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Plato's The Republic – Should We Search For The Truth?

765 words - 3 pages

Plato's Republic – Should We Search for the Truth?

There is the common belief that what we experience as reality is just a mere illusion of the truth. Plato's allegory of the cave in "The Republic" describes human beings as being chained in a cave, such that they cannot move but are forced to face a wall, onto which shadows of puppets and themselves are projected. They are deceived into believing that their reality is composed of these "shadows" when actually, the world of truth is the "light" outside the cave. This analogy insinuates the probability that we have been entertaining "false notions" about life, and all our beliefs, ranging from religion to the sciences, are merely representations of the truth. What is this "light" that burns so bright in Plato's eyes? Are we certain that it exists? Because for all we know, life might be nothing but the cave itself.

Plato appears certain of what the "light" beyond the cave will reveal to the one who has made the journey out. Firstly it will provide a means of illumination that will expose the "real existence" of the world. In the brightness of the "light", everything would be seen in their full beauty instead of the vague impressions shadows create. He would receive accurate information about life and therefore dispense with the need to discern between the truth and the lie. Furthermore, he would also see himself in his own "proper place". He would no longer be confused about his identity, role in society or purpose in life, and could then carry out his duties confidently and effectively. Secondly the "light" itself also symbolizes the "idea of good". Since it is mentioned in the allegory that if one were to act "rationally", he would need to rely on the "idea of good". It can be interpreted that "the idea of good" would equip one with the necessary virtues, qualities, skills and knowledge required to act in a responsible and reasonable manner. This would encompass "all things beautiful and right" and the "source of reason and truth". The former most probably refers to virtues like piety and compassion, while the latter includes wisdom and the ability to think logically (both of which are prerequisites for making informed decisions). In fact, Plato has so much faith in the power of the truth that he...

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