Plato's Allegory of the Cave

Essay by thatvwkidUniversity, Bachelor's December 2003

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Reflections on Plato's Allegory of the Cave

The great philosopher, Plato, back in the days of the ancient Greek civilization, concluded that man as a species can only draw from what his senses take about his surroundings. This includes his social relationships, eating habits, spiritual beliefs, and the many other attributes that make a person who they are. This theory/observation is very accurate about man back then and is also seen in everyday life even today. People are constantly leaving their imaginary caves in search of their inner-self and it begins in early childhood.

Children, for example, are brought up as exact duplicates of their parents; their parents, in some cases, are together because they share the same views on politics, moral values, and society. Parents make an attempt to mold their children into who they are, as functional figures in this society, as well-rounded individuals, but they must let their child grow older and be their own person.

It is inevitable. Eventually the child will grow older and break away from their parents' tradition to form their own values and beliefs and this is the allegory of the cave as how it works today and how it has been working since mankind first came about.

One must become their own person. This doesn't mean that one must totally disregard the beliefs and morals of their parental figures, yet eventually they must think for themselves and stop living under the ideals of someone that they might consider "old fashioned." It takes a strong understanding of one's surroundings combined with the natural human desire to grow in order to break away and find oneself. One must find his/her own life and live it how they desire. This is what the allegory of the cave is about.

Plato, a genius, but...