The concept of Plato’s cave just absolutely messes with my head. When I first looked at it, I thought “Wow those guys are dumb don’t they even know that those are just shadows??”, but really, in the same situation none of us would have thought differently to them. The concept that everything we’re seeing is not really in it’s true form and there is more there than meets the eye is kind of terrifying, because we believe all that we observe to be true, after all, “seeing is believing” -An Old Proverb from somewhere probably. Really, how are we to know that what is before us is real or not? We could be in some kind of simulation, just a creation of some higher singular/plural Thing made for amusement. I mean, personally I don’t blame them though because humans are petty and hilarious, but I digress. But in terms of my interaction with the concept of Plato’s cave, the concept of discovering a world you never knew, there’s one time in my life that comes along.
Picture me, at eight years old. My hair was blond, and I was smol and innocent and pure, and also had not yet moved to Canada. Now it’s a little weak to compare the natural ignorance of a small child to the huge concept that is Plato’s cave, but bear with me here. I was a well traveled child, I’d been to Europe and USA and all over South America, but for all those travels I had never actually seen snow. Okay, now imagine telling me, an eight year old living in South America who had never seen snow, that I was MOVING TO CANADA. I was HYPED. I immediately started vividly imagining how I would live. I would get along with the wild life and ride a moose and/or a polar bear to and from school everyday. My family and I would live in a cozy little igloo, our meals consisting purely of maple syrup and poutine. I would ski, or ice skate, everywhere as OBVIOUSLY there would be snow all year round. This was what I thought was actually going to happen, and for some reason no one really contested this misguided knowledge so I just continued happily believing whatever. Now, it was kind of an opposite thing to Plato’s cave, where instead of being amazed and confounded by what I found, it was more of a huge disappointment. When I landed in Toronto, the snow part of my fantasies was instantly fulfilled as it was the middle of March and extremely cold. Oh also I didn’t think it would be freezing for some reason. Now, the disappointment started when I did not see a SINGLE MOOSE OR POLAR BEAR for the entirety of the time when I was in Ontario. It was very anticlimactic really, I went out into the snow and just thought to myself “Wow it’s cold here this sucks” and continued to be disappointed from then on. But, poutine and maple syrup were certainly real things so I was excited to, for the first time ever, try these foreign foods for the very first time. To make a potentially long story short, I don’t like poutine and prefer Aunt Jemima to any kind of maple syrup, so needless to say I was yet again disappointed with this grand new world I was being introduced to. Of course, since then I have come to terms with my early on misjudgement and disappointment with Canada, and have come to realize it’s pretty great all around. But for eight year old me, it was like being led from the glorious outside into Plato’s Cave.
Since then I have of course discovered much more about this half-decent place called Canada, and I really love it here. My life here is more than it ever could have been back home, so really even though I was led into Plato’s Cave, I’ve made my own way out and learned to appreciate and be in awe of all that I have before me. And of course, as for my friends back in South America I do not hesitate to tell them of the glory of Canada.