Ideas and Ideology: Chapter 1
The Cave: The Illusion and the Reality of Education
We are all born into a condition where the meanings of the world are made
Plato believed that the philosophic contemplation of the reality of ideas was
the highest form of reflection a human being could achieve.
Freedom and Force
Plato’s allegory about The Cave was a story of domination and oppression as
well as education and liberation.
- Domination (human condition of self-enslavement); individuals (mis)
perceive their condition to be free and in possession of the truth about
the world they live in.
- Another kind of dominance; the application of raw, coercive and
immediately perceptible force designed to lead the prisoner from a
condition of ignorance to awareness (knowledge of the wider world)
Once outside the cave, the prisoner’s liberation is more than freedom from
physical bondage, for he/she has also gained new understanding of the
difference between the world of bondage and the world outside of the cave
(prisoner will know that he/she was imprisoned before).
- For Plato, liberations means more than just living without shackles,
(human more fully conscious of the world)
- Plato suggests that what we believe and what we are as human beings, is
produced by forms of power about which we are perhaps unaware
(education involves an initial process of breaking the shadow like chain of
conventional wisdom and that education conceived in this way
constitutes the beginning of at least one form of liberation.
- The philosopher’s truth may also be a shadow on the wall of different
- Problem w/ the conventional wisdom is not that it has a view of reality.
The problem w/ the conventional view from the position of the prisoners
is that they believe their own reality to be all of reality, not even a view of