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Plato’s Republic tries to illustrate the degrees in which our nature can be enlightened or unenlightened. Plato in a discussion with an acquaintance by the name Glaucon, urges him to imagine the condition of men living in a sort of cavernous chamber underground, with an entrance open to the light and a long passage all down the cave. Here the men have remained since childhood, chained by the leg and by the neck. The men cannot move and can only see what is in front of them. At a high distance up there is a light of a fire burning behind them, between said fire and the prisoners there is a parapet built along it. This is used to hide the performers who show their puppets along the top of the parapet. Behind the parapet, there are a number of people carrying various artificial objects, including figures of men and animals in wood or stone and various other materials. There objects are projected above the parapet. Some of the persons are talking while others remain silent.According to Plato the prisoners confined would see nothing of themselves or others except for a bit of the cave shadows carried past. They would also only speak in reference to said shadows. In every way, the prisoners would recognize reality as nothing but the shadows of those artificial objects. Plato then asks us to consider what would happen if one of the prisoners was released from their chains and set free. That prisoner would be forced to have to stand up, walk upright, and walk with his eyes directed towards the light. All these movements would be painful to said prisoner. The prisoner would also be dazzled by all that existed in this “outside world” to notice what objects had been making the illusions and shadows all along. If someone told him that what he had formerly had seen was a meaningless illusion and was actually now nearer to reality then before, it would be extremely difficult for the prisoner to believe. If someone actually showed him the various objects being carried and told what each of them was, the prisoner would be perplexed and would probably believe that most of the objects shown to him were not real and what he formerly saw was.


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