Ever Heard of Plato?

Ever heard of Plato?

Three years ago I knew nothing about him but as my book series progressed I found myself searching for scientific evidence that would back up my plot line. I came across a lot of information and there were so many things I wished to include in my book but didn’t want it to come across as though I was spurting scientific theories just for the sake of it. Plato was an ancient philosopher and writer and when I came across his work it delighted me, he wasn’t necessarily saying that alternate realities existed, just that we are in no position to say they don’t. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real.

The work I am referring to is known as ‘The Allegory of the Cave’, and the basic premise is that most of us live in ignorance and we are comfortable with it. If we were to discover more to our world we would most likely be afraid of it and long for the familiar comfort ignorance gave us. It all sounds a bit blasé until described in its original metaphor.

Imagine there is a cave where prisoners are chained to the wall, their heads are in a fixed position and they have never seen outside that cave. Behind them is a fire and all they know of the world is the shadows that move before them. They would believe the shadows were real, they would have no concept of them being two dimensional projections of three dimensional objects. As an observer we are aware of the truth, we know an entire world exists outside that cave but if we were to tell the prisoners they would never believe us. We would be laughed at and considered crazy, when in actual fact the world is far greater than they dare to imagine.

“To them, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows …”

If one of those prisoners were released, they would come up against many physical and mental struggles. Their bodies would object to the idea of being used, their muscles would struggle to hold them, their eyes would burn from the light and they would be distressed by what they saw. To begin with they wouldn’t believe it but as time went by they would realise that they now had a clearer vision than before. The real world would be intoxicating.

I loved the allegory of the cave because Plato chose shadows to make his point, they represent the impossible becoming reality and although I’m pretty sure I’m never going to come across an alternate reality, I like to think there is more to the world than we are capable of seeing. For all we know we could be the prisoners and outside the cave anything is possible, why not dare to imagine?

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