Tag: Plato’s Cave Allegory

Plato’s Cave

Before I use intellectual shock and awe on people, let me say that I learned of this story through listening to an Audible book, “The Joy of Ancient History” by a whole bunch of historian type scholars. I would like to think that I am a good listener.

picture of Greek theater mask from wikipedia
Wikipedia Greek Theater Mask
Tragedy or Comedy?

The Cave Allegory is all about the difference between seeing the world in a cave, shackled so that you can only see shadows on the wall, versus being brought to the surface to discover a different world in bright sunlight.

My father’s allegory was pretty similar. It involved a country boy on his first trip out of the backwoods, trying to buy a cup of coffee and a piece of pie at the Greyhound bus station lunch-counter. When asked what kind of pie he wanted, the country boy replied, ” I didn’t know there was anything other than sweet potato pie.”

In both cases people found themselves in a different world than the one in which they were trained. Suddenly, what they had learned was no longer relevant, and they were assaulted with new truths.

The Plato thing is supposed to be a commentary on education, and how we let our educations dominate our view of the world whether or not these views are valid. Indeed, how do we know that our new sunshine experience is not more of the figurative shadows on the wall?

The world is what it is. The world exists in all its physical glory whether or not our philosophy agrees. The aspirations of people are the same all over the world. The basics of economics are not overthrown by religion, politics, or schoolboy ideas.

From what cave did Barack Obama appear? What did he have as his shadows on the wall in his education and raising? His mother’s generation were hippies. His fathers’ families were Muslim, socialist, and tribal.

Obama’s college education was cave-like at Ivy League schools. What? Ivy League being compared to a cave?  Yup! As long as liberal, Ivy League professors keep running off the tracks in their archaic, nineteenth century political philosophies, they are in their own figurative caves. Impressionable kids like Barack Obama learn bad history, bad economics, and bad social theory. We are way past the time of Marx and his crowd.

Sometimes we just want to tell Obama to go back to his little cave and leave thinking people alone. I don’t think he ever came out of his cave into the intellectual sunshine, and there is no chance he ever will.