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Offlineck10n3
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Allegory of the Cave
    #6498245 - 01/26/07 04:46 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

The Allegory of the Cave:

Plato realizes that the general run of humankind can think, and speak, etc., without (so far as they acknowledge) any awareness of his realm of Forms.

The allegory of the cave is supposed to explain this.

In the allegory, Plato likens people untutored in the Theory of Forms to prisoners chained in a cave, unable to turn their heads. All they can see is the wall of the cave. Behind them burns a fire. Between the fire and the prisoners there is a parapet, along which puppeteers can walk. The puppeteers, who are behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave. The prisoners are unable to see these puppets, the real objects, that pass behind them. What the prisoners see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they do not see. Here is an illustration of Plato’s Cave:



Such prisoners would mistake appearance for reality. They would think the things they see on the wall (the shadows) were real; they would know nothing of the real causes of the shadows.

So when the prisoners talk, what are they talking about? If an object (a book, let us say) is carried past behind them, and it casts a shadow on the wall, and a prisoner says “I see a book,” what is he talking about?

He thinks he is talking about a book, but he is really talking about a shadow. But he uses the word “book.” What does that refer to?

Plato says, “And if they could talk to one another, don’t you think they’d suppose that the names they used applied to the things they see passing before them?”

Plato’s point is that the prisoners would be mistaken. For they would be taking the terms in their language to refer to the shadows that pass before their eyes, rather than (as is correct, in Plato’s view) to the real things that cast the shadows.

If a prisoner says “That’s a book” he thinks that the word “book” refers to the very thing he is looking at. But he would be wrong. He’s only looking at a shadow. The real referent of the word “book” he cannot see. To see it, he would have to turn his head around.

Plato’s point: the general terms of our language are not “names” of the physical objects that we can see. They are actually names of things that we cannot see, things that we can only grasp with the mind.

When the prisoners are released, they can turn their heads and see the real objects. Then they realize their error. What can we do that is analogous to turning our heads and seeing the causes of the shadows? We can come to grasp the Forms with our minds.

Plato’s aim in the Republic is to describe what is necessary for us to achieve this reflective understanding. But even without it, it remains true that our very ability to think and to speak depends on the Forms. For the terms of the language we use get their meaning by “naming” the Forms that the objects we perceive participate in.

The prisoners may learn what a book is by their experience with shadows of books. But they would be mistaken if they thought that the word “book” refers to something that any of them has ever seen.
Likewise, we may acquire concepts by our perceptual experience of physical objects. But we would be mistaken if we thought that the concepts that we grasp were on the same level as the things we perceive.


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"You must be the change you want to see in the world." - The trip of a Life Time.

Indra's Net - There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe. The horizontal threads are in space. The vertical threads in time. At every crossing of threads there is an individual. And every individual is a crystal bead. The great light of absolute being illuminates and penetrates every crystal being, And every crystal being reflects not only the light from every other crystal in the net, But also every reflection of every reflection throughout the universe.

-cK


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OfflinePsilocybeingzz
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: ck10n3]
    #6498291 - 01/26/07 06:12 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

I have always been a huge fan of this concept, everyone should give it a read at some point or another. Way to share. :smile:


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OfflineGomp
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: ck10n3]
    #6498602 - 01/26/07 11:17 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)



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InvisibleSinbad
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: ck10n3]
    #6498625 - 01/26/07 11:28 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Looks like Plato had some good insight, for sure.


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Invisibleimplicitli
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: Sinbad]
    #6498663 - 01/26/07 11:48 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

So, once you've seen the light are you supposed to go back into the cave and try to explain the truth? Would anyone believe you?


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Invisibledemiu5
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: ck10n3]
    #6499005 - 01/26/07 02:07 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

I'm a little lost in the wordiness of the story, but is it basically saying that everything we know it as, is not, because 1) our languages are just labels, and 2) the "shadow" is not the real thing, but only something that looks like "the real thing"?


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channel your inner Larry David


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InvisibleSinbad
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: demiu5]
    #6499031 - 01/26/07 02:14 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Its saying that ordinary appearances are unreal, like shadows, and that we are all chained, because we perceive them to be real, and suffer accordingly. Thats my interpretation anyways. :wink:


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Offlinefireworks_godS
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: Sinbad]
    #6500517 - 01/26/07 10:45 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Take a look at the map. What is the sunlight representing? :mushroom2:


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:redpanda:
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

:heartpump: :bunnyhug: :yinyang:

:yinyang: :levitate: :earth: :levitate: :yinyang:


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InvisibleSinbad
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: fireworks_god]
    #6501464 - 01/27/07 07:03 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

The light of wisdom.


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OfflineColbadol
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: ck10n3]
    #6501503 - 01/27/07 07:30 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

you seemed to have left-out, or under-emphasized the SHOCK of seeing the light. And how, being in a cave for all of their lives their eyes are used to darkness.

It's not just that the prisoners can turn around to see the real objects, but they also leave the cave. Once they see the light, they are so blinded, that they have difficult understanding and coming to terms with what they see.


The Matrix movie = Plato's Allegory of the Cave

remember when neo FREAKS out in the true reality?


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Invisibleimplicitli
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: Colbadol]
    #6501832 - 01/27/07 11:38 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

I think that seeing the light is tantamount to coming to the realization that everything that you believe in is only a shadow of the truth. And that the truth has been manipulated by puppeteers who probably understand no more than you do.

It's the puppet masters that I worry about. Who are they and why do they have the power to make things happen on the screen in front of me?

Also, the light is blinding, and when our eyes adjust we still don't understand the source of it. Coming out of the cave is scary, because all we understand is that we never really understood anything.

Plato was a POLITICAL philosopher, and the allegory of the cave comes from the Republic, a book about finding an understanding of justice in the soul through a thought experiment in which a bunch of young men attempt to build the perfect city as a macrocosm of the individual soul.

anyway. . .


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InvisibleSinbad
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: implicitli]
    #6501865 - 01/27/07 12:05 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

To me, the fire represents the fire of the passions, and the puppeteers are the delusions of mind. Not some external thing. Its all metaphorical.


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Invisibleimplicitli
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: Sinbad]
    #6501876 - 01/27/07 12:12 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

I like that.

Still, I kind of think that a delusion of the mind is pretty general. Can delusions of the mind be the same thing as idols of the mind?

Anyone who dogmatically believes in an overarching ideology is chained, I figure.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: fireworks_god]
    #6502028 - 01/27/07 01:15 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

fireworks_god said:
Take a look at the map. What is the sunlight representing? :mushroom2:




The Light of Unmitigated Reality.

"Life, like a dome of many colored glass, stains the white radiance of Reality."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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OfflineBloodhound
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #6502304 - 01/27/07 03:41 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Christainity is certainly a huge fan of Plato and Aristotle, in fact, Nietszche even went as far to call Christainity "Platonism". The idea that each human being have a soul comes from this idea of the forms. One thing that gets me is though, if everything is based off forms of the good, wouldn't that mean that everything has a soul too, even a grain of sand? I only ask this because I get the impression that Christainity seems to believe that only human beings can have souls and enter heaven, whatever that is.

I don't mean to single out Christainity, but I don't know much about the beliefs of Islam, Hindu, Judaism, and other religions.


Edited by Bloodhound (01/27/07 03:41 PM)


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Offlineck10n3
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: implicitli]
    #6502444 - 01/27/07 04:46 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

implicitli said:
So, once you've seen the light are you supposed to go back into the cave and try to explain the truth? Would anyone believe you?




This is also something I have been pondering. Obviously, no one would believe you. A few might, and you can help them understand. There would possibly a synergistic spread effect when someone else sees the light.


--------------------
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." - The trip of a Life Time.

Indra's Net - There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe. The horizontal threads are in space. The vertical threads in time. At every crossing of threads there is an individual. And every individual is a crystal bead. The great light of absolute being illuminates and penetrates every crystal being, And every crystal being reflects not only the light from every other crystal in the net, But also every reflection of every reflection throughout the universe.

-cK


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Offlineck10n3
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: Bloodhound]
    #6502460 - 01/27/07 04:51 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Bloodhound said:
Christainity is certainly a huge fan of Plato and Aristotle, in fact, Nietszche even went as far to call Christainity "Platonism". The idea that each human being have a soul comes from this idea of the forms. One thing that gets me is though, if everything is based off forms of the good, wouldn't that mean that everything has a soul too, even a grain of sand? I only ask this because I get the impression that Christainity seems to believe that only human beings can have souls and enter heaven, whatever that is.

I don't mean to single out Christainity, but I don't know much about the beliefs of Islam, Hindu, Judaism, and other religions.




I mean, yeah, everything has the composition we do just in a different pattern. I still have not come to terms with what I think a soul is, but I think that we are all part of a much larger soul everything being included from grains of sand to toilet seats. Maybe soul is not the right term. I believe we are just one big thing, nothing is separate from us only through our perspectives, which are obviously shadowed.


--------------------
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." - The trip of a Life Time.

Indra's Net - There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe. The horizontal threads are in space. The vertical threads in time. At every crossing of threads there is an individual. And every individual is a crystal bead. The great light of absolute being illuminates and penetrates every crystal being, And every crystal being reflects not only the light from every other crystal in the net, But also every reflection of every reflection throughout the universe.

-cK


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: Bloodhound]
    #6502697 - 01/27/07 07:00 PM (14 years, 3 months ago)

Well, you have to understand that there is no megalithic structure called Christianity. It depends on who one asks about the nature of the soul. I listen most closely to certain mystics because their experiences seem to approximate my own mystical experiences (whether they were occasioned by Entheogens or not). Meister [Master] Eckhart is one of my favorite Christian mystics and his position seems to be very close to Hindu Advaita (Non-Dualism) in which there is in Reality, only ONE Being and our perception of different souls is an error. It is more like the one Sun in the sky is reflected in every puddle, pool, lake and sea as countless images, but in Reality there is only one Sun. Likewise for sentient creatures, great and small. We all manifest something of God which is Consciousness of various degrees, yet all Consciousness is a downward transformation of the Infinite Consciousness which is God. All of creation derives its very moment-to-moment existence from God, yet human and animal life manifests more of the nature of Consciousness than insect, vegetable or mineral realities.

It is presumptuous to state anything about the ultimate destinies of non-human creatures. It is also presumptuous for human beings to insist that they know 'what God wants,' of them or of others. The next level of this presumption is force. The Catholic Church would have forced Meister Eckhart to recant his position ("The eye through which we see God is the eye through which God sees us" - i.e., there is only ONE of us) or be tortured by the 'Holy Inquisition.' Fortunately for Eckhart, he died first.

There is much in the contemplative practices of Orthodox Christianity that highly resembles the positions, breathing and concentration practices of Yoga. Their theology speaks to the notion of "Uncreated Energies" of God which can be experienced, and the process of 'Theosis,' in which we are transformed into Christ.

There are of course many many simple Protestant sects that have no mystical understanding at all. Their's might be a literal understanding of mythic material or a mere social gospel. And, like all religions, there is the lunatic fringe like the snake handling churches of the Appalachians.

In the words attributed to Jesus: "Seek and ye shall find."


--------------------
γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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Offlinedream_alchemy
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: Bloodhound]
    #6504159 - 01/28/07 06:13 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

a person never exits the cave because they are physically still attached to it until death (whatever that is/ if it even exists)

they perceive everything as a light from the 'source' because they know that all has a common heritage and observe the divine come


--------------------
I'm just passing thru u


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Offlineslaphappy
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Re: Allegory of the Cave [Re: dream_alchemy]
    #6510810 - 01/30/07 03:05 AM (14 years, 3 months ago)

We are just cavemen with houses, thats all.

The new fireplace is called TV, and the puppets are well known to all.


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The argent messenger of truth beyond truth, the antithesis of life, cruel and bleak as interstellar space, pulseless and frozen as absolute zero, dazzling with the frost of irrefragable logic and unforgettable fact.


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