“Allegory of the Cave”

  1.  What is the main point of the reading?  What in the reading led you to believe this is the main point?
  2. How did the reading make you think about your own education?  With what did you agree?  Disagree?  Why?
  3. Which ideas in the reading stood out to you?  Why?

Respond thoughtfully to your reading/discussion/sketching of Plato’s famous work in about 200 words.  Then, respond to two other comments (approximately 50 words or so.)

Due Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 10:50am

Points:  initial response – 25 points   Response to others’ points – 5 points each

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39 thoughts on ““Allegory of the Cave”

  1. tylerwesmore

    By reading the passage, one is prompted to assess in what facets one has been unwittingly forced to view a charade over reality. Symbolically speaking, the men ensnared in the cave are viewing the remnants of what they could be experiencing by properly exposing themselves to higher learning and interpretative thinking. In order to free oneself from imprisonment, one must be blinded by the overwhelming sensations of broadening one’s mind on seemingly understood concepts. In my own educational experience, I find myself unmoved by the notion that the education system is but a shackle designed to regurgitate fixed information. It is true that at lower levels of education, one will experience frequently the memorization of facts and continual processing of fixed information. However, this does not constitute illusion. In order to achieve high level thinking, one must first master lower level thinking. This is the goal of the education system for the majority of schooling. It is true that some students will be ready fro higher levels of learning prior to the majority of students, but this factoid fails to properly support the idea that education is similar to the shadows on Plato’s wall. By the time an individual progresses in schooling to achieve classes such as Calculus and this very class, that individual is rewarded with information that challenges him or her profoundly. In this way, I fail to agree that my education has been nothing more than viewing a shadow of its reality. The reading does offer vitally important reasoning as to how an individual should react when barred from achieving scholarly potential and as to how knowledge has the potential to rebuke an individual unprepared to obtain such knowledge.

    Reply
    1. marissaoxendine

      I enjoyed your comment about the education system, especially one needing lower level thinking to achieve higher level thinking. It reminded me of the new Common Core system. Now in Kindergarten rather than teaching kids phonics, they teach kids sight words. Personally, I believe that it is more beneficial to learn the act of sounding letters out to learn how to read. To me, this is a basic example of an educational building block that one needs to achieve a higher level of thinking.

      Reply
    2. jennatoms

      While your claims are well supported, I would have to disagree with a few of your interpretations. I agree that in order to move on to higher level thinking and more advanced learning one must first be equipped with the basic knowledge to support such thinking. However, I cannot agree with your statement that the reading offers “vitally important reasoning” on how a person should interpret or react. How can one put any restrictions on someone’s personal reaction to any situation? Everyone is different; therefore, one cannot assume that one reaction would be more appropriate than the other.

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    3. jakobtoms

      Although I feel that we have separate interpretations of the story, I feel that your viewpoint is valid. This type of literature has no correct analysis and your commentary on the fact that the education system is not a shackle but instead a stair step system instead is interesting. I liked how you related the story’s message and the prompt to some of the more difficult classes us seniors are enrolled in this semester.

      Reply
  2. jakobtoms

    1. I feel that the main point of the reading, the notion that Plato was trying to convey, is that perspective is powerful and it is important in people’s perception of the world.
    2. The reading caused me to feel somewhat existential. I have always prided myself upon intellect. As of recently, I have been coming to the realization that I may not be as smart as I think that I am. The story about Plato’s cave made me feel that I have in some ways hit a wall, as I don’t know how I can push further and leave the cave that I am in to see the sun. I suppose the story didn’t have a resonance with the way I feel about the education system in general, but it did have an impact on my self esteem.
    3. The idea of being trapped in a cave, oblivious to finer, more sophisticated life stood out to me because I feel like I am in that same situation. As I previously mentioned, I feel like I have hit a wall and despite my attempts to better myself, I cannot. I don’t know if I will break free from my chains. I don’t know what is outside my cave. Another section of the reading that stood out to me was the part about disappointment and revelation. The story talked of the possibility to have high expectations, and when shown the true nature of something, be disappointed. In tandem with this comes the experience of a profound realization. I think both of these things are entirely true.

    Reply
    1. erinfskinner

      I like how you related yourself to the reading. It helps with understanding the story when one can relate to it. I am sure you are not alone in your feeling of ‘hitting a wall.’ I am sure you will see the light soon, as long as you keep pushing forwards.

      Reply
    2. drennanm

      I like that you related your own personal struggles to the struggles that the men in the cave faced. I also liked the connection you made about hitting a wall within your education, because it could be seen that the men hit a wall in relation to their knowledge as well.

      Reply
    3. sabrinamartinez18

      I enjoyed reading your response because you made it very personal. You related the story to your own personal experiences and I can understand the reasoning behind that.

      Reply
    4. MorganBrown6

      I really enjoyed reading your comment! Although I wanted to relate myself to the freed prisoner, I can definitely see how I could just as well still be a prisoner who is unable to expand their mind at times. I think perspective definitely has a large impact as to whether I feel like a freed or trapped prisoner at any given time

      Reply
    5. ktaylorap

      Your comment is completely relatable. I like that you tied your own education experience and struggles to the prisoners in the cave. You “hitting a wall” explains the shackling of certain aspects of our education system and how many students feel. Relating your experience to the story helps to make clearer sense of its meaning.

      Reply
  3. Mai Davis

    I think that the main point of the reading is don’t limit yourself to what you think you know. You may have doubts about new knowledge, and it may be terrifying, but expanding your mind gives you freedom that you could’ve never imagined. What led me to believe this is when they are describing the freed prisoner’s reaction. He is terrified at first, until he realized that he was mislead the entire time. When he learned about the real he was freed from the blindness of his own beliefs. The reading made me realize that even though I have learned a lot in my life, I still have much more to learn. Every year the teachers refresh our minds with what we learned in previous year, and then they teach us new knowledge slowly. Even though i learn new things every year, there is so much more to learn about everything. I just have to be willing to learn it. I agreed with this allegory because it correlates with life today, People are still blinded by their own beliefs, and they are still shackled by the fetters that bind them. People are free to think however they want, but they still allow social media and tv to influence the way they view themselves and the way they act. They get comfortable with the knowledge that they possess, and they never try to learn anything new. The idea that knowledge frees you stood out to me. I had never seen knowledge as a release, I had seen it as difficult, and a burden, but now i am thankful for the knowledge that I have and that i am going to continue learning.

    Reply
  4. ktaylorap

    The main point of the reading is that perception only leads to assumption, and new knowledge must be discovered to learn truth. Plato describes three people who only see shadows, and create their knowledge based on what they see. The sun represents new knowledge, and they cower beneath the light when they come from the cave. However, the light is the truth they are unwilling to accept because of their previous assumptions. The reading makes me think that my own education is freeing, but also shackling. Plato explains that in order to advance as a society and grow as a person, a well-rounded education is a key element. I agree with this, and by constantly learning in school, I understand more about the real world and expand my mind. However, I feel like some aspects of education hold us back. In my personal experience, the struggle between science and religion has affected my learning. I am taught that evolution created existence. However, I believe that God created the world, but this is not taught in school. Therefore, my mind is somewhat shackled from learning outside theories while in the classroom. The idea that people are so stuck in their own beliefs and thoughts that they are unable to see the other side of situations is something that is common today and stood out to me. Whether it be politics, human rights, or racial issues, people choose to stay in the shadows of their own knowledge instead of coming into the light of new education.

    Reply
    1. erinfskinner

      I also agree that people are stuck in their ways. This caught my attention as well, and I also believe that it is a very real situation in our society today. It shows through a lot in religion, politics, and many other controversial issues. The world would be a better place if people would just be a little bit more open-minded.

      Reply
    2. drennanm

      I like how you pointed out that the men are afraid or unwilling of accepting the truth. I also liked the point that you made when saying that their assumptions are their truth. I also like that you brought your personal beliefs into your comment about school and how certain topics are taught in school.

      Reply
    3. marissaoxendine

      I agree with your perspective of the story, and I know we talked about this together in class briefly. People are unable to look beyond their own personal cave to see the perspectives of others, and if people would understand this concept, society would be in a much better place now.

      Reply
    4. Mai Davis

      I agree with your statement, and I like how you said that new knowledge can shackle your mind as well. It put a new perspective in my mind. I can totally relate to the science and religion controversy. It is hard to learn about what you don’t believe.

      Reply
  5. erinfskinner

    The main point of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” is to prove to those stuck in their beliefs that what they know is not concrete. In the story, the prisoner who was set free went back to those still chained and tried to explain the new truth he had discovered. He was met with doubt and refusal of the truth by those bound. All they had ever known was what was right in front of them, literally. Without question, they believed the shadows on the wall. The other prisoner’s efforts to try to teach them were lost due to their not wanting to learn. You cannot force someone to learn if they
    are unwilling to cooperate. In this sense, the story is a metaphor for education. If a student is refuses to learn, it is nearly impossible for them to retain any knowledge.
    The reading also related to my own education. Sometimes when I am frustrated or just under a lot of stress, my brain refuses to learn simply because I have reached my limit. In these times, I need a chance to take a step back and breathe. Of course, I get back on track, unlike the prisoners. The one which escaped represents my willingness to learn, and the others show went I am at my wits end.
    The whole idea of the story stood out to me. It was an incredibly creative way to show a cave representing knowledge, or lack thereof. Another idea which caught my attention was how ignorant the remaining prisoners were when told the truth. This is very common in today’s society where those stuck in their ways refuse, and fear, change.

    Reply
    1. Madelynn Tabels

      I agree with what you said about hitting your limit. At times I also feel as though I cannot learn and it is extremely frustrating. I like how you related the prisoners to this. It made it easier to understand.

      Reply
    2. sabrinamartinez18

      I agree with your statement about your education and how sometimes you need to take a break in order to gather your thoughts. I also agree with the whole story standing out to you because I said the same thing in my response.

      Reply
    3. jennatoms

      Your analysis is spot on, in my opinion! I can definitely relate to your struggle of reaching your limits. Although, in my case, I feel I am the opposite of the prisoner. I often at times will be trying to absorb such significant amounts of knowledge and learning all at once that I hit a wall. I love your interpretation of the setting representing the knowledge the prisoners have because I also made this connection. 🙂

      Reply
    4. jakobtoms

      I feel like we share similar philosophies about this story. I agree with the section about reaching a limit due to mental exertion. I personally experience mental fatigue frequently and sometimes I have to take a Netflix break to get myself back on track. I sympathize with hitting that limit and I support your viewpoint of the story.

      Reply
  6. drennanm

    I believe that the main point of the reading is that people will feel as if there is something better, as if it is a grass is greener on the other side situation. People think there is always something better. In the story it is made to seem that more knowledge is better, which in some cases it is but in other cases it is not. In regard to my own education I think that in schooling there are restrictions to what we learn. In classes we are taught some things that we will never use in life and we are restricted to certain topics. An example of restrictions within education could be the topics that can be used in research papers. We are restricted to a small area of topics within a paper rather than being able to pick out or own topic. I disagree with restrictions in school when it is related to some classes. A few classes need to be structured and straightforward because that is how the subject needs to be taught. An example could be a class such as anatomy. An idea within the reading that stood out to me was that knowledge is power. This idea stood out to me because I believe that knowing more about some things could be beneficial, but knowing everything about everything is not beneficial. When someone knows everything, there is nothing left to learn, which makes life boring.

    Reply
    1. Madelynn Tabels

      I completely agree with your comment regarding today’s education. I also do not believe that we are learning to express our own ideas and thoughts. I feel as though we are just puppets and we are not able to freely express our individuality. I also agree that knowledge is not always as beneficial as one might think.

      Reply
    2. MorganBrown6

      I agree with a lot of your ideas! I like how you related it to our education. To expand on your thoughts, I also think that going to a smaller school can have some restrictions on us as students. While we have great teachers and have a more personal learning experience, there are still many opportunities that we are not given because we go to a smaller school. I also like your recognition of excessive knowledge being dangerous and undesirable in the long run.

      Reply
    3. Golden

      I agree, most of today’s education is just the repetitive bile we’ve been forced to swallow again and again over the years. There is little to look forward to in school nowadays, to most people English and art class are the only ways to be creative; which I don’t like all that well because I’m not good at art and my English is hardly any gooder.

      Reply
    4. mikaylaharper

      I totally agree with your comments about grass always being greener on the other side. It is interesting to me that that was the main things you saw out of the story because everyone saw something different. I had never thought about the point you made about education, but I do see where you are coming from on that point.

      Reply
    5. Mai Davis

      I like how you said it is like the grass is greener on the other side situation. I never thought of school education being restricting, but I can see how it is now. I agree that knowing more about some education could be beneficial, and that knowing everything is not beneficial.

      Reply
  7. sabrinamartinez18

    1. I believe that the main point of this reading is that the path to enlightenment can be scary and difficult but, in the end, worth it. There were parts throughout the story where the prisoners were reluctant to embrace “the light” that shone on them once they exited the cave.
    2. This reading makes me believe that my education is capable of being freeing yet restricting at the same time. The way classes are in current educational systems, students are told how to think, what to think, and why they need to think that way. Relating to the story, that is not how an education should be presented to a student. They should be presented with an idea, asked to analyze that idea, then share their thoughts and opinions with others to help each other as we learn. The educational system has not completely failed, however, because there are some classes such as AP English Literature and Composition that embrace what is said in “Allegory of the Cave”. We are challenged to think in different ways while reading stories from authors that presented the information in a certain way to guide our thinking, not to blatantly tell us what they wanted us to know.
    3. The entire story stood out to me due to the number of symbols used. Every aspect of the story was a symbol that represented something relatable to my life. I related the prisoners to myself, the cave to an educational system, the restraints to how we are expected to learn, and the light to how we should be able to learn. All of these symbols help me understand the story better because I am able to relate to it easily.

    Reply
    1. ktaylorap

      I agree that the current education system restricts parts of our learning. We should be open to free thought and analysis like we have in AP. I like how you pointed out the symbols in the story and how the cave and prisoners can directly relate to your education experience

      Reply
    2. mikaylaharper

      I agree with your understanding of the main point in the story. I do believe that learning new thinks and diversifying can be really terrifying. I also like the point you made about education. In the classes that I can do those things are the classes that I enjoy the most. The challenges are the most rewarding in the end.

      Reply
  8. MorganBrown6

    1. I think the main point of this story is to illustrate how people can be restricted by many factors in their life and they can only learn and become enlightened if they are willing to overcome the obstacles which they will face. The story also emphasizes that as people learn, they can become incredibly frustrated. In the end, however, the frustration is worthwhile because they gain new knowledge about the world around them. This is supported by the story because the prisoners only want to believe what they have known all their lives until one brave prisoner escapes and learns about the world outside the cave. The prisoners have been held back by their restraints for so long and deny any other reality because they are not willing to change their lives. The brave prisoner decides he is ready to learn and become knowledgeable, so he combats the frustration and pain caused by the sun and ultimately becomes happier and gains a better understanding of the world. He would have never known about the outside world without attempting to find some other reality besides his imprisonment in the cave.
    2. This relates to my education because while some people, such as the ones in this class, strive to achieve higher standards, many others are left behind because they are afraid or are unwilling to combat the frustration which learning at higher levels will cause them. Many students today are only willing to do exactly what is expected of them and to the lowest degree possible. I agree with the story that many people are content without trying to go above and beyond with their education. Those who do decide to achieve more knowledge and understanding must be brave and fight the forces acting against them in order to persevere and learn.
    3. The brave prisoner stood out to me because I feel that I can relate to him. While I do not want to claim to be incredibly smart, I have made the decision to “walk out of the cave” and immerse myself into harder courses which require more hard work and dedication. Although my school work gives me great amount of stress and anxiety at times, I ultimately know that I will persevere and overcome the obstacles while also gaining new knowledge and understanding. This outcome makes all the difficulties worthwhile to me because knowledge plays an incredibly important role in our futures.

    Reply
    1. Caleb Bryant

      I like what you said in the third paragraph! I can relate to that brave prisoner as well. He had the courage to break free of his shackles and run to the greater good. I can see myself in him. It takes great courage and nobility to step outside of your comfort zone in order to gain the goodness of like. That is exactly what the prisoner did and that’s what I did while in high school.

      Reply
    1. Caleb Bryant

      1. I believe that the main point in this reading was that there will always be a greater knowledge to be earned. The three prisoners that were held captive within the cave were shackled and kept from retaining the greater good. The sun that is outside the cave represents knowledge that can be gained. If the prisoners wanted it bad enough they would have to make an effort to work towards it no matter what obstacles stand in their way.
      2. This writing made me view my education from a different perspective. It made me realize that there are certain classes that do not allow much freedom to us students. We go by what the common core or lesson plan demands, instead of freely thinking out loud. However there are other classes that allow us to think and gain more knowledge freely on our own. The story is fully based of the fact that people have got to want to gain new knowledge on their own. I agree with this. Our education should be gained off of our own individual efforts. High school classes should be pushing that upon their students in order to become more independent in their education and studies. A large amount of classes do not allow students to do this and are just cut and dry with no freedom in learning. However, many other classes do allow for educational independence. These classes rely completely on the independent efforts, thoughts, and analyses of the students. This is setting them up for the greater good in gaining knowledge.
      3. The idea that the prisoners were shackled in a cave, unaware of the new knowledge and life that lies right outside stood out to me. The whole time the prisoners were held captive within the cave they were unable to benefit their lives. They have got to show that they want it bad enough and are willing to overcome any obstacles that stand in their way. That is how many people are in today’s world. They are so consumed by their own beliefs, disbeliefs, and self-embodiment that they are blind to see the full potential and knowledge that could be showing in their education.

      Reply
      1. Golden

        I agree with your 3rd part about the prisoners not being able to benefit their lives. School is boring for the most part, but if I wasn’t able to learn or think I’d go nuts because that’s no life.

  9. mikaylaharper

    I believe that the main point of the story is that knowledge is the light of the world. Not just knowledge, but culture and world experiences are the light as well. I think that Plato meant that people who are set in their ways are always going to be shackled by those ways. When the prisoner in the story leaves the cave and comes back to tell his findings of the world outside, they do not believe him. That is why they are shackled up; they have always been tied to the wall because they have never tried to broaden their horizons. I think that the reading did relate to my education. Students as a whole are puppets of the education system. Our test scores and performance are what the government relies on to set standards. And we, including schools and staff of the schools, have to abide by those standards. There are certain things that schools have to teach that a lot of students are opposed with. For example, anything to do with religious beliefs are not allowed. There are set things that schools do and believe, just like the prisoners in the story. But, I also believe that without standards and guidelines, there would be no conformity. Personally, I think that without guidance, I would struggle. In the reading, the point about the prisoners only being able to look forward stood out to me. They were only able to look at what they knew and they could not look around or diversify themselves.

    Reply
    1. Caleb Bryant

      I like and agree with what you are saying about how the school has a very particular way of running. There are set boundaries that keep students from learning or expressing themselves at their full potential. In a way some classes and schools keep us bound and do not let us blossom in our own independent educations. However, there are some that only focus on that matter of letting us students express, learn, and blossom.

      Reply
  10. Golden

    The main point Plato conveys is that ones perception/perspective is their reality. I could be taught that the sky is magenta and 2+2 is 17, while Caleb could be taught all his life that the sky is blue and 2+2 is 4. No matter what is correct we both believe in what has been ingrained in our brains and what we believe is our reality.
    The story has made me think of my own education in the way that it is existentially boring. “2. + 2. Equals 4. The direvitive of pi is 927tr517i2i3773t1” I fell asleep just writing that. I agree with the story in that we should not be forced think and do things one certain way as the prisoners do. The whole idea of perception in the story is something that stood out to me. The way that we are forced at points to learn and think the same way as everybody [as the prisoners) and then at points we are able to think and learn how we ourselves believe (AS the escapee).

    Reply
  11. jennatoms

    Knowledge is the power an individual holds over them self. You can choose to either expand your mind and your knowledge, or you can choose to remain stagnate in your beliefs. The main idea in Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” is that knowledge is only useful to those who posses the will or want to learn. The prisoners in the story are completely isolated in the cave. They know nothing about the outside world and can only see what is directly in front of them. When one prisoner breaks from his chains, he is overwhelmed with the idea that his truth of the world had been false and he must come to terms with the idea that there is more to the world than what meets the eye.
    In my own education, I have been given the tools to make my own conclusions. Students start with the basics and work their way up.

    Reply

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