In Book VII of Plato’s Republic, Plato tells an allegory illustrating one’s obligation to spread truth and reality to make other lives better.
Plato tells the story of an underground cave that holds prisoners. The prisoners are chained far from the mouth of the cave, unable to move their heads or get up. Behind them lies a path to exit the cave and a fire. In front of the fire, figures are moving and performing various activities. Shadows and darkness are all that the prisoners see as real, and they are completely unaware of the world above.
However, once a prisoner breaks free, the situation changes. Free from his chains, the prisoner sees that there is a way to exit the cave. His initial steps into the sunlight are painful, as his eyes are forced to evaluate light when all he previously knew were darkness and shadows. Though his initial experience was harsh, the enlightened individual eventually adjusts to the sunlight and the true world above. Continue reading