So the first thing I notice about Plato's cave analogy is that he sees objects as shadows, yet he presents people as... people who are chained up or not chained up. It seems a major oversimplification to me. Because among all the objects that I perceive so poorly are persons - the bodily manifestation of other minds. When I see kitchen table as the shadow of 'form' of table and kitchen chair as the shadow of 'form' of chair, I also see the body of my wife. Is she the shadow of the 'form' of wife? I think that's a stupid idea, because then every person outside of myself is a shadow of some deeper reality tied to their role or function. Who they are through expression of their bodily acts is not actually who they are, but their true identity is some 'form' of who they are. So, let me get this straight, how does the unique character of every human person have, in addition, a deeper, truer form that makes their personality virtually nonexistent by comparison? And where does that leave me? Is my real reality some object hidden behind myself, am I just a shadow of who I really am? So a major problem I have with Plato's cave is the unexplored idea that some of the shadows we see on cave walls are actually looking back at us, not to mention the corporal reality of our own bodies experienced as shadow. Plato reduces interpersonal relationships as squabbling over the nature of shadows and beating on each other, but at least in the basic narrative, the truth that we live amongst shadows, as shadows, does not seem to be satisfactorily resolved. His is very much the 'independent' mind that liberates itself through true thinking - and the definition of 'true thinking' just happens to be exactly the way Plato thinks. Now, I don't want to bash or deconstruct the fact that Plato's thinking is significantly robust, but I am going to point out this limit of individual perspective that his historical context has built into the way he thinks.
Ryan LeBlanc, B.A., B.Ed., M.A, is a career classroom teacher, learning leader, and workshop facilitator. Now, his cutting-edge educational methods and years of practical experience with thousands of learners are available through his comprehensive online courses.