12 June 2003
"The world of our sight is like the habitation in prison."
-Plato, The Republic (Plato, 315)
I agree with Plato's statement. I agree because I have seen the parable that he is making here between the prison (cave) described in the story and the real world. First of all, it is necessary to point out that Plato is comparing being held in prison to being uneducated and that the lack of academic teaching often results in a virtual prison being built around the uneducated. Plato then compares the escape from prison to the escape from a place where education is unimportant or unavailable. The parable continues with the prisoner actually making it outside the cave and viewing the sun for the first time. This is a direct comparison between the sun and the state of enlightenment.
So, when Plato says that our world is limited by what we have seen, I agree with him totally.
As stated previously, "the world" to many people is often only what they have seen personally, not necessarily what the world really is. This is evident in daily life by watching people explore a new area for the first time. The looks of puzzlement and joy on their face are often coupled with disbelief. This is due to the fact that they are experiencing a new culture or location for the first time. This also holds true for me personally, I remember fondly the first time I left the United States. When I arrived in England, I too experienced the phenomenon know as "culture shock." I compare my trip to England to the prisoner's trip out of the cave, the people were strange, the sights were strange, and even though...