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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The allegory of the cave inside our homes, communities to Chilean miners

After the condemnation to death of Socrates for impiety and corrupting the youth, Plato wrote many dialogues hoping to describe a perfect government. I guess a government that would have spare Socrates. In the Book VII of The Republic: It starts with an allegory on ignorance and knowledge. Socrates imagines male prisoners since their childhood in a cave. They are chained so they only see the walls of the cave and the shadows projecting the reflections of people and objects that are outside. The men never knew that these shadows are taken for reality. When the first prisoner is freed, he is forced to look toward the light. At first his eyes were burning. He preferred the darkness, and comforting shadows. Slowly he locates people, the moonlight and stars. Finally, the man looks at the sun; he understands that it is the cause of all the shadows projected.  This allegory expresses all of Plato’s philosophy. It is about the soul, morality and idealism of a supreme good. We as a community are supposed to join for the supreme Good.  According to Plato evil is only a mistake done due the ignorance of Good. That is why the republic should be a reflection of a thriving community under the leadership of the philosopher “elected” by us.

Once again, the allegory of Plato's cave is at the core of the long and painful rescue of Chilean miners.  In contrast, this men know reality,  the have a raw  knowledge of life under the republic. The are miners!!! Everyday, they go down the cave and risk their life to live without chains. However there are already enchained  in the invisible cage but they have chosen to fight for their children and families. According to news, now that they are close to freedom, nobody wants to be the first. And everyone wants to be the last.The ruff accession to reality scares them. And this seclusion must have exacerbated their sense of communities within the community. The wisdom they gained  makes it unbearable to pretend otherwise because it is equally difficult to  acquire and transmit such knowledge. I want to believe that their altruism and compassion is catalyzed by the refusal of being the first out.  Of course, their unity is a stellar symbol of the supreme  good. We should be humbled and inspired by them!!Nevertheless, deep down you know that they have to faced reality with a new mind, different  fears, and dreams. They have changed. And their realities did not. At the end, no one will care and they probably will have to go down the cave again. While many pretending leaders will have time to contemplate more ideas.

For the rest of us that are not locked miners. We  tend to enter caves as well. Our caves can be internet, television, shopping, consummation, recreation, name it and even dreaming. It can definitively be pleasurable because we have access to so much rights and goods. However let us not be enchained in our realities, and find comfort in the communities within the community. The allegory of the cave is even inside our homes, now and then do not forget to stare at the moonlight and the stars. And keep on worshiping the morning sun because this is it! Let us pray for them...
Same Moonlight for our dreams.

From Wikipedia:
After "returning from divine contemplations to human evils", a man "is graceless and looks quite ridiculous when – with his sight still dim and before he has gotten sufficiently accustomed to the surrounding darkness – he is compelled in courtrooms or elsewhere to contend about the shadows of justice or the representations of which they are the shadows, and to dispute about the way these things are understood by men who have never seen justice itself?"

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