The Allegory of the Cave

The Allegory of the Cave

Many of you are probably familiar with Plato0ˆ9s famous allegory of the cave. But I0ˆ9ve always had a problem with it: how does one know if he has not simply gone out of one cave into another?

It is not rare for someone to say (or imply) that they are 0ˆ8enlightened0ˆ9. People often claim to have enlightening experiences. Ptolemy surely felt enlightened when he came up with his geocentric model. But now, with our heliocentric model, we know he did not know truth. Yet it was impossible for him to see hundreds of years in the future when science and technology had advanced, so his feeling of enlightenment was rationally justified 0ˆ4 it was the best theory people had at the time. Now, we have quantum physics and natural selection, but these are probably ephemeral too. (No natural selection? Sort of puts a twist on my previous entry. <grin>). So that0ˆ9s what I wonder about. We are limited by our senses and our lifespan in our perception. So I doubt if we can ever be truly enlightened 0ˆ4 truly see the sun. Well, unless you say you0ˆ9re not enlightened, which some people say is an enlightened idea. And that0ˆ9s a paradox.

I have Ralph Ellison on the brain right now (I'm reading Invisible Man). Here's a cool and applicable quote from him:

"I am standing puzzled, unable to decide whether the veil is really being lifted, or lowered more firmly in place; whether I am witnessing a revelation or a more
efficient blinding."

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