Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Allegory of the Cave-Reflection

Every time I hear this story it leaves me with a bitter feeling in the pit of my stomach. It makes me frustrated and sad that the prisoners would not listen to the one that has seen the light and reality, and that they would rather choose to stay in the dark physically and mentally. Despite this feeling, I enjoy the intriguing themes shown in this story and the subtle motifs. The theme that stands out the most for me is knowledge vs ignorance. I feel like its human nature to always want to put yourself in the safest, most comfortable position with everything you do. Just as the prisoners who refused to leave the cave after learning about the world outside, many choose the simpler path in life of staying with what we know best and not going outside the box. To many this seems so obviously wrong, and they automatically chastise these kinds of people. However, what exactly is so wrong with staying in your comfort zone? You may not get to experience the same things that others do, and you may be missing out on lost opportunities, but if you’re happy then why is it wrong? I believe there is no right or wrong answer to this because how is having certain knowledge about something, or having more experiences than others make your life any more valuable or better? Knowledge may be power, but ignorance can be bliss. 

Reflecting on this story, I can’t help but wonder what my decision would be if I was in this same situation. I want to be able to confidently say that given the chance, I would take the risk of leaving the cave and go out to experience everything I had missed, yet I do understand why the prisoners chose to stay and their reasoning is something I can relate to. I constantly try to put on a facade of indifference-I just go with the flow, do what I want when I want, and never care what others think about me. However, it takes a lot of effort for me to take big risks because it makes me nervous when I don’t know exactly how things are going to turn out. Although it has gotten a lot better over the years, I still often cling to the comfortability of what I know. In situations like these, you never know what your answer will be until it is happening in the moment and you have to make the decision. For me, I can only hope I would choose the light.

 

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