PLATO’S CAVE ALLEGORY & EGYPTIAN CAVERN By Andre Austin Plato Book VII of* The Republic The Allegory of the Cave Here's a little story from Plato's most famous book,*The Republic.* Socrates is talking to a young follower of his named Glaucon, and is telling him this fable to illustrate what it's like to be a philosopher -- a lover of wisdom:* Most people, including ourselves, live in a world of relative ignorance.* We are even comfortable with that ignorance, because it is all we know.* When we first start facing truth, the process may be frightening, and many people run back to their old lives.* But if you continue to seek truth, you will eventually be able to handle it better.* In fact, you want more!* It's true that many people around you now may think you are weird or even a danger to society, but you don't care.* Once you've tasted the truth, you won't ever want to go back to being ignorant! [Socrates is speaking with*Glaucon] [Socrates:]* And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: --Behold! human beings living in a underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if yo u look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets. Plato illustrates his dualistic theory of reality by his famous allegory of the Cave, at the beginning of Book VII of the Republic. Imagine mankind as living in an underground cave which has a wide entrance open to the light. Deep inside are human beings facing the inside wall of the cave, with their necks and legs chained so that they cannot move. They have never seen the light of day or the sun outside the cave. Behind the prisoners a fire burns, and between the fire and prioners there is a raised way on which a low wall has been built, such as is used in puppet shows as a screen to conceal the people working the puppets(Tren see aV). Along the raised way people wat thelk carrying all sorts of things which they hold so that they project above the wall-statues of men, animals, trees. The prisoners, facing the inside wall, cannot see one another, or the wall behind them on which the objects are being carried-all they can see are the shadows these objects cast on the wall of the cave. The prioners live all their lives seeing only shadows of reality, and the voices they hear are only echoes from the wall. But the prisoners cling to the familiar shadows and to their passions and prejudices, and if they were freed and able to turn around and see the realities which produce the shadows, they would be blinded by the light of the fire. And they would become angry and would prefer to regain their shadow-world. But if one of the prisoners were freed and turned around to see, in the light of the fire, the cave and his fellow prisoners and the roadway, and if he were then dragged up and out of the cave into the light of the sun, he would see the things of the world as they truly are and finally he would see the sun itself. If he returned back to cave he would have trouble accustoming himself to the darkness like new wine in old bottles (Matthew 9:17) Kill the old man body (Colosians 3:9) of sin darkness for the saving of the new born body (John 3:4), a child of light. If he returned to the darkness to give them a key to get out of the cave/grave would he not be subject to their ridicule, scorn and even physical attack. Jesus went back down into hades to tell the dark spirits that he got victory for himself and the sons of light won the golden prize of eternal life. Plato’s allegory is an incomplete simile-the reader must supply what is similar. The Philosopher-King , the liberated one (Truth sets U free) having made the ascent to know truth and the good, has a mission: to return to the cave, to bring enlightenment, to bring the good news, even though he may be killed for his services. Plato was thinking of Socrates Christians think of Jesus. We do take the cross of Jesus to kill the darkness of the old man in us. Jesus tells us to flee a city if persecuted. I recall a couple of years ago I wrote on crime in the community and I said I needed no weapons just a flashlight. Those living in darkness thought I meant a literal flashlight. Recent crime in my City and the new mayor said she thinks these young people need to learn a trade and be put to work. Another young minister said they need healing from within. These are the flashlights I was talking about in allegory. Notes: Egyptian book of Caverns: The Egyptian Book of Caverns describes the unilluminated: “They are like this, those who do not see (healed/saved) the great God, who do not perceive the rays (light) of his disk, whose souls do not leave the earth, who do not hear the words of this Great God when he passes near to their cavern”. In the NT you need to be on top of a house with a oil lantern or candle to be swooped up like Noah saved the other seven who had faith and works. They believed (faith) and put bodies into action by jumping on board the ship/ark. In Egypt souls go back in forth in heaven in a ship/ark.