Most of us have heard Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” about enlightenment, but for those who haven’t, here is a short summary:
In the beginning of the “Allegory of the Cave,” Plato represents man’s condition as being “chained in a cave,” with only a fire behind him. He perceives the world by watching the shadows on the wall. He sits in darkness with the false light of the fire and does not realize that this existence is wrong or lacking. It merely is his existence — he knows no other and offers no complaint.
The chained man is suddenly released from his bondage and let out into the world. Plato describes how some people would immediately be frightened and want to return to the cave and the familiar dark existence. Others would look at the sun and finally see the world as it truly is.
They would know their previous existence was fake , a shadow of truth, and they would understand that their lives had been a lie. A few would embrace the sun, and the true life and have a far better understanding of “truth.” They would also want to return to the cave to free the others in bondage, and would be puzzled by people still in the cave who would not believe the now “enlightened” truth bearer. Many would refuse to acknowledge any truth beyond their current existence in the cave.
What are we as people, if not stuck in the cave? Do we not accept what we see, and what we are told, because that “truth” is all we know? Are we so afraid of the idea that we are wrong about what this world is about, that we blind ourselves to any other views? Sadly this is, for the most part, true. Most would rather live comfortable, happy and familiar lives, than lives full of challenges and pain, which would ultimately lead us to the “larger truths of life”.
What these “larger truths of life” are, I am unaware. But I try to stay open to new ideas and philosophies. Think of the people you know who think differently about the world, whether it be the idea of the “Law Of Attraction,” a belief in Wicca or other minority religions. Think for a second: is it possible that these people have a “more correct” view of the world than society would like us to think?
We need to escape. The world is waiting for us to escape, waiting for us to quit the lie, to open our eyes, perhaps to the idea that we are not the supreme rulers of the universe or even of the world.
In the words of Daniel Quinn from the book Ishmael, which I strongly recommend:
“With man gone will there be hope for gorilla?”
This is the beginning of an excellent story which I will not spoil with the closing quotation; I choose to leave you searching for answers (hopefully in a book), as we all should be in life.