The philosopher Plato gives an example of this in his dialogue called The Republic where he relates a story called the Allegory of the Cave. In this allegory, Plato walks us through the process of receiving enlightenment and helps us see the greater level of happiness that can be felt from a higher understanding of the world. Plato explains through his allegory that only by seeking this higher education can a person achieve a greater satisfaction,…show more content…
Socrates explicates a scenario for his student where a group of prisoners are held in a cave since birth. Being chained down and unable to move their heads, they cannot observe anything except the wall in front of them and the shadows that are cast by the fire behind them. Their entire reality consists of these shadows cast by whatever passes in front of the fire and they know of nothing else. For these prisoners, reality becomes nothing more than these shadows. They give names to them; they watch them interact with each other. But most importantly, they never doubt that there is any more to life than the shadows. Socrates compares gathering education and enlightenment to one of such prisoners being set free and taken out of the cave into the…show more content…
He has passed through the phase where he doubted the reality presented to him beyond the cave and progressed beyond to the acceptance and observation of the world outside the cave. He reaches the point where he can freely observe the sun and Socrates makes the observation that the prisoner has reached a tipping point. “At this point he would infer and conclude that the sun provides the seasons and the years, governs everything in the visible world, and is in some way the cause of all the things he used to see.” The prisoner, having been kept in the dark, compares the new found sun to the small fire that was present in the cave. His old perception of reality was created by the fire and his new one is created by the presence of the sun. The prisoner begins to see that everything revolves around the influence of the sun. It provides life and light to all that it touches and becomes the main focus of the prisoner. This prisoner begins to question and ponder the worldly happenings around him and notices that the light emanating from the sun is the focal point for all that is occurring. Just as the fire created the shadows that were everything in the cave, there nothing outside the cave without it being illuminated and affected by the sun. Thus, by observing and studying the sun, the reason for everything else around him, his education

More about Plato's Allegory Of The Cave

Open Document