Monday, April 28, 2008

"Plato's Allegory of the Cave"

Philosophy is very interesting, but it is also very insignificant.
All Philosophers do is break down questions and arguments resulting only in confusion. A point is trying to be made but then questions are asked, definitions are skewed and nothing is ever concluded. The end conclusion of why Justice or Faith or the Priesthood is real is because it is "good". But what is Good?

Plato came up with a very interesting allegory. The Allegory of the Cave.
Inside a cave are people. They are chained to the ground and it has been this way their entire lives. Behind these people is a high rock wall. The chained people cannot turn their heads to see what is behind them, so their only vision is towards the stone wall in front of them.
On the other side of this stone wall is more people. These people walk back and forth holding statues that reach up over the wall, casting their shadows upon the wall that the chained people can see. The chained people's reality is based upon these shadows and the voices they hear as the shadows pass. As far as they know, this is what's real. The voices and sounds they hear as the people pass come from the shadows.
Beyond the statues is a fire which casts the light to cause the shadows.
Beyond this fire there is a staircase which leads to the outside world. Outside is the sun, the real horses and real trees, etc., etc.

We are in the cave chained to the floor. Our vision is limited to the shadows we see on the wall. The statues (what is in the world) make up these images of what we perceive as real. The fire is the sun.

Take a horse for instance. The shadow of a horse is what our minds have decided a horse is. We see pictures, watch movies, and read books about these animals and make up a reality in our minds about what these animals really are. The statue of the horse behind us is the reality of the horse on this world. The reality being experienced by those who own the horses, they know all the labor and hard work that goes into raising and training horses. They know what the animal is really like.

Beyond our world, though, is a much greater world. We only see shadows and statues, only mere representatives of what truly is. Like C.S. Lewis has said, "Christianity is a world that is a great sculptor's shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going around the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life."
Moses 3:5 says, "...For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth..."

So, yes, it is true. Plato is correct. There is something much greater, something beyond our comprehension, that is taking place. We are given only glimpses of what reality truly is.

So, we have these theories. We have these explanations of what the world is and why people do what they do. People need this. They need answers. People need to think and come to conclusions for themselves, not just give in to the world around them and base their beliefs upon their immediate surroundings. Each of us are so limited in this aspect. We need to experience, learn, and reason our way to belief.

But why is Philosophy, this concept of reality and wisdom, such an important subject? I understand that people need answers, but what is the purpose when you already know the answers to these philosophical questions? It all parallels almost perfectly with the gospel, but then the gospel takes it a few more steps. So why do we waste our time questioning and reasoning with things we already know? Isn't there something of much greater importance to ponder and to learn?
So many questions of man are answered in the doctrines and teachings of the gospel, so why would we waste our time reading about what man thinks of the issue when we could go straight to the source?
Other aspects of learning, like biology, chemistry, math, and english aren't doctrine and are important to learn. I'm not interested in many of those things, though. I like learning about philosophy and sociology, but a great majority of its content seems pointless.

I'm still sticking to it, though. I like the ideas and maybe if I dig deeper I'll discover things I didn't know before.

Or I'll just write my own theories.


Tyson Pyle said...

I liked everything but I don't get this part.

"But why is Philosophy, this concept of reality and wisdom, such an important subject? I understand that people need answers, but what is the purpose when you already know the answers to these philosophical questions?"

Are the "people" that you are talking about members or not? And if you understand that people need answers then it seems to me that they wouldn't know the answers to philosophical questions.

Brittany said...

The "people" are not members- they do need answers. But later in that paragraph i'm refering to members- the people who have the answers. They are the ones who would benefit more from studying something they don't know the answers to.

shannan said...

I think by learning Philopshy and going over what they teach provides us with the types of questions we shoudl idealistically be asking when we experience life rather then blindly stepping through it, it creates a sort of basis. Rational questions to ask when walking on the road of the living, rather then staying disillusioned; I found the problem with this is then, how do we know if that is a truth in itself?... (sorry I'm bored and having trouble decoding the Allegory of the cave so I'm doing some exploring, hence my random comment)