According to Wikipedia:
The Allegory of the Cave—also known as the Analogy of the Cave, Plato’s Cave, or the Parable of the Cave—is an allegory used by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work The Republic to illustrate “our nature in its education and want of education” (514a). It is written as a dialogue narrated by Plato’s friend Socrates and Plato’s brother Glaucon at the beginning of Book VII (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave).
Please view this You Tube video, by Laerthor (Bullhead Entertainment), before reading the rest of this blog. It will provide a visual explanation for the statement above.
This analogy can be used throughout our lives. Let’s say that you have been restricted to one type of environment all of your life. Maybe you were raised in the “hood,” born into poverty, in a bad relationship, in a broken home, or in a negative environment. Being restricted is symbolic to the chains and your situation is symbolic to the cave.
All that you see, while living in your restricted environment, becomes your reality. You slowly begin to believe that what you see is all that life has to offer. You slowly believe that you can become no more than what you are at the time. Functioning in what you thought to be strength, when it was really weakness. You are blessed with an opportunity to make it out of your situation. You leave the situation behind and are exposed to different things. You learn what it is like to not live in poverty, you make it out of the “hood, you end up in a better relationship, you escape a broken home to go to school, or you find yourself in a positive environment…an opportunity to do better. Everything has reversed. What you NEVER could have imagined is now in front of your face. You attract people that you thought would have never paid you any attention. People believe in who you are and what you bring to the table. People think that you are smart and appreciate your intellect. You have the opportunity to accomplish more than any friend or family member that you know. These examples are symbolic to the world that the released prisoner was introduced to. At this point he realized that his perception, while in a “trapped” state, was no longer his reality. The opportunity is symbolic to the man who freed the prisoner.
The freed prisoner had a desire to lift up the people in his circle; therefore, he ran back to the cave to tell his friends about what he had witnessed. He wanted to tell them about this new world, these new opportunities, encourage them to go to the next level with him, to be more, to see more, to understand that everything that they thought was reality was really a lie. He believed in them so much that instead of moving forward without them, he made an attempt to take them with him. As he yelled and he jumped, they did not hear him. They were not able to interpret his language, see his vision, see the opportunities, open their minds, or escape from the cave. This is symbolic to the freed prisoner yelling at the prisoners in the cave.
If you noticed, neither prisoner made an attempt to look over their shoulders or to look behind them. They never made an effort. As long as the free prisoner was amongst them, he thought and acted just like them. The other part that was interesting was that the freed prisoner never noticed that the prisoners did not understand his language nor did they make an attempt to acknowledge his growth. I wonder how much time he wasted trying to free people who were dedicated to being enslaved. At what point did he walk away and start on his new journey? The good part is that he never jumped back in the cave.
There may be a situation that has kept you restricted and imprisoned for years, but at some point you will get the opportunity to break free. What will you do with that opportunity?
What if you are freed before the people in your circle? I believe that you are loyal people; therefore, you would go back to share the knowledge, motivate a friend, or encourage a positive change. When you go back to help the people who surround you and they refuse your assistance, what will you do? Are you going to jump back in the cave or embark on your new journey? The answer SEEMS easy, but the process is much harder. What will you do?
What are you doing?