Plato’s allegory of the cave is considered a good example of illustrating the way people think. It also explains the concepts of adapting people to different changes including things they don’t know or are not familiar with. Plato explained that some prisoners were living in a dark cave in their whole life and it’s isolated from the outer world. They are banded with shackles. They only saw some shadows of creatures such as animals and plants because of the fire lighten in the cave. It’s the only reality they saw. These shadows are controlled by some people who decide what they want to show. Suddenly, one of them was freed from shackles and for the first time, he walked out of the cave and discovered the fire that lighten things in the cave and saw the sun and it blinded him. Then, he realized that the power of enlightenment came from the sun. He also saw real animals and plants and understood that what he saw is a mere shadow not the reality of things. Then, he went back to the cave and tell his friends what he saw and that’s the shadow is a lie. They thought he’s crazy and they tried to stop him.
Day to day, we use this allegory in our daily life. Each symbol of it represents a significant part of human’s life. Starting with the cave, it refers to human’s life experience, environment and ignorance; what kind of information he would like to hear and what to ignore. Secondly, the shadows that are the mere reflections of the reality. Sometimes, we believe that something is true, but it turns out after a while it’s not such as thinking the earth is flat. Thirdly, the chains or the shackles that holds the prisoners. They control what the prisoners see; it’s kind of ignorance or close mindedness as we look into a specific direction and don’t see other views or opinions or the big picture. Forth, the people who decide what we see represents the politics or the media. For example, some Journals like Youm 7 or El-Watan provide the Egyptians with certain news and issues the President and his entourage would agree with. Fifth, the prisoners are the people who refuse to learn new things and hold on their beliefs and ignore anything that deviates them. Sixth, the sun light represents the reality they scape from; they were living in complete darkness.
Reflecting the allegory of cave into our life especially when using social media such as Facebook and Twitter is very essential. Humans by natural are social beings, however, after introducing the social media, they started to isolate themselves hours, days and even weeks in their houses. They become prisoners of these media that reduce human interactions and engagements. It also narrows our scope of thinking by dealing with the people who have the same mind or thinking who share the same things. Thus, we are not introduced to new ideas or minds. We are only constrained or limited with our circle of friends and relatives. People start to become blind or visually impaired; they prefer to stay in their caves unlike the people who spend much time in real world.
Moreover, they built a whole wrong story depending on the shadows they saw, making false beliefs on the world they imagined as these shadows doesn’t represent the reality. Same thing is applied for social media users; they don’t know how the real world look like, they only see reflections in their timeline or certain point of views which in turn built their life accordingly. They don’t want to free themselves and go out for the real world. Thus, social media imprison their minds in computers. They also fail to differ between the real objects and illusions such as fake news or facts. Also, the puppets control what they see same for the social media, News are directed toward a certain direction or viewed as a deviated point of view. We saw a lot of fallacies made without getting aware of them.
Thus, some of the implications of using the socials media are failing to deal with humans or challenges in real life and getting blinded when going out to the real world. In addition, social media users resist any changes and may not belief in other’s opinion. They only care about fake reality or ideal reality they live in the social media.
To sum up, Plato’s allegory of the cave reflects the effect of education and enlightenment and the lack of it in our society. Every aspect of the cave represents significant part in our modern life especially social media life that makes humans close minded.