“Allegory Of The Cave Updated”
"Socrates: “Why do people think philosophy is bullsh*t? Let me put it this way - imagine you’re in a cave, all chained up so you can’t turn your body at all, and all you get to look at is this one wall. Some fools behind you are making shadow puppets using the light from a fire and making echo noises and that’s all you or anyone else chained up has seen or heard all your life. Sounds terrible, right? Except it’s all you’ve ever known, shadows and echoes, and that’s your whole world - there’s no way you could know that, really, you’re watching a slightly-improved M. Night Shyamalan film.
In fact, you get pretty good at understanding how the patterns in the show work, and everyone else chained up is like, ‘Holy sh*t bro, how did you know that that tree was going to fall on that guy?’ and you’re like, ‘It’s because I f*****g pay attention and I’m smart as sh*t.’ You’re the smartest of the chained, and they all revere you.”
Glaucon: “But Socrates, a tree didn’t really hit a guy. It’s all shadows.”
Socrates: “No sh*t, Glaucon, but you don’t know that. You think the shadows are real things. Everyone does. Now STFU and let me finish.
So eventually, someone comes and unchains you and drags you out of the cave. At first you’d say, ‘Seriously, what the f**k is going on?!’ Well, actually, at first you’d say, ‘HOLY SH*T MY EYES’ and you’d want to go back to the safe, familiar shadows.” But even once your eyes worked you wouldn’t believe them, because everything you ever thought was real is gone. You’d look at a tree, and say ‘That’s not a tree. I know trees. And you, sir, are no tree. THAT DOWN THERE is a tree.’ But you’re wrong. Down there is a shadow of a tree.
Slowly, as your eyes got better, you’d see more and more. Eventually, you’d see the sun, and realize that it’s the source of all light. You can’t see sh*t without the sun. And eventually, you’d figure it out. Something would click in your brain: ‘oh, sh*t, that IS a tree. F**k me. So… nothing in the cave was real? I feel like such an assh**e.’
But it’s not your fault, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Finally you’d want to go down and tell everyone about everything you’ve discovered. Except, and here’s the hilarious part, they think you’ve gone f*****g crazy.
You’d say, ‘Guys, real trees are green!’ and they’d say, ‘What the f**k is green? THAT is a tree over there.’ And you’d squint and look at the wall, but you know you’re f***ed because now you’re used to having sunlight, and now you can’t see sh*t. So they’d laugh at you, and agree that wherever it was that you went, no one should go there because it turns people into idiots.
Philosophy, same thing. The soul ascends and apprehends the forms, the nature of everything, and eventually the very Idea of Good that gives light to everything else. And then the philosopher has to go back to the cave and try to explain it to people who don’t even know what Green is, to say nothing of the Good. But the philosopher didn’t make up the Good, it was always there, and the only way to really make sense of it is to uncover it for yourself. You can’t force knowledge into a dumbass any more than you can force sight into a blind man.
So if you want to learn, be prepared for a difficult journey, and be prepared to make some mistakes. That’s okay, it’s all part of the process. True knowledge must be obtained the hard way, and some people just don’t want to see the light.”
Put another way...
"In 'The Republic', Plato imagines human beings chained for the duration of their lives in an underground cave, knowing nothing but darkness. Their gaze is confined to the cave wall, upon which shadows of the world are thrown. They believe these flickering shadows are reality. If, Plato writes, one of these prisoners is freed and brought into the sunlight, he will suffer great pain. Blinded by the glare, he is unable to seeing anything and longs for the familiar darkness. But eventually his eyes adjust to the light. The illusion of the tiny shadows is obliterated. He confronts the immensity, chaos, and confusion of reality. The world is no longer drawn in simple silhouettes. But he is despised when he returns to the cave. He is unable to see in the dark as he used to. Those who never left the cave ridicule him and swear never to go into the light lest they be blinded as well."
- Chris Hedges