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Putting the Allegory of the Cave into my own words seems comparable to the Christian idea of using the lord's name in vain. First, I'd like to introduce a phenomenon I have observed throughout my life time. I call it soul resonance. Bear with me here. When two objects emit sympathetic vibrations, the sound or force multiplies. Example: Two tuning forks of the same frequency are struck upon each other and held a few feet apart. The vibration is much stronger. Something basic about each object recognizes a similar quality in the other, and amplifies it.
As with so many other laws of science, this law applies to many other phenomena. I believe this is what people feel when they first hear the Allegory of the Cave . . . soul resonance. Somehow, something deep inside tells them that here we have found a singular truth. The Allegory, taken as the story of one man, narrates his life from ignorance to enlightenment. He sits within a cave, facing away from a blazing fire. He stares at the wall opposite him, watching pretty shadow puppets. He listens to the exotic, wonderful and large words whispered in his ears by the puppeteers. He would naturally turn around or perhaps even stand, but chains bind him to the ground, and the puppeteers have servants who hold his head in place. One day, a situation arises where he finds that the chains are broken, and he stands. This is against the will of the servants, but they have no physical power over him, if he does not allow it. He turns round and sees the fire and the puppeteers and then he realizes that all has been lies. He is not what they have told him. He does not feel what they have said he does. The fire blinds him. The puppeteers, seeing they have lost another to knowledge, quickly get rid of him by pushing him into the dark cave that looms off to the side, hoping for his demise. The man is lost. He has gone from darkness to light to darkness once again. Something within him tells him to climb, and he does, scrabbling. He cuts himself many times and many times he almost falls to his demise on the rocky ground below. He pauses often. Until there comes a time when he sees a distant light at the exit/entrance to the cave. When he sees this light, he is not sure whether this is yet another shadow puppet on the wall, but it is upward and that is where he must go. When he comes out into the bright sunlight, he cannot see, the brightness of the sun alone has stricken him temporarily blind. He stumbles about, closing his eyes for periods of time and then reopening them, adjusting himself to the light. And one day, he stares at the sun without fail, and knows.
Let's start at the beginning. He is in the cave. He is in the darkness of his own ignorance. Even the light behind him is a false representation of the glorious sun outside. People have assaulted him with their falsehoods, telling him what God is, what Ideals are and what his morals should be. These are the shadows on the wall, a terrestrial God, money, Law, etc. When he was young he may have questioned these ideas, but if you say something enough to someone, they will come to believe it. The man built his own chains, fashioned them from a forge in his own soul, and soaked them in a barrel of his ignorance. He learned resignation, and now he sits in an office all day, being unhappy, his blood-pressure rising. One day he snaps, for it is a drastic forces that rips the chains from the ground. He turns around for the first time since he was young, and cries. He now realizes the truth. He is not who they have told him he is. He realizes there are truths inside him that are not the truths of which they spoke. And he cries, also, for he sees that he and the puppeteers are the same. He weeps at the realization of his own self-imprisonment, his true nature, and burns himself upon the fire of his tortured soul, which drags him into the cave. In the darkness he feels things such as self-pity, depression, and a great deal of guilt. These are the times that try men's souls. There are three options, endeavor to climb, return to the wall or resign to self-destruction.
The rest is where it becomes hazy in my mind. How can I put into my own words what I have not discovered, what I have no understanding of? The man climbs, and he does feel pain in the aimless wandering, but the tunnel is a very subjective place. It can be either heaven or hell, depending on the mind of the man. Hope waxes and wanes and the first view of the light is a critical point in his journey. Through all the lies and false faces of God, how can one recognize the truth when they see it with their own eyes (own minds). For me, soul resonance is the key. I listen to all the conceptions of God, keep an open mind and remember what resonates. Most of the time, it seems I am merely whittling away using what I know God is not. I fear, of course that when I finish whittling, there will be nothing left, but the Truth is of highest priority.
Plato divides everything into two worlds, and each of these two worlds into two subsections. The lowest section is the World of Images. If I tell you that money will bring you happiness and you decide to believe what I have said with no previous knowledge of either happiness or money, you have been exposed to the lowest World. Up one level is the World of Objects. If I give you some money, you can touch it, fold it, eat it, whatever. You learn that you can buy things with this money or you can deposit it in a bank. You have experienced the Physical world. In the World of Lower Forms, the next higher world, we have archetypal molds for all these physical objects. There is a mold for the ideal human, a human that has ALL characteristics. At the same moment he/she has blue eyes, brown eyes, green eyes, etc. The model has all forms of eyes imaginable, all types of hair imaginable, etc. This world is a world of perfection, filled with perfect triangles, perfect time, etc. In this world an equilateral triangle has three sides, all equal, and three angles, all exactly 60 degrees. It is within this realm we delve while doing mathematical calculations. The highest realm is the World of the Higher Forms. A realm of Absolute Truth, where there are no interpretations, only complete Forms which the mind can only grasp in its full complexity. The worlds together form a logical outline displaying levels of truth from lowest opinion to highest form. The two lowest levels are usually occupied by common man. While working with mathematics, one can venture into the third level. And only when we can stare directly into the sun with our archetypal eyes can we conceive of the highest world.
From a spiritual standpoint, the Allegory of the Cave is a narrative of one man's journey to the light. He exists in a state of Becoming (the lowest two levels of truth) and proceeds toward the ultimate Truth and Enlightenment, much like The Buddha. From a political standpoint, it is an outline of a society's transformation to perfection. A tale of a society's realization of the falsehoods absorbed within it. It is a place where every person experiences true freedom and where the Good rule, where the Low is converted from animal to Soul.
The purpose of the Allegory of the Cave, I believe, is twofold. To help make people aware of the fact that they live within those lower levels of truth, and that there are higher truths. And also to help the ones who are lonely, dirty, almost broken. These lost ones who have just begun their journey and are losing hope, a reminder that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
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