Life Tip #15

Leave the cave and come to the light.

Many of us learned about Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” in high school or college. If you didn’t, I strongly suggest you look it up and read it in its entirety, because its lesson is as applicable today as ever.

It occurred to me that today’s young people, who are living through the lens of social media, and who view the world through the digital lens of their devices, are much like the prisoners in the Allegory of the Cave. Just as the prisoners saw nothing but images on the cave wall all their lives (the shadows) and believed they were seeing the world as it really is, today’s youth only see what the world is like through the images on their electronic devices. They think that what they see in front of their face every day is reality, when in fact it is a distorted reflection of reality (and I use the term “distorted” lightly). Our young people need to be dragged up the proverbial “rough and steep path” into the sunlight, to see reality and experience the world as it truly is.

Allan Blo­­­­­­om said in The Closing of the American Mind that “men cannot remain content with what is given them by their culture if they are to be fully human.” Bloom believes this is what Plato meant by his cave allegory.

If we continue to sit by passively and remain content with what our culture feeds us, then our reality will continue to shrink…to about the size of a smartphone. It is up to us individually and collectively to drag ourselves—and each other—out of the cave and into the sunlight.

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