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The Question Of Truth Essay

2033 words - 9 pages

Do we really know what the “truth” is? How can we distinguish what the truth is in real life? Are you every completely sure of the truth? In the Question of the Truth Unit we read a variety of selections based off of people’s perception of the truth, though in many of these selections the truth wasn’t what people expected. These selections help develop a contrast between how things seem on the surface, and how they really are. A couple of these selections accept the surface appearance of things as embodying reality and not the actual truth.

Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” is a prime example of what appears to be true and what actually is. In “Allegory of the Cave” men have been chained by the leg and by the neck since childhood, so that they can’t move. This also makes it so that they can only see what is in front of them. Since this is how they have lived everyday of their life, these men believe that this is how everyone lives. They don’t know that the outside world exists. Behind these men there is a fire burning, and in front of this fire there is a parapet on a track. There are figures of men and animals in wood, stone, or other materials which project above the parapet. This made it so the prisoners thought that reality was these shadows. They think these shadows are are there is, but in reality there are actually objects that you can see and touch. When they decide to let one of the prisoners free, it was painful for him to stand up, turn his head, and to walk with his eyes lifted to the light. He had never done that before he never knew that it was possible to look into the light. When the prisoner was taken out into the sunlight he wasn’t able to see a single thing. He had to grow accustomed to it first. It was easier to decipher shadows at first, then reflections in the water, and later on the actual object. The prisoner eventually came to the conclusion that the sun produces seasons and the course of the year and controls everything in the visible world. He now realizes that there is more to life than he ever knew. Now imagine what would happen to him if he went down into the former cave. His eyes would become filled with darkness, and his eyesight would be unsteady. The other prisoners would laugh at him and say that he came back with his eyesight ruined. They don’t believe him because they have never seen the truth. The other prisoners think that the truth is what they see every day, the shadows on the wall in the dark cave. But in reality he was just trying to help them and set them free. He was trying to get them to understand the truth! The prisoners would never believe him because they had never seen or heard of anything he is talking about even though he is telling the truth.The prisoners would eventually kill him.

“Allegory of the Cave” shows us how we can believe something is true our whole life and never know it’s wrong. The prisoners lives are a fantasy. In the real world the things they are seeing are just shadows to...

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