1. Joined
    04 Aug '04
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    1561
    10 Dec '05 07:25
    I'm guessing most of you have read this. For those that haven't, you can find it in "The Republic" (by Plato). Here's what I find controversial:

    It is stated that it is better for people to see what is actually causing the shadows. Yet, we have Plato saying of the prisoners who eventually see the true "light" (the sun):
    “If they could lay hands on the man who was trying to set them free and lead them up, they would kill him.”

    However, once they see the "light" and learn about the shadows, they supposedly are better for it, because now they know the "real" truth, as opposed to the truth which they considered to be real before they were shown the true "light".

    Here's my point. Everywhere that I have read about this work (in various books that analyze this piece), it is shown that learning the "real" truth is always positive; the best course of action; the right thing to do. You get the picture.

    But is it really? Are people happier once they learn the "truth", or are they happier with just going through life knowing their own "truth"? If they never learned about the "real" truth, would they be happier than if they DID learn about it later in life? Why is it that everywhere I read about this, it is always implied that people are happier and live more content lives once they learn that the shadows are just shadows (which people make) and nothing more? Who is to discern whether or not they lead healthier, happier lives than those that never learn about the "real" truth?
  2. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
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    10 Dec '05 09:15
    Originally posted by lioyank
    I'm guessing most of you have read this. For those that haven't, you can find it in "The Republic" (by Plato). Here's what I find controversial:

    It is stated that it is better for people to see what is actually causing the shadows. Yet, we have Plato saying of the prisoners who eventually see the true "light" (the sun):
    “If they could lay hand ...[text shortened]... or not they lead healthier, happier lives than those that never learn about the "real" truth?
    Well it seems to me we can't know the real truth, ever.
    So we are all in the same boat, some people just THINK they
    have seen truth. We are living in a truthless haze,
    Programmed to continue like that for all our lives.
    We probably would not recognize truth if it slapped us in the face.
    Or believe it.
  3. Standard memberWulebgr
    Angler
    River City
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    16907
    10 Dec '05 14:363 edits
    According to Plato's account, Socrates told the allegory as an illustration of the human condition. We live in darkness, lacking true knowledge. When a philosopher has attained a higher plane of knowledge, he is rejected by the people he would instruct. In some translations of Plato's Republic, it is stated that the people in the cave would kill one who had been outside and returned.

    It is interesting to read this lucid passage from the Republic in light of the whole. In Socrates' ideal State, he would ban poets and poetry (despite his seductions by the poems of Homer, or perhaps because of them). Socrates argues that poets tell lies about the gods, and cannot be permitted, therefore, to operate in a State run by lovers of wisdom (philosophers).

    I believe that Emily Dickinson was thinking about the dialogic relationship between Socrates' hostility to poetry and his "poetic" allegory of the cave when she wrote:


    Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
    Success in Circuit lies
    Too bright for our infirm Delight
    The Truth's superb surprise
    As Lightening to the Children eased
    With explanation kind
    The Truth must dazzle gradually
    Or every man be blind---
  4. Joined
    12 Jun '05
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    14671
    10 Dec '05 14:48
    Originally posted by lioyank
    I'm guessing most of you have read this. For those that haven't, you can find it in "The Republic" (by Plato). Here's what I find controversial:

    It is stated that it is better for people to see what is actually causing the shadows. Yet, we have Plato saying of the prisoners who eventually see the true "light" (the sun):
    “If they could lay hand ...[text shortened]... or not they lead healthier, happier lives than those that never learn about the "real" truth?
    You have to remember that the Greek concept of "happiness" included cultivating virtues, even pre-Aristotle.

    The search for knowledge is a virtuous one. I imagine most people still believe that.
  5. Standard memberDavid C
    Flamenco Sketches
    Spain, in spirit
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    10 Dec '05 15:16
    Originally posted by lioyank
    Who is to discern whether or not they lead healthier, happier lives than those that never learn about the "real" truth?
    Only the indivdual, and subjectively at that.
  6. Standard membertelerion
    True X X Xian
    The Lord's Army
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    10 Dec '05 20:29
    Originally posted by Wulebgr
    According to Plato's account, Socrates told the allegory as an illustration of the human condition. We live in darkness, lacking true knowledge. When a philosopher has attained a higher plane of knowledge, he is rejected by the people he would instruct. In some translations of Plato's Republic, it is stated that the people in the cave would kill one ...[text shortened]... Children eased
    With explanation kind
    The Truth must dazzle gradually
    Or every man be blind---
    A pleasure to read.
  7. Standard memberWulebgr
    Angler
    River City
    Joined
    08 Dec '04
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    16907
    13 Dec '05 04:00
    Originally posted by telerion
    A pleasure to read.
    I enjoy that poem.
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