The Theory of Dimensions in Platos the Allegory of the Cave

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The theory of Dimensions In Platos The Allegory of the Cave, allows a person to realize that which they already know. The situation in the cave is dark and gloomy, a place no one would ever want to go.

However, the reality is that some people are at a point in their lives where that is where they are, in their own self-made cave. The people that are in Platos cave, the prisoners, have always been there. Their legs and necks are chained and they cannot move. They cannot even turn their necks or bodies to look around them. The cave is very dark, but there is a fire burning in the distance behind them.

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There is a wall in front of them and there are men, who are frequently carrying tools and various other objects behind them. This creates different shaped shadows on the wall for the prisoners to view. All that they have seen or ever known is what is in front of them, a two-dimensional world. A two-dimensional world would represent people that only saw what was in front of them. Plato said to Glaucon, To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.

One cannot fathom living in such a state where everything is so intangible. Some people today, like the prisoners know nothing but what is in front of them. They have a warped perception of reality. If a person only sees and accepts what is in front of them, they too are living in a two-dimensional world. The shadows, to the prisoners are reality because it is all that they have ever known. They dont know that what they see is distorted; only a reflection of what is real.

One example that Plato might use if he were alive today would be sitting in a movie theater. The projector would be the fire. The movie showing would be the shadows reflected on the wall. The viewers are the prisoners. The shadows on the wall can be compared to movies because they are not reality, but a twisted representation of it. If the viewer (prisoner) chooses to accept what is in front of them as reality, then they are in a sense, choosing to live in a two-dimensional world.

A person would have to believe that there is more to life than what is in front of them in order to change their situation and move into a three-dimensional world. In a three-dimensional world people are able to interact with one another and use their senses. One would accept and be able to understand a new reality. For example, if Platos prisoners were released, they would naturally turn around and look behind them, or walk towards the fire, it is simply human nature.

Even though their natural curiosity would cause them to look around them and explore what they have not known, their new reality would be hard for them to accept. Naturally, the prisoners would be frightened and hesitant, but in order for them to move into the new world, they would have to confront their fears and escape from the cave to find a new truth. Once they seek the knowledge and good things in life that make a person happy, they will be living in a three-dimensional world. Plato thought, My opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right.In order for one to live in a three dimensional world, they could not sit back and choose to accept what is in front of them as reality.

A person that lives in a two-dimensional world is not truly happy. They have not sought out knowledge or searched for true happiness. For the prisoners trapped in the cave to not ever dream or imagine other realities is showing that they accept where they are in life. For a person to live in a three dimensional world, one must search for better things in life and simple pleasures and break free from their two-dimensional world. Having the knowledge of a three-dimensional world, one cannot rule out the possibility of a new, even higher plain of reality. Many people are in a constant search for truth.They believe in and search for a light to lead them into the next reality.

It is very possible that a person can be released into a new plain of reality. No one knows for sure if a higher plain even exists or if the world today is the only reality, just like the prisoners in the cave. They thought the shadows were real until they were exposed to something that proved to them that they were not living in reality. It is possible then, that Plato is accurate in stating that the world today is not reality. It will take a new reality to prove that the third dimension is not real. Perhaps all of the realities that people face today such as; love, hate, joy and sorrow, are just shadows on the wall.

It is inevitable that most people would accept the idea of seeking and discovering a higher truth. One must seek the truth and ultimate good in order to advance into another level. It is self evident that each of us controls our own destiny. One must want to discover new ideas and strive for an ultimate truth to escape the limitations of the cave.


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The Theory of Dimensions in Platos the Allegory of the Cave. (2019, Jan 20). Retrieved from

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