Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kevin Keane Response: Allegory of the Cave

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave creates an image that separates human beings into two kinds of people, those who want to be enlightening to the world around them and those who are not ready to see the world for all that it is. In the Allegory, there are various levels of reality that emerge, the prisoner’s reality and the reality of the ones responsible for the imprisoning them. Different question arise as the conversation between Socrates and Glaucon progresses and one can make sense of the Allegory’s intention.

The two realities cannot be thought of as right or wrong rather one being a level of higher intelligence. The prisoner that is set free can then be seen as chosen with a sort of divinity. He is blessed with the ability to see the world around him for more then what he thought existed. Not all of the prisoners are ready to except the higher reality, what they know is reality to them. The chosen prisoner was ready to accept reality further than what he had known his whole life.

The way that I was able to relate this concept to modern life was through the political system in our world today. Censorship in the media came to mind in that as a society we are shown what we are allowed to be seen, more specifically the Chinese censorship of the internet. An article on the New York Times website explains how they blocked photo sharing sites, one being flickr. Even YouTube, Wikipedia, and Myspace were part of these restrictions.

Just as the prisoners necks were chained to the wall so that they could only see what they were told to see, the Chinese government is attempting to do the same. With the internet expanding at such an exponential rate we are being released from the confines of our direct reality around us to a global reality. Recently through the ever growing social networks the Chinese censorship is being broken more and more frequently and the idea that this lesser reality can be maintained is slowly fading away.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/04/world/asia/04iht-wall.1.9716090.html

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