In the Plato’s allegory of The Cave we are diving into one great question, what is real?
Plato speaks of a cave where there are prisoners and a fire behind them. Prisoners cannot see what is behind them, all they can see are the shadows on the wall of the cave.
When an object is behind them all they see is the object’s shadow upon the wall.
Now imagine if one of the prisoners is somehow released from his chains and turns around. He sees the fire, the object, the reflection, the chains holding the other prisoners.
Neo , let’s call the released prisoner Neo from now on, starts to explore this new reality even further.
He leaves the cave and sees The Sun, the Sky, The Nature, He feels The Wind, he smells The Flowers.
Imagine the MIND BLOWING feeling he’ll have!
HERE A NEW, EVEN DEEPER QUESTION ARISES.
If the shadow is less real than the object is the object less real of something else?
Is our material world just a shadow of some Higher World?
According to Plato’s theory Our World is the world of becoming. Everything constantly changes into something else.
The Higher World, according to Plato is the world of being where everything is what it is, existing eternally.
But what is higher than that world?
We can literally as this question eternally if possible!
LET’S GET BACK TO THE CAVE!
Ok so let’s say that Neo saw the AWESOMENESS of the outside world and he tries to go back and free the other prisoners, however, he cannot break the chains. The prisoners must break the chains themselves.
Neo tries to explain what he saw, what is reality, how wrong is to believe that the shadow is real.
The prisoners listen to Neo and think that Neo went a little off the rails, he is coo-coo, a complete Nut Case. Some of them may even be afraid of Neo and some may even try to kill him.
The prisoners’ mind cannot comprehend what Neo is trying to explain because it was never outside of The Cave.
What is real for the prisoners is the shadow and nothing can prove to them otherwise unless they unchain themselves and explore the outside world.
The question I’ll ask in the end of this article is could we, humans, unchain ourselves and turn around to see what is more real than the world of objects?
It is an amazing allegory and the YouTube channel Wisecrack made an AWESOME 8 bit animation that explains this allegory in the simplest way.
Check them out, they have pretty mind blowing videos that dive into one of the most philosophical questions, all made in an 8 bit game style.