See beyond the apparent. See beyond the reality of your existence. See with the faith, knowledge and skills of someone who knows the path out of the dark caves of life. Cave dwellers can out talk almost anyone brave enough to enter into their world to try to lead them out. Most have logic and understanding of arguments supported by real data, but it is logical but incorrect. The logic of a cave dwellers mind must be handled with professional skills. The ability to fight any and all attempts to change social conditions and class is the power and definition of culture and institution. Failure to bring Americans out of the caves is not an option. Most die in the modern day caves of addictions, and most who die in the caves are not the children of poverty, these are the children of priviledge chained to walls of death who must be rescued.

If you are going to help people get out of the culture of poverty you are going to need the tools in order to complete the task. Love cannot break through poverty and neither can religion, poverty itself is a religion and uses the same methods to capture the mind souls and bodies of millions of victims. The poverty of 21st century America is manufactored poverty. The kind of poverty, which comes from addiction, self induced poverty. Alcohol and drugs, illegal and prescribed by a qualified professional, are placing the mind body and spirit into the prison caves operated by those who would do harm to America intentionally and unintentionally.

Thousands of years ago men were writing about the mental prisons of the mind and its effect on the body and perceptions of reality.

 Many years ago, The College of New Rochelle School of New Resources successfully undertook the task of breaking individuals out of the culture of poverty by extending its hands and resources into the urban centers of New York City. Professional educators were hired to take the message of hope to the people. College extension sites were set up in hospitals, community centers and churches. Professors equipt with only attache cases brought the world of enlightment to adults want a way out of the caves of darkness. The successful project has transformed the lives of thousands of men and women, who not only freed themselves from the culture of poverty but made significant contributions to society and America in general.

The Allegory of the Cave—also known as the Analogy of the Cave, Plato’s Cave, or the Parable of the Cave. Philosophers were discussing topics of people trying to change the conditions of their lives and the difficulty envolved. The Cave —is an allegory presented by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work The Republic to illustrate “our nature in its education and want of education” (514a). It is written as a dialogue between Plato’s brother Glaucon and Plato’s mentor Socrates, narrated by the latter at the beginning of Book VII (514a–520a). The Allegory of the Cave is presented after the metaphor of the sun (508b–509c) and the analogy of the divided line (509d–513e). All three are characterized in relation to dialectic at the end of Book VII and VIII (531d–534e).

What makes it so difficult for some individuals to break out of poverty or leave the “Cave” is the fight against human nature and perception. The poverty system protects itself through making the individual think that they are wrong in trying to change. If they leave and return their friends and family will reject them, and fear of the unknown will prevent them from attempting new experiences. Poverty is a wall designed to prevent the people behind the wall from leaving and discouraging people on the otherside of the wall to bring in new information.

Plato has Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Plato’s Socrates, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

The educational system in some parts of America educates teachers, unknowningly, to keep students and an entire population behind a wall. Through a system called stratification and the hidden curriculum, students learn of their expected place in society, and with the support system of social work, they are encouraged to accept the preordained. Religion steps in and in some faiths encourages the idea that poverty is the will of God, and to suffer in poverty is the puerest testimony of a willingness to follow in Jesus foot steps to the cross. The combination of religion and education provides the building blocks for the wall keeping the prisoners on the other side and out of the work track to wealth.

The Allegory may be related to Plato’s Theory of Forms, according to which the “Forms” (or “Ideas“), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. Only knowledge of the Forms constitutes real knowledge.[1] In addition, the Allegory of the Cave is an attempt to explain the philosopher’s place in society: to attempt to enlighten the “prisoners.”

Plato’s Phaedo contains similar imagery to that of the Allegory of the Cave; a philosopher recognizes that before philosophy, his soul was “a veritable prisoner fast bound within his body… and that instead of investigating reality by itself and in itself it is compelled to peer through the bars of its prison.”[2]

In Plato‘s fictional dialogue, Socrates begins by describing a scenario in which what people take to be real would in fact be an illusion. He asks Glaucon to imagine a cave inhabited by prisoners who have been chained and held immobile since childhood: not only are their legs (but not arms) held in place, but their necks are also fixed, so they are compelled to gaze at a wall in front of them. Behind the prisoners is an enormous fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway, along which people walk carrying things on their heads “including figures of men and animals made of wood, stone and other materials”. The prisoners cannot see the raised walkway or the people walking, but they watch the shadows cast by the men, not knowing they are shadows. There are also echoes off the wall from the noise produced from the walkway.

Socrates suggests the prisoners would take the shadows to be real things and the echoes to be real sounds created by the shadows, not just reflections of reality, since they are all they had ever seen or heard. They would praise as clever, whoever could best guess which shadow would come next, as someone who understood the nature of the world, and the whole of their society would depend on the shadows on the wall.

Socrates then supposes that a prisoner is freed and permitted to stand up. If someone were to show him the things that had cast the shadows, he would not recognize them for what they were and could not name them; he would believe the shadows on the wall to be more real than what he sees. It is at this point that the silent miracle of America demonstrates the hand of God. Through dedicated men of God, the poor are forced to deny the reality and perception and to change thoughts, goals and given mentors to walk beside them as they work their way out of impossible situations. During slavery it was the Quakers who stepped forth and walked another path and developed underground paths for those seeking freedom to travel. During the Civil Rights Revolutions is was the Jews and the Catholics who walked arm in arm with their brothers of color, fighting for the rights to justice. People have to have the courage to go into the caves and lead a blind man to freedom.

Socrates speaks to this issue when he says, “that the man was compelled to look at the fire: wouldn’t he be struck blind and try to turn his gaze back toward the shadows, as toward what he can see clearly and hold to be real? What if someone forcibly dragged such a man upward, out of the cave: wouldn’t the man be angry at the one doing this to him? And if dragged all the way out into the sunlight, wouldn’t he be distressed and unable to see ‘even one of the things now said to be true’ because he was blinded by the light?”

After some time on the surface, however, the freed prisoner would acclimate. He would see more and more things around him, until he could look upon the Sun. He would understand that the Sun is the “source of the seasons and the years, and is the steward of all things in the visible place, and is in a certain way the cause of all those things he and his companions had been seeing” (516b–c). (See also Plato’s metaphor of the Sun, which occurs near the end of The Republic, Book VI.)[3]

Return to the cave

Socrates next asks Glaucon to consider the condition of this man. “Wouldn’t he remember his first home, what passed for wisdom there, and his fellow prisoners, and consider himself happy and them pitiable? And wouldn’t he disdain whatever honors, praises, and prizes were awarded there to the ones who guessed best which shadows followed which? Moreover, were he to return there, wouldn’t he be rather bad at their game, no longer being accustomed to the darkness? Wouldn’t it be said of him that he went up and came back with his eyes corrupted, and that it’s not even worth trying to go up? And if they were somehow able to get their hands on and kill the man who attempts to release and lead them up, wouldn’t they kill him?” (517a) The prisoners, ignorant of the world behind them, would see the freed man with his corrupted eyes and be afraid of anything but what they already know. Philosophers analyzing the allegory argue that the prisoners would ironically find the freed man stupid due to the current state of his eyes and temporarily not being able to see the shadows which are the world to the prisoners.

Remarks on the allegory

Socrates remarks that this allegory can be taken with what was said before, namely the metaphor of the Sun, and the divided line. In particular, he likens

“the region revealed through sight”—the ordinary objects we see around us—”to the prison home, and the light of the fire in it to the power of the Sun. And in applying the going up and the seeing of what’s above to the soul’s journey to the intelligible place, you not mistake my expectation, since you desire to hear it. A god doubtless knows if it happens to be true. At all events, this is the way the phenomena look to me: in the region of the knowable the last thing to be seen, and that with considerable effort, is the idea of good; but once seen, it must be concluded that this is indeed the cause for all things of all that is right and beautiful—in the visible realm it gives birth to light and its sovereign; in the intelligible realm, itself sovereign, it provided truth and intelligence—and that the man who is going to act prudently in private or in public must see you it” (517b–c).

After “returning from divine contemplations to human evils”, a man

“is graceless and looks quite ridiculous when—with his sight still dim and before he has gotten sufficiently accustomed to the surrounding darkness—he is compelled in courtrooms or elsewhere to contend about the shadows of justice or the representations of which they are the shadows, and to dispute about the way these things are understood by men who have never seen justice itself?” (517d–e)





  1. ^ Watt, Stephen (1997), “Introduction: The Theory of Forms (Books 5–7)”, Plato: Republic, London: Wordsworth Editions, pp. pages xiv–xvi, ISBN1-85326-483-0 
  2. ^Elliott, R. K. (1967). “Socrates and Plato’s Cave”. Kant-Studien 58 (2): 138.
  3. ^ Plato, & Jowett, B. (1941). Plato’s The Republic. New York: The Modern Library. OCLC964319.
  4. ^ Griffith, Jeremy (2003). A Species In Denial. Sydney: WTM Publishing & Communications. p. 83. ISBN1-74129-000-7
  5. Plato: The Allegory of the Cave, from the Republic at The College of New Rochelle School of New Resources-Faculty  Professor Delores E. Harrison, Experience Learning and Identity (1978-2001)



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