From Dana's Guests

My Two Cents: Let There Be Light

Auguste Roc

"You will know the truth and --

the truth will set you free"

Gussie explains to me the other night that she is struggling with this new concept that has been introduced to her at school that day,

"It's going in one ear and out the other, Dad" -- turns out that they had been examining Plato in Mr. Everdale's class...

Both impressed by the fact that they are tackling Plato, and relieved that I actually have a thought or two to contribute to the conversation and to, perhaps, help her to get un-stuck, I gratefully seize this opportunity to share one of my favorite Plato allegories (a drastically abbreviated version):

Socrates is talking to one of his young followers. His name is Glaucon. He is sharing a fable with him to try and help him understand what it is like to be a philosopher and someone who loves wisdom.

Imagine a group of men chained up everyday in a cave since childhood. Imagine that the only thing that these men can see are the shadows on the cave wall in front of them; images cast by people and animals and things moving outside of the cave.

Isn't it understandable that these men, chained inside of this dark cave, would come to believe that the shadows they see are what is real, rather than mere representations of reality? And isn't it understandable that they would eventually conclude, logically, that all of the conversations and sounds that they heard were coming from these shadows, and to even eventually believe that they are in fact mere shadows too,?

Now imagine that one of the men finally breaks free from his chains and escapes to see what really exists outside of the cave. He sees what things actually look like and returns to the cave to share this revelation, but to the men still in bondage it appeared as if he had lost his mind.

"And what was Plato's point, Dad", Gussie asks impatiently.

The point is that:

Most people live in a world of relative ignorance. Our ignorance is all we know. And, it is not only something that we have grown comfortable with our ignorance but we actually like it and depend on it to survive.

It is difficult to pursue truth because the pursuit of truth is scary. When faced with truth, many of us would rather just go back to our old lives; the way things used to be.


if you are willing to muster up the courage to continuously seek truth, you will eventually reap its rewards. The more truth you get, the more you want.

Once you've experienced truth and the benefits that it brings, it's hard to go back to being ignorant and in the dark."

That's my two cent's (for whatever it's worth).

Auguste Roc

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