What the Allegory Implies for People Living in a World of Senses
The Allegory of the Cave implies that if we rely on our perceptions to know the truth about existence then we will know very little about it. The sense are unreliable and their perceptions imperfect because perceptions are only how we as individuals view things and not how they truly are. People are like the figures in the cave because they believe the things they see are how they truly are, much the way we believe the things we perceive to be the truth. The cave is like the world we live in because the things we see only resemble their true forms, much they way the shadows on the wall were only resemblances of their physical form.
We can only know what is true when we know what is importance to us beyond what our senses perceive. We can not live ethically if we do not understand this. The virtues of the soul are akin to bodily qualities however we can not rely
Opinion gives way to knowledge through reasoning. on these qualities for the truth, we must only understand their implications. We perceive that the things we see are actually what they are, however what we perceive to be true is not how things truly exist and what we see, much like the shadows, are not how things truly are. Through his allegory of leaving the cave and going back into it he asserts that if we can see things from two different perspectives that we can have a little better understanding of things. Stepping out of the cave and seeing the sun represents enlightenment; the sun sheds like on the previous beliefs of the cave dwellers and opens them to a better understanding. The world we live in is like the cave because the shadows represent the objects we perceive to be true in our world. The shadows on the cave wall change continually and are of little worth, but the reality out side the cave never changes and that makes it important. This is how leaving the cave and reentering it is a metaphor for how we can better ourselves through understanding. Plato implies that reality is like sitting in a cave with our back to the light. We can describe the shadows we see on the wall, but we never turn our heads around to see where the light comes from. People today are like the people of the cave because we are chained by our senses to what we perceive to be the true. The people see the shadows of, for example, a jar, and believe that the shadow is actually the jar and what the jar actually looks like is the shadow. The darkness is a metaphor for our eyes not being able to see in the dark how things physically are because sight is a sense that we can not rely on to see the truth even in the light. Through the reasoning of this statement we can assess that our senses (opinions or perceptions) give way to understanding (knowledge) through their implications, or in other words, by our reasoning of their implications.