Allegory of the Cave

I don’t know about you, but when I was in highschool my Literature teacher made us read Plato’s Allegory of the cave. From that moment on The Allegory became a symbol for the way that I saw life. It bled through every belief and experience I had. Still, to this day, it is what pushes me to go farther and be better at what I do.

Im guessing if you haven’t read it this can just sound like me rambling so I’ll give you a short summary. Picture that there is a cave, and in the direction of the wall is a line of people sitting in shackles. All they can see is the darkness of the wall in front of them, and have become stiff from being forced to sit in that position for so long. Behind them is a fire, the fire casts different shadows on the wall and entertains the people. Yet all they’ve ever seen are these 2D pictures.

Then imagine there’s that one person who dares to believe that there has to be more out there than 2D shadows on the wall. As he tries to turn his neck he realises the pain in doing so after sitting still in the same position all his life. Yet curiosity gets the upper hand and he turns his head. Completely shocked at what he sees, there is more to the cave than a wall with shadows. Having his curiosity spiked, he decides to move his body instead of just his head. More pain follows but so does more wonder and more curiosity as he begins to see things he has never seen before.

Eventually he is loose, and able to move. He decides to keep journeying farther and start climbing out of the cave. Yet this is painful, he isn’t used to his body moving and having to use his strength. After a bit the doubts start coming in that maybe it had been better if he had just stayed seated. If he had been content and kept looking at the wall, he wouldn’t be in this pain right now. Yet he also knows, he can never go back to sitting in front of the wall. He will never be able to go back to that position and be content, because he never went after all that could be out there. His curiosity had been triggered too much to ever go back to the way that things were. So, after the internal struggles and the physical battle he decides to keep climbing.

This is exactly what life is to me. This is my answer when people ask me if I am happy about my status as a Third Culture Kid. It’s what pops in my mind when I want to quit everything and just settle. It’s the nagging thought that forces me to get out of bed and get my shit together, because I know that I’ve tasted bits and pieces of who I want to be. I know I’ll never be happy with myself if I let all that slide because it’s more comforting to stay in bed or at home or whatever your safe area is.

This is the reason that I have to keep going. There is so much wisdom that you can get from reading Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. You have to respect the process, growth is painful but it’s what leads you to better things. You may not see all the results or reasons why now but at one point you will understand and that’s what we need to fight for.

In everything, stay critical and stay curious.

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