Sep 12



“The Allegory of cave” is the allegory used by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work The Republic. The main purpose this allegory is that he wants to illustrate the nature of mankind. It is a fictional dialogue between his teacher Socrates and his brother Glaucon.

Here with the help of the allegory of cave, Plato wants to describe about human behavior. As it is stated; at first he describes about the people who were inside the cave who were not able to move around facing the wall of the cave. Behind them they have a fire place. In the wall they could see only the shadow of their own created by that fire. Their brain is monotonous and is just focused on the wall of the cave every time making them self feel that this is the life.

They are not aware of time. They have no idea about day and night. It is like their brain has been washed and they think what their sense is sensing inside the cave is truth.

The Allegory of cave

Meantime one of them breaks out of the cave. He could not face the sun light outside of the cave. It was hard for him to believe on what he was seeing.  He thinks that he is in dream. Later when he realizes that the life outside of the cave is real. It is so beautiful and colorful. It has day and night. He realizes that things that he was seeing in the cave were just the shadow of his own. He realizes that it was a dark side of the world where there is nothing. Their knowledge is limited to shadow only.

He wants to share the reality with his friends in the cave. When he gets back to the cave and tells his friends about the things he felt, sensed and saw outside of the cave, no one was ready to believe that. They thought that he wants to spoil their knowledge by telling the fake story of life outside of the cave. The people inside the cave think that their friend is betraying them. People inside the cave don’t want to gain new knowledge of outside world.

Here we can realize that Plato want to show the “two world” theory or two nature of human.  There are people who lives in their own thoughts, they think what they know is the only truth. They don’t want to listen to other. They do not want to gain more knowledge where as there are people who love to move round, know new things. They try to get in depth of their new finding and come out of their limited knowledge. These people just don’t keep their knowledge inside them, they tries to spread their knowledge to other people so that they also can gain more knowledge.

There are also people who do not accept the new fact. They oppose the new theory. They already have their own limited knowledge which they do not want to expand. In past when people discover new facts, most of the people of that era did not accept the new facts, they tried to prove mad these people who found the new facts. They thought that their own theory is true and the new facts about that theory are false.

If human kind was like the people from the cave, I don’t think this world have been like the present world, we might have been still living inside the jungle with other animals protecting ourselves from them.
So, it is the characteristic of human, who have potential to gain knowledge, take risk and discover new things have brought all these changes in the world. The present world is more civilized then the past civilization. Life is getting more easier day by day due to advancement in technology. It is the gift of knowledge and thinking power of the human that has advances the world.

Few hundred years ago people used to think the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth. As people’s knowledge increased, they came to know that the earth is round and that the earth revolves around the sun and the moon revolves around the earth. This knowledge later inspired people to find more about the solar system, creation of the solar system and other planets. Now, people are able to land on the moon and could send rockets to Mars to study if there is life in Mars or not. Recently there was news that renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking co-wrote a new book that argues God is not necessary to explain the origin of the universe.

So we can say that the development of mankind advances forward with the knowledge they gain. Every day they try to increase the knowledge they get. This world is moving ahead due to idea, knowledge and reasoning of human.

One Response to “Plato’s “The Allegory of cave” – My Understanding”

  1. minesh Says:

    Good interpretation!!! i must say.

    not an often visitor of ur site but whenever i visit, i find it excitin’. good stuff…nice pictures…ur efforts at expressin’ ur views and cover various dimensions of our society is certainly laudable. keep up the good work!!!

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