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Plato and the Allegory of the Cave

Plato’s allegory of the cave is arguably the most cited and the most famous allegory in the history of Western philosophy. Its beauty transcends from its literary creativity up to its philosophical significance that became a major tool to strengthen Plato’s position in his dialogue, the Republic. First, it is important to note the significance of the allegory. Reading the allegory, the story teaches us a very important lesson; that many people are living in with their wrong education.

The story had taught us that there is something beyond and more divine than the things we perceive to be real. It encourages us to escape our bonds in the deadly chains of ignorance and come out the cave and discover the highest form of perceiving reality. In relation to the discussion of the best regime, the allegory teaches us that the best regime is the one who encourages an education that let people to discover the real source of knowledge. The worst regime is the one who discourage and limit their citizens to be released out of their bonds.

The best regime encourages their citizens to be educated to move from a lower form of beliefs towards a higher form of understanding. The story also opens another question regarding the life of the city and the life of studying and living philosophical ideas. Some would argue that they are entirely incompatible. However, I would argue that it is not. Rather, I would say that living in a city possesses the advantages and disadvantages in living a philosophical life and with the possession of the right perspective; we can go live a good life inspired by philosophy.

Let us start with the disadvantages. The city life is bombarded by numerous ideas and objects that can distract an individual in pursuing a philosophical life. A city with its control of education reigned by a system that does not want to educate its citizen is deadly. However, with a system of education that is free and inspired to really educate its people with a right way of thinking in seeing past beyond the objects of desire, the life of a city can be the most effective educator of its citizen.

It is also notable to discuss the actions and behaviors of the released prisoner in the story. After witnessing what is real in the outside world, he immediately went back in there to tell the story of the more real world to his former companions. However, they did not believe him and as he pushed in convincing them, he was beaten and killed. Some would say that there is something odd about his coming back. However, I would argue that there is nothing odd about his actions.

It is in our nature to share what we discover especially if we believe that what we have will benefit our friends and families. As the released prisoner discover that his companions for their entire life is living their lives under the banner of a great lie, he develop a desire to go back there and educate them the real world inside. What is the value of the new life that he discovered if he will not share it to them? It is just sad to think that he was killed in the process of helping his fellow prisoners.

The allegory of the cave is a useful tool employed by Plato to explain and emphasize the importance of education, more particularly right education to the pursuit of a higher form of living. It explains the common trend and history that were experienced by numerous people who discovered the real things and go back to tell the world their discoveries. Sadly, most of these people died in the process of opening the eyes of the world and this includes Plato’s teacher, Socrates.

In this sense, we can argue that Plato invent the story of the cave to tell people that such individuals who experienced the real knowledge should not be put in to trial but should be believed on. Works Cited Classic Techology Center. Republic. 2000. Able Media. Web. Accessed 22 July 2010. Dunkle, Roger. The Classical Origins of Western Culture. 1986. Brooklyn College. The City University of New York. Web. Accessed 22 July 2010. Plato. Cooper, John (ed) Plato: Complete Works. 1997 Hacket Publishing Company. Cambridge. Print. Accessed 22 July 2010.

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