Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


roses are red, plato had a cave, government funding is putting Canadians in the grave

Plato’s cave was an allegory used to explain enlightenment and how he saw our duties as human beings in evolving humanity. My interpretation of the story was to say that it is a public responsibility to communally advance how we see the world. Every single person on this planet sees the world through different lenses. By sharing what we see and offering solutions to the problems seen, humanity is able to grow off of one another through genuine care or one another. When humanity is able to recognize people in a state of distress, and is willing to lift them up for the bettering of another’s future, the world will become an overall elevated.


Haida totem poles courtesy of hellobc.com

This past summer I took a trip to Haida Gwaii, previously known as the queen charlotte islands. Upon arrival I was welcomed to the breathtaking sights of a shimmering coastline, bountiful forests, and a well maintained road that connected the two. the entire road was spotted with provincial campsites that overlooked the constant crashing waves. the spots provided a place of comfort to rest with washrooms, personal fireplaces and picnic tables. Within the first few kilometers of our trip we came across a gorgeous wooden building with totem pole giants standing in vibrant colours in front of the glass window entry way. This was the museum for the island. It was filled with historical artifacts of the local natives, decorative traditional clothing, and ancient carvings that told stories of the island’s past. the first few days of our trip were like this, a comfortable stay with a classic hometown feel. the funding put into keeping our campsites maintained, roads smooth, and vacation comfortable was very convenient and definitely made the stay enjoyable. those were the first few days of the trip. the further away from the ferry terminal and tourist attractions we drove, the true heart behind most of the island living was exposed. The towns were filled with caring families struggling to keep their houses from shambles, playgrounds crumbling to rust, and public spaces left to become dense overgrowth. The heartbreaking truth soon become evident that living here in comfort was nearly impossible.

The Haida who live on the island were given fancy museums and flashy tourist points, but there is lacking funding that is going towards the public spaces, and where they live. One of the local men who lived near Long Beach was telling us how he had collected berries and started his own coop of chickens so his grocery bill would come to a minimum. He said that many of his neighbours could not afford their monthly food supply, nor could they afford to start their own way of nutritional income, so they were forced to turn to loans. These loans would start an unhealthy cycle of debt that was known to destroy lives in a frantic effort to pay off the accumulating loans. To avoid greater debt people would even avoid going to hospitals in case the healthcare would reveal hidden problems that they would be unable to pay for. This was my moment of enlightenment. The thought that people would rather live in bliss than know they have an illness they cannot prevent or cure due to their financial situation was shaking for me. Some kind stranger on the beach was able to be completely vulnerable and give me insight to how poorly his community was doing. He told me how the funding that was going towards his land was not truly reaching the people who needed it, only letting those in poverty sink in poverty, and those living on the figurative “other side of the island” to grow in their surplus. With more money going to support the lower class, the community on Haida Gwaii could become a strong and cultural force it has the potential to be. This is an important issue that is affecting Canadians and needs to be looked into by the government so that the money spent is helping the people who need it most.


4 Responses to roses are red, plato had a cave, government funding is putting Canadians in the grave

  1. Claire says:

    This was very insightful – what you’ve said about the hidden poverty in these “tourist” places was very informative. We need to look after those whose homes we are entering before we consider, in a sense, stealing from them.

  2. sarah says:

    You mention that the people in the non-tourist side of the island are in the cave in a way, but aren’t we all in a cave when it comes to the truth about Haida Gwaii? Not having information about people who live in near poverty is a cave that many people in this country, and in this world, inhabit. And the thing is, hardly any of those people actually want to leave this particular cave because they want to save their conscious. I’m guilty of this myself, I think. What are your thoughts on people’s ignorance of poverty?

    • kirsten says:

      hey sarah,
      i definitely think that it is the ignorance of those living comfortable lives and have power to help other but don’t are a problem. the neglect that many of us share by not being exposed to poverty definitely is not aiding in making change. |I do believe ignorance is only bliss to those who are the beholder of ignorance, not the subject of it. i also believe that being reminded of those less fortunate brings out inherit good in people, and will allow us to develop together as a community. every little act helps when it comes to creating a better world for someone else and by spreading awareness, it is easier for people to remember those in need. i really appreciate your conscious effort to think of others even if it is easier not to, it really does help.
      thanks for the comment!
      sincerely kirsten


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