Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Guy Who Saw The World

-"Look another one!" said the guy to his companion.
"Yeah. It's a person this time."-

Imagine two men chained in a cave. Their ancestors had committed  a very serious crime. Their off-springs had to be punished and were therefore in this 'jail' for almost 50 years. As a punishment they weren't allowed to look anywhere but the cave wall.

Now 55 years old they didn't remember much of their medieval society. Their time was spent looking at the shadows of the people that passed in front of the cave. The fire that was burning behind them made it easier to distinguish the shadows even at night.

One day one of them was freed. Taking time to adjust to the bright light, he has speechless. He curiously explored his new surroundings and went about in nature discovering new animals and plants.

Happy to find what the real world felt like, he wanted to share the news with his cave-friends. He went in there and started explaining.

The other two men only saw his shadow, but understood what he was saying. When he was done explaining the other inmates regarded him as crazy. He had found his truth in the outside world, but the others had their own reality, they had their depiction of objects on the wall.

Just because the free man thought his eyes saw the truth, that didn't mean that everybody else believed him. Each had his own reality.

-That is what Plato said. That reality is subjective and everything we experience is a depiction (shadow on a cave wall) of the real world, which according to him is the World of Ideals.-



*This story is a slight variation of the real allegory.*
For the a video telling the allegory in English (has Greek subtitles), click here.