Humans by nature are fallible on account of the fact that their knowledge and understanding of all aspects that involve them is limited. It includes all beliefs that have been passed on from generations and carried out by the successors without question, and hence despite having 'proved' it's relevance, the beliefs are still subject to inquiry and can be challenged. This is because, wisdom is and cannot be confined or restricted and is constantly evolving, however people are reluctant to change their attitudes due to their limited knowledge, making them ignorant and unable to achieve wisdom. This essay seeks to discuss the significance of wisdom as proposed and perceived by Socrates’ allegory of the cave and unravel the message that he sought to convey, through it.
The Allegory of the Cave & its relevance in our lives: Socrates used the allegory of the cave to describe the current state of our knowledge and ascertain whether we are as enlightened as we believe ourselves to be. He describes the cave as an underground den with its mouth wide open towards the light and reaching all along the den at the foot of the cave are prisoners who are facing a wall and chained so that they cannot move or turn their heads and can only look in front of them.
Above and behind the prisoners is a fire blazing and between the fire and the prisoners, there is a raised wall which marionette-players use for a puppet show. The cave, which Socrates refers to as an underground den, is a metaphor for our secluded lifestyles where our thoughts and beliefs are confined to the things, we see and mistake it for ‘ facts’ or the truth, while in reality the same is far from the truth.
The things we / the prisoners firmly believe as the ultimate truth is in fact ‘ shadows’ manipulated by the puppeteers. However, the prisoners are unable to seek the reality behind these shadows and enlighten themselves since they are chained and restricted since childhood, preventing them from turning their heads toward the source or origin of the shadows or even question its origin in the first place (Plato, 360 B. C.E).
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