The Allegory Of The Cave
Thursday • September 7th 2023 • 10:43:32 pm
Philosophers are always ten times smarter than we think, the moment you understand something the philosopher said.
The moment you see the vulnerable human, who could have done better, is just the philosopher, lovingly, and gently reaching out to help you rise much higher.
To get us started, some say that fighting styles and equipment, arose from practicing martial arts with work tools, or whatever was on hand.
So that peasants could practice unnoticed, until they became powerful enough to set themselves free.
Considering that victors write history, the allegory of the cave might have been smuggling a weapon.
The allegory, on it surface, asks us to imagine ourselves to have been born, chained in a cave, facing a wall, where we can only see the shadows of what is going on behind us.
I must emphasize here, that in order to understand the allegory correctly, you have to become one of those trapped in the cave.
(You must avoid thinking of them as really unfortunate people, who are stuck in the cave, as that won’t help you understand the allegory.)
So here, from this miserable position of this unfair existence, we learn what philosophy and her daughters, the sciences, are for.
It is for constructing frameworks, and pathways, to infer about the source of the shadows, to cast theories that can explain the outside world, what it must look like.
The allegory shows what a philosopher is, he is the gad fly to the state, more than powerful enough to set the world free.
Just as soon as the Philosopher intuits, or infers the outside world, they will aim to set everyone free.
Though until the others see it, the philosopher may sound, a bit crazy, mumbling about the skies and the sun.
It is a good story, that shows Philosophers and Scientists, are great escape artists, or students of reality and great discoverers.
They don’t need to be told if there are walls around them or not, they will think, dig, and crawl through tunnels, because discovery is their business.
You may be High School, or College, cheerfully marching on, looking for a edge to tip the scales for some presentation.
Though you want to breeze through it, there is a small splinter in your mind right now.
It resonates, because you understood something, but you don’t know where it goes – and have no time or space anyway.
You know you are in the cave, you felt it all your life.
If you just shut yourself down, and do the chores – you won’t get yelled at.
If you just keep going forward, the other kids won’t notice or ridicule you.
And here comes the big one, if you just cram, the teacher will let you pass.
That’s your wall, right now, three is more to it, career, and other stuff – it gets bigger.
But what about… behind you? What about the business of discovery.
Did you figure out about Socrates yet? He didn’t lay down and die worried about chickens.
They told him, it is either him or the students he taught.
You see, the allegory in the allegory of the cave is very useful packaging, but the cave is a weapon, a tool for thinking.
The whole, is aimed at undoing your indoctrination, first by example, then by explaining to you what a philosopher is.
And asking you to by subtle analogy to the people in the cave, undo your indoctrination.
You have to ask a lot of questions, spend a moment with Henry at the Walden Pond, and then head on to Mount Katahdin, find the white blaze, and begin walking the AT.
You have to hurry to get there, because the longer you spend in the cave, the more you will have to lose, before you can walk the trails.
Once you get to Springer Mountain gown in Georgia, you have to prepare to walk the Pacific Crest Trail…
And then safely cross the Continental Divide Trail, it will take you years, sometimes it takes many years.
The three tails, are the Triple Crown – and few have even walked it thrice.
What is this really, you want to know, you see, or more precisely, you can’t see your shackles – it is called an allegory of the cave for reason.
You never get to see the shackles, and your walls are perfectly invisible.
Indoctrination is a prison you don’t know you are in, and the stress, fear, doubt, disbelief, poverty…
Will keep you from reading books, that hope to teach you large and integrated lessons, you will be unable to follow the other philosophers, clear thinkers, and great beings.
The trail, is so long, to make room in your mind, for your intellectual inheritance.
The thousands of books, written by different clear thinkers, from different perspectives, in hopes of helping you build a bridge.
From wherever you are, towards growing up, towards growing all the way up…
Until you too become a great being, and make your own lasting contributions to human kind.
Plato created the allegory of the cave, because they knew your genetic predisposition to trust the elders was going to be used against you.
That the world around you would not be the real world, but rather the world that others want you to see.
Everyone benefits when you sit in that cave, your cramming wasn’t a trick you invented.
The teacher made the curriculum incomprehensible on purpose, to force you to memorize, it is easy and quick, and they get paid just the same.
Your textbooks are priced to extract the maximum possible price you can pay, college loans are unforgivable by bankruptcy…
You will be paying them off, well into your 60s, they will be extracted from your paycheck by a Judge’s order.
The classroom, is a cage, many have to ask for permission to use the restroom, I bet you don’t have to do that in jail.
Those rows of students, aught to feel wrong, like you are being hung out to dry.
The 45 minute or hour long periods, prevent you from learning for real.
That you have multiple subjects in a day, ensures you will never finish anything, just fudge and cram.
Nothing you will learn in High School will be useful to you in life, it will feel that way…
But what you know, will be what you have learned on your own, it is actually proof that you are brilliant, and the idea if genius is stupid.
And it should really bother you that standardized education, is the same for all, but we each have different interests, and curiosities, and pressing questions.
The career is never guaranteed, you will have to fight liars fo it, your crushing debt will make it a matter of survival.
And many of your interviews are going to be fake, you will be used as filler material to meet a quota.
So that someone, can get their family members in.
You see real education is self directed, you have to choose what you learn and for how long.
Out minds need that, in order to grow tiny brilliant ideas into large integrated systems.
Those are the contributions, that will outlast you – you have to move in your own sequence, and at your own speed.
Just look at Newton, the apple might as well have fallen, as he was thing about the curvature of the earth, while looking at the moon.
Asking, where would the apple go, if I threw it so hard, that as it was pulled by gravity, earth’s curvature would counter that change.
Newton, pondering, orbital dynamics, by shooting apples out of his cannon.
Initially your idea will be just as small, but as you expand on it, you’ll invent the equivalent of calculus, to capture all the motion.
The allegory of the cave in one such idea that Plato worked on, he brought Socrates into the story even.
Your idea will be just as powerful, just as precious to your students.
But you must learn for real to get there, you have to listen to thousands of books on your trails, on your adventures, an in life.
Among countless many other things, those books will being you into the culture of their authors.
The super culture, where you will eventually converge with others like you, in wisdom.
The culture, of greatness.