In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, human beings were trapped their entire life in a cave. Their life existed only on their eyes as they had no freedom. Their only source of inspiring views of the universe was the puppets and intellectual nose. Even when the prisoners get out, they are not happy as they know no better life than that of the prison. When the prisoners break out of the cave, they discover sun which is used to show the inability of the man to see behind. There is a similarity also in the prisoners who are manipulated by others to the extent that they cannot make sound decisions even if they have a chance. In society, people are chained by ignorance, and they end up experiencing challenges in dealing with problems that impact their daily life.
This allegory is related to what is happening to the society which is filled with lies. The World is the cave, the prisoners are the people, and the chains are ignorance. In Allegory, the prisoners were in a cave and even when they got a chase to get out they found out that the world was different from their perceptions. This is similar to what happens in the society for example when one is faced with a problem that they have to handle. In the cave described by Plato when prisoners get out of the cave, they find out that the World is not as they perceived (Heidegger 173). The world is the cave where the people’s expectations as perceived in their minds is not always the reality. Being in a cave means that you cannot question what is happening around you. The people in the cave chose to remain in the cave despite them having the opportunity to free themselves because their minds were enslaved. This happens in society for example when a person is trying to avoid a certain behavior such as alcoholism but they cannot. Such a person finds herself or himself in a situation that is difficult to get from even if they find it unpleasant. Sometimes such a person feels that they are already comfortable in the situation they are in and because they are not certain on what will happen if they deviate they decide not to initiate the process of getting from the cave.
The people were enslaved in a cave, and they could not see the light in their back through the cracks of the war.” How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?” (Peterson 283) People are the prisoners in the World filled with a lot of information some of it consisting of lies. When you are a prisoner, you cannot do everything that pleases you because there is no freedom. The imprisonment comes in the form of information with is full of lies either from the media or those around you. In society, for example, people choose to continue with alcoholism because the advertisements present it as safe for consumption.
The inmates of the cave have no desire to leave the prison since they did not think that there was a better life than that (Peterson 283). This happens in daily life when one is not certain of starting a life different from the one that he/she is used to. When for example one has a drinking problem he/she is not certain how life would be if he/she stops the habit. He ends up becoming a prisoner and is manipulated into buying the alcohol without thinking of the side effects associated with consumption. An individual who would have wanted to stop the habit gets convinced that as long as the advertisements present the product as safe for use or it is beneficial to the consumer, there is no need of stopping. The advertisers tell the people what they want to hear. To maintain or increase sales they have to brainwash the consumers and make them believe that the product and due to ignorance some tend to rely on the information they get from the media. They end up being chained and stopping the habit becomes challenging. By being prisoned in mind, an individual fails to think critically and make sound decisions.
In Allegory of a Cave, the prisoners are tied some rocks, their arms and legs are bound, and their head is tied so that they cannot look at anything but the stonewall in front of them (Peterson 283). The chains, in this case, symbolize ignorance and prevent the prisoners from seeing the truth. If you have never experienced a different situation, you will never know that it occurs. Since the prisoners have been in the cave their entire life, they do not know how it feels to be outside the cave. This is related to what happens in society today because if you do not know the truth, your thoughts will be manipulated. If for example, you do not know the benefits of excessive alcohol consumption you will never be motivated to stop drinking. Ignorance makes one make decisions based on the information that he/she has regardless of whether it is true or not
The Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is significant and can be used to explain things that happen in society. People are manipulated to develop a certain way of thinking by the puppeteers. After being brainwashed, they lose their ability to make decisions that impact their lives. Just like in Plato’s explanation people are chained by ignorance, so they get contented with their current status for fear of doing something that they are uncertain of the outcome. However, sometimes there is no one to inform them on the right thing to do and enlighten them on the impact of failure to make sound decisions. Mentorship is essential in life as sometimes an individual cannot differentiate what is right or wrong due to manipulation from platforms such as media.
Heidegger, Martin. “Plato’s doctrine of truth.” Pathmarks (1998): 155-182.
Peterson, Valerie V. “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: literacy and “the good.” Review of Communication 17.4 (2017): 273-287.