What's the moral of Plato's Allegory of the Cave?

What's the moral of Plato's Allegory of the Cave?


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Posted May 18, 2007 - 2:42 PM:
Subject: What's the moral of Plato's Allegory of the Cave?
In the end the man returned to the cave and tried to tell his friends about what he saw. But try as he might his friends merely thought he'd gone insane. Therefore I think the moral to Plato's Allegory, if there would be one, is that the deep truths of life (the "why" to all things) cannot be explained through mutual communication. When the man and his friends learned to make words and talk to each other, everyone was still shackled in the dark cave. Communication therefore - being formed not out in the sunlight but from the fractured and broken knowledge of the men shackled in the cave - cannot transmit enlightenment to the ignorant, because enlightenment is a foreigner to the technique of conversation. It's homeland is ignorance. In a nutshell the moral is that nobody can be told what wisdom is. It is something that must be experienced. Interestingly one of Plato's earliest works, the Apology seems to depict this very same moral regarding the fate of Socrates.

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Posted Jun 28, 2008 - 8:47 AM:

The moral to Plato's cave allegory is that the cave dweller cannot respond to knowledge or explanations. Plato was limited in his approach. He was a kind man. That was his weakness and his strength.

However, the cave dwellers did believe in shadows. A shrewd Plato would have created shadow forms to PUSH the dwellers OUT. Plato was curious and open enough to be PULLED out of the cave. But if the goal is to see the Ideal Forms then does it matter if the ones chained in the cave are PULLED or PUSHED? Plato could only see "pull". It doesn't work for most people.

What kind of shadow forms to push them out of the cave? How about a shadow of a devil who proclaims that unless they move out and explore they will experience a fate far worse than what they experience? Eternal damnation in Hell. The devil doesn't exist, but as long as people will believe on the shadows on the wall you can make them believe in a shadow of a devil on the wall.

The moral of Plato's allegory of the cave? USE the shadows to emerge into light.
Nuke Survivor

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Posted Jun 30, 2008 - 10:54 PM:

I've been thinking a lot about that lately.
I think the allegory of it really represents the primal or emotional part of the mind being the cave, like we all have bias in everything we do as we get older we start to realize how biased we are and see teh shackles and develop some emotional maturity, but maybe that's just the beginning, who knows how deep in goes I mean if you were born in the cave and have always lived there it's kind of hard to even imagine thinking without bias, with perfect clarity in judgements, and seeing things as they truly are. I'll bet some people have come close like Socrates from what I've read but how? And why would one want to be free of bias or selfishness, things like that? Those are rewarding things. I have no idea what the moral is just trying to understand it.
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