Plato's Allegory of the Cave - It's Importance in Today's World

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Plato's Allegory of the Cave - It's Importance in Today's World

Our society so values education that sociologists have recognized the problem of "over-education" (Hadjicostandi). Many people are spending years pursuing degrees which they simply do not need for the jobs they perform. It is therefore prudent for students to question whether pursuing a liberal education is really as important as our society believes. What is the point of a college education? Does it have any purpose beyond its material benefits. Are these benefits worth their cost? These are important questions that need answering. In the end, we may see that there is far more to this debate than simple accounting. Perhaps what makes education worth pursuing is that it
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Their captivity would distort their view of reality.

Plato further asks what would happen if some of these prisoners were suddenly released and led from the cave. They would become wise to the ways of the world and with time would be able to "contemplate [the sun] as he is" (251). They would realize that everything they had formerly loved was either a lie or insignificant, and they would realize just how little they knew during their imprisonment.

In the allegory, the sun represents truth, we are the prisoners, and the prison of the cave is all that we can perceive (Plato, 252). Plato says that so long as we are enthralled by what we can see and taste and touch, we will never be able to even consider abstract ideas like justice and love. If, however, we shake the bonds which our senses have placed upon us, we can arrive at a higher stage of enlightenment than we could have imagined possible during our imprisonment (Plato's Allegory of the Cave).

We should, at this point, pause to define some terms. Plato talks much about enlightenment, but what is this? It can be defined as the state in which an individual comprehends the truth about a particular subject. Whether or not one agrees with Plato that human beings possess the knowledge of all truth prior to birth, one must agree that by the time children reach the age at which
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