In Plato’s allegory of the Cave, he describes a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all of their lives. A big fire burns behind them as they face a blank wall. All they’ve ever seen are the shadows projected on the wall by the thing that passes in front of the fire behind them. They begin to ascribe forms to these shadows, using language to identify their world. The shadows are the only perspective they have. Therefore, it becomes the only thing in which they can base their own reality. That is until one of them finds his way to the outside world where he sees the actual objects that produced the shadows. He tries to tell the people in the cave of his discovery, but they don’t believe him. The one who escapes has discovered this great knowledge that goes beyond the cave. Unfortunately, from an unknown limited perspective…the others foolishly resist and ignore him believing they know all there is to know. (This is my own synopses of “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.”)
This allegory blew my mind as I read it thinking about what a great example it is of how we let fear keep us from going beyond the boundaries of our own limited knowing. Our very own intuitive voice tries to get our attention by saying, “really!” Is that all you want to know about the things you’ve come to believe? Just like the man in the allegory who escaped his chained existence there is a freedom that comes when we allow ourselves to step beyond the unknown. It is there that we find the endless things yet to be discovered. I hope I don’t ever get to the point where I think I’ve learned all there is to know. What a great way to end our day, if we could add to our nightly prayers, and gratitude list, one new thing we learned that day. I think I’ll step outside my cave, and take the challenge. How about you?