Even though we are always caught up with our daily lives we can’t help but to stop for a moment to wonder, to look at the bigger picture and try to understand, is this real? Are we actually living in this miraculous place or is it just a dream? And though it could be annoying to have these thoughts, but sometimes it’s all we need, to believe that our existence is much greater than everything we are worrying about, and then we might have a good laugh at ourselves to see how silly we were to be upset at a very small issue.
And I will tell you about a myth that Plato had related to.
Imagine some people living in an underground cave. They sit with their backs to the mouth of the cave with their hands and feet bound in such a way that they can only look at the back wall of the cave. Behind them is a high wall, and behind that wall pass human-like creatures, holding up various figures above the top of the wall. Because there is a fire behind these figures, they cast flickering shadows on the back wall of the cave. So the only thing the cave dwellers can see is this shadow play. They have been sitting in this position since they were born, so they think these shadows are all there are.
Now imagine if one of them manages to free himself, the first thing comes to his mind would be, where did these shadows come from, until he turns around and see the real figures, he would be dazzled to see the sharp sunlight, he would be dazzled to see the clarity of the figures because he only saw the shadows on the wall, and if he gets our and climbs the wall to past the fire into the outside he would be even more dazzled, he would see the colors, he would see the flowers and animals, but still he would be asking himself, where did the flowers and animals come from.
Until he sees the sun floating on the sky, and realizes that the sun had gave live to the flowers and animals, just like the fire to the shadows on the wall.
And after the joyous cave dweller sees the beauty of the outside and the delight of his freedom, he remembers the others cave dwellers, so he goes back trying to convince them that what they are seeing on the wall is just a shadow, reflections of the real world outside, but they don’t believe him, they were convinced that what they see on the cave wall is all there is, and finally they killed him.
In fact the same thing happened to Socrates who was killed too by the “cave dwellers” who didn’t believe in his philosophical ideas.
Plato related in this myth to the relationship between the darkness of the cave and the real world outside, didn’t mean that the natural world is dark, but it is dark comparing to the clarity of ideas, for a picture of a landscape is not dark but it’s just a picture.
That myth says a lot, much more than all I could say, but it helps me look at the world from a greater sight, helps see further than all my daily problems, to concentrate more on the miracle that I am in this place; yes my existence itself is a miracle that should not be neglected, I must turn around and free myself just like the cave dweller, to see what’s behind the shadows, and enjoy the clarity of the real world.