Catherine Walker – Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

One topic that has really resonated with me over the course of this semester was Professor Ewen’s lecture and interpretation of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato describes prisoners chained in the dark recesses of a large cave. They are unable to turn their heads and they can only see the cave wall before them. Behind the prisoners is a fire. There is a roadway between the prisoners and the fire where puppeteers perform a show. The puppets cast shadows on the cave wall, and the prisoners see and hear the shadows and echoes cast by the puppets they can’t actually see. Plato sees this as an allegory of how we can mistake appearances for what is the truth. The shadows of the puppets aren’t the truth, they’re just an element or an interpretation of the truth. I found this whole concept to be extremely interesting especially regarding how it relates to the modern media. We see advertisements and movies and social media posts and think of them as the absolute truth of the world and the people around us, but really they are just shadows or reflections of reality. By thinking this, we become prisoners who can never be really enlightened and who can never see the full truth. If we see the “puppets” for what they really are, then we can be freed.

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4 thoughts on “Catherine Walker – Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

  1. crystalhuang326 says:

    I like this concept of the Allegory in the Cave as well. Your sentence, “By thinking this, we become prisoners who can never be really enlightened and who can never see the full truth” reminds me of how Professor Ewen once said something along the lines of, seeing is also a way of not seeing. Because the theme of modern media is quick and instant, it is very easy to get information wrong or not have enough information to back up a certain claim. It has become more and more difficult to trust what is in the media, unless it is confirmed true, for sure. We also have a responsibility, as the receivers of information, to try to weed out what is true and what is not.

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  2. Rina Gorvokaj says:

    I agree that we only see aspects of reality when we interpret TV, internet, advertisements, etc. What I have found helpful to help me expand my mind, and get rid of some of this programming is meditation. It really helps to put things into perspective. I also do “media fasts” where I don’t go on social media or text for an extended period of time.

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  3. libbylu77 says:

    I agree I think nowadays we allow the media to shape our selves and ultimately we have lost the meanin. Of individuality. We have lost what it means to be true to ourselves.

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  4. nicholascgreco says:

    Excellent interpretation. It’s never been more clear to me the mask that media wears and the struggle it is to truly see what’s going on in the world behind all it.

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