"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein
The Key Synopsis:
This is a Symbolic Interpretation of a centuries old story to illustrate how Perspective & Perceptions have great influence on your reality. Learn how you come to learn things. Article list 5 quotes to trigger the question, “Will you birth your personal power?”
Illusion quotes cause quite a stir from some who maybe in the midst of challenges who may respond, “Really???!! Try being in my shoes!” I know from personal experience. Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” (found in Book 7, “The Republic” written between 380 and 360 B.C.) gives readers insight into perspective, perceptions, and the shadows that cast illusions. He uses this story as a metaphor to teach his students that as you allow your mind to be open to new ideas, your world expands. Thereby seeing the bigger picture gives way to better understanding and opportunities.
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave: (Condensed Version)
There is a cave that has a group of people imprisoned since birth. They are shackled, and the chains restricts their necks and legs as they are forced to face a wall. Behind the prisoners back is a fire and further back is the opening of the cave. People and animals who live outside the cave, will occasionally pass by the opening of the cave which cast shadows on the wall. These shadows construct the prisoner’s reality. Not knowing any other life that exists, the prisoners construct a guessing game of what type of shadow would appear next.
One of the prisoners breaks free and leaves the cave. At first, he is blinded by the sun and apprehensive about the new world. He soon becomes adjusted to the light. As he walks in the daylight, he sees a shadow and notices it is attached to him. It is his shadow! He continues to explore and be amazed by what he sees. He realizes the world is a much bigger place. He goes back to the cave to try to rescue the other prisoners, but they refuse. They think him mad and get angry. He could not convince them of what he had seen. He also could no longer participate in their shadow games.
Wikipedia Commons; published in the U.S. before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.
The story’s symbolism demonstrates the powerful influence perspective has on people’s lives. It must have been challenging for Plato back in the B.C. era, to explain the mysterious complexities of the human psyche. As this story continues to be dissected by students and professors all around the world, here are my interpretations:
Key#1 “All is an Illusion”, Buddha
- The cave represents your unconscious and the prisoners represents your psyche. It also represents the environment and conditions you were born into: your body, your family, socio-economic conditions, etc.…
- The chains represent your limitations: any physical/cognitive disabilities, mindset and values that have been taught and nurtured by your tribe. You initially trust what you see, feel, hear, and think from what the tribe has taught you to believe. They help form your thinking and your perceptions. How you are positioned since childhood gives you a perspective of what you see.
- The Shadows are parts of psyche that are unknown to you. Since you don’t know the source of your shadows, you come up with guessing games to figure out what they are. Shedding a light on your shadows will break the illusion of our fears. You may realize the very things that cast the shadows are not so scary after all.
Key #2 “There are more important things in Life than winning or losing a game”, Lionel Messi
- Breaking free – there are times in your life, where you question your family’s teachings, beliefs. You break free to explore. For those parents who have teenagers, know this is just part of their DNA, to challenge. So, don’t take it personally.
- Blinding – It may be painful initially to see another perspective but by remaining open, you become accustom to the new ideas others give.
- Sunlight – You find the new ideas offer you more freedom and choice.
- Return to the cave – You desire to go back to inform your tribe, to share what you have learned so they too can be free from chains that constrains them.
Key #3: “We do not have a fear of the unknown. What we fear is giving up the known.” Anthony de Mello
- Fear & Anger from other prisoners – There will be times you desire change, but you are afraid. The risk of losing everything you have always known threatens your survival. Your tribe will challenge you if you go outside their norms and you will hear them say, “Who you think you are? You’re not the same person I knew? Why are you doing this to us?
- Fear of Survival leads us to close our mind to new ideas. Your tribe is also afraid and maybe close minded and try to convince you not to change. Do you submit to the wishes of your family, friends, and society? Or, do you stay true to your new-found beliefs?
- Prisoners who refuse to leave – Represents parts of yourself where faith in the known offers more security that you prefer to stay safe inside the cave. Even if it means losing your freedom, fear is so strong, it may stop you from leaving behind things you once believed.
- Opportunities are missed when you do not challenge yourself and take the risk.
Key#4: “Seeing the bigger picture opens your eyes to what is the truth”, Wadada Leo Smith
- When you discover a new way of thinking, you no longer wish to return to your old patterns that limit you.
- Do you have the courage to birth your own personal power different from your tribe’s beliefs? There’s more to life and you no longer wish to play the same games and carry the old beliefs that have kept you limited and restrained.
- Refusing to have faith, to take risks, to see the bigger picture, will limit your ability to take advantage of what the world has to offer.
- Keep your hearts and mind open.
Key#5: There is a powerful need for symbolism, and that means the architecture must have something that appeals to the human heart. – Kenzo Tange
- Symbolism offers a way into the door of complex ideas. Plato understood this, Jesus, Buddha, and yes even you. Whenever you describe something to someone and you reach a point when a thought sits on the tip of your tongue and you say, “it’s like…”
- Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a symbolic story of “how you have come to know things.” In the midst of challenges, the beliefs taught to you from your tribe, social or economic positioning (perspective) influences your perceptions.
- This symbolic talk attempts to connect the mind and heart in order for the world to make sense and then convey the meaning to others.
The Allegory of the Cave connects the mind and heart in this way:
- Are you willing to go outside the cave, birth your personal understanding and power that maybe in contrast with your tribe and known throughout your life?
- Are you willing to explore the shadows that seem frightening?
- When you do venture out of the cave, you may find that those things that frighten you maybe just a mere illusion you can overcome.
- There’s a certain death to letting go of the values and beliefs you have always held to be true. Knowing this, may just make you more compassionate and patient with others.
—— About Remy Nirschl:
Remy is a writer, a mother to two wonderful souls, and a soul companion to her husband of nearly 25 years. Propelled into the autism journey in 2004 with the diagnosis of her son, this lead Remy to journey within as she experienced great losses and challenges. Trained in Caroline Myss “Sacred Contract”, this modality has given her the tools for clarity and empowerment. Remy is called into service as an Archetypal Consultant mentoring individuals in their soul journey.
Want to learn more about your other Archetypal Patterns? Read more….