The Allegory of the Cave—also known as the Analogy of the Cave, Plato’s Cave, or the Parable of the Cave—is an allegory used by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work The Republic to illustrate “our nature in its education and want of education” (514a). It is written as a fictional dialogue between Plato’s teacher Socrates and Plato’s brother Glaucon at the beginning of Book VII (chapter IX in Robin Waterfield‘s translation) (514a–520a).
Plato lets Socrates describe a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Plato’s Socrates, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.
The Allegory is related to Plato’s Theory of Forms, according to which the “Forms” (or “Ideas“), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. Only knowledge of the Forms constitutes real knowledge. In addition, the Allegory of the Cave is an attempt to explain the philosopher’s place in society: to attempt to enlighten the “prisoners”.
November 23, 2011 by Dr. David Kyle Johnson, Ph.D. in Plato on Pop
I think that Inception is all a dream-from the beginning of the movie to the end. My last blog, and the first section of my latest book-Inception and Philosophy: Because It’s Never Just a Dream (published by Wiley/Blackwell)-presents this argument in detail. But the truth is we can’t tell for sure. Any clue or piece of evidence can be interpreted multiple ways, and there is no guarantee that the most charitable interpretation of the film is the right one.
However, there is something else we can’t tell for sure-whether or not we are dreaming…right now, this very moment.
This is a classic philosophical problem, first hinted at by Plato but most clearly articulated by Descartes. You may feel certain that you are not dreaming right now, but you have been just as certain that you are not dreaming while you have been dreaming! (We’ve all had that dream that we were so certain was real.) Thus we can’t use our own subjective feeling that we are not dreaming as evidence that we are not-but what else could settle it? Although many philosophers have tried to solve this problem, all have failed. One cannot be certain that one is not dreaming; in fact, it seems that one cannot even know.
But I think the more interesting problem is this: how should we deal with this uncertainty? The fact that you can’t know that you are not dreaming-that the world around you may not be real-creates a certain kind of angst. Perhaps you feel it right now. How should you deal with that angst?
You could choose to dismiss the problem, convincing yourself that you don’t care whether you are dreaming. “What does it matter anyway? Dreams are still experiences, and all that matters is experience, right?” This is why Mal locked away her totem, the top, in the safe of her subconscious-so she would forget that Limbo was actually a dream. Limbo was her perfect world; why would she want to know it wasn’t real? But there is something pitiful about someone who is fooled into believing something false, like the prisoners in Plato’s cave staring at the wall thinking the shadows are real. There is something intrinsically valuable about having true belief, and knowing the way the world is. So you should care whether or not you are dreaming.
How else might one deal with this angst? The philosopher David Hume dealt with the angst in the same way that Cobb does at the end of the film. Hume realized that when he engaged in the everyday activities he enjoyed-for Hume, it was a game of backgammon, a conversation, and being “merry” with his friends-he forgot all about his skeptical worries; and when he returned to those worries they seemed so cold, strained and ridiculous that his angst was gone. Likewise, a the end of the film, worried that he is still dreaming, Cobb spins his top-only to be distracted by his children and leave his top behind. His children divert him and he is no longer worried. Like Hume, the important matters of everyday life have relieved his angst. As Christopher Nolan himself said, “”The important thing is that Cobb’s not looking at the top. He doesn’t care.” One might assume that after spending time with his kids, Cobb’s worry that he is dreaming will seem silly to him.
But for those of us who really are philosophically minded, we can’t help but return to the problem now and again and feel that angst return. As Katherine Tullman suggests in the fifth chapter of my book, it may be that the only way one can truly alleviate that angst it to take “a leap of faith”-that is, to assume without proof or evidence that one is not dreaming and the world is real. Such leaps of faith are common in Inception, and the phrase is used many times. Cobb, for example, takes a leap of faith when he believes that Satio can deliver on his promise to have the charges against Cobb dropped. But leaps of faith can’t always be good-after all, Mal took one right out of a window.
So when is a leap of faith a good thing, and when is it not? It is so that question I will turn next.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – A U.S.-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago in mud flats in southern Spain.
“This is the power of tsunamis,” head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.
“It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that’s pretty much what we’re talking about,” said Freund, a University of Hartford professor who led an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis.
To solve the age-old mystery, the team used a satellite photo of a suspected submerged city to find the site just north of Cadiz, Spain.
There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multi-ringed dominion known as Atlantis.
The team of archeologists and geologists in 2009 and 2010 used a combination of deep-ground radar, digital mapping and underwater technology to survey the site.
Freund’s discovery in central Spain of a strange series of “memorial cities,” built in Atlantis’s image by its refugees after the city’s likely destruction by a tsunami, gave researchers added proof and confidence, he said.
Atlantis residents who did not perish in the tsunami fled inland and built new cities there, he added.
The team’s findings will be unveiled on Sunday in Finding Atlantis, a new National Geographic Channel special.
While it is hard to know with certainty that the site in Spain in Atlantis, Freund said the “twist” of finding the memorial cities makes him confident Atlantis was buried in the mud flats on Spain’s southern coast.
“We found something that no one else has ever seen before, which gives it a layer of credibility, especially for archaeology, that makes a lot more sense,” Freund said.
Greek philosopher Plato wrote about Atlantis about 2,600 years ago, describing it as “an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Hercules,” as the Straits of Gibraltar were known in antiquity. Using Plato’s detailed account of Atlantis as a map, searches have focused on the Mediterranean and Atlantic as the best possible sites for the city.
Tsunamis in the region have been documented for centuries, Freund says. One of the largest was a reported 10-storey tidal wave that slammed Lisbon in November 1755.
Debate about whether Atlantis truly existed has lasted for thousands of years. Plato’s “dialogues” from around 360 B.C. are the only known historical sources of information about the iconic city. Plato said the island he called Atlantis “in a single day and night … disappeared into the depths of the sea.”
Experts plan further excavations are planned at the site where they believe Atlantis is located and at the mysterious “cities” in central Spain about 240 kilometres away to more closely study geological formations and to date artifacts.
Could it be the ancient lost city of Atlantis?
That’s what Bernie Bamford, a British aeronautical engineer, wondered after he spotted an unusual pattern of rectangles on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, The Telegraph newspaper reports. About the size of Connecticut, the pattern looks an awful lot like an aerial grid map of a city.
Check the site out on Google Maps. Here’s an excerpt from The Telegraph report:
Atlantis experts said that the unexplained grid is located at one of the possible sites of the legendary island, which was described by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. According to his account, the city sank beneath the ocean after its residents made a failed effort to conquer Athens around 9000 B.C.
Dr Charles Orser, curator of historical archaeology at New York State University told The Sun that the find was fascinating and warranted further inspection.
OK, forget what you all know about the old question: Where do we come from ?
What if we are the result of genetic engineering done to us by aliens from another world. Colonizers. Open your mind and think about it. Watch the short video by Zacharia Sitchin. Think for yourself. Makes a strong argument about that possibility. Everything else makes sense when you view it from that angle.
“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown…”
- 8 Conspiracy Theories That Make the Reptilians Seem Normal (popcrunch.com)
- Ancient Civilizations and Ufos (socyberty.com)
- United Nations Appoints Head of Outer Space Affairs (musicians4freedom.com)