Friday, June 19, 2009


Whilst discussing Iran & politics at large yesterday, I suddenly thought back on Plato's “Parabola of the cave”... Because it got me thinking about people’s perception of the world, and what’s true to them and what isn’t.

And so I thought I'd share it with you, in case you don't, cuz it reflects quite a lot of how we perceive the world around us, me thinks...

Here goes:

Imagine people, who live their whole life in a cave. They are tied up, in such a way that they face the same wall all their lives. High above, but far behind them, illuminating that wall are some torches.
Between the torches and the tied up people there's a road, with a head high fence.

Imagine other people walking behind that fence holding up items. But also statues of people and animals, made out of wood. These items drop shadows on the wall the prisoners face. Some people behind the fence talk and others are silent.
And imagine the sound of their voices echoes against the wall with shadows, so it seems to the prisoners as if the shadows produce those sounds.

They will believe that reality is the shadows they see, and the voices they hear. To them a vase is the shadow of the vase they see projected on the wall.

Imagine now that one of them, after a lifetime of being tied up facing that wall and seeing the shadows....gets set free.
He is taken out of the cave into the real world.

He then sees the objects, whose shadows he's seen all his life. He sees people speak for the first time, and hears sounds directly from the source. He sees light and colours. Smells flowers and rain, feels the sunshine on his skin, the wind in his hair...

What then will be reality to him? That which he’s known all his life, or that what he sees before him?

And if it’s the latter and he returns to the cave what will happen?

If he tells his people what he's seen and experienced, nobody will believe him, because nobody knows that reality. Their reality are the shadows before them, anything else is fantasy. But it IS a reality.

That leads to the question; What IS reality?
What defines it?
Because if the definition of reality is "it is what we see and experience in everyday life", then the cave would be reality won't it?
But would you consider the cave to be reality? friends is Plato's parabola of the cave....
No answers tho...just questions ;) "

And...with that....I open the doors to discussion

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