Besides the shadows that look back at the shadow of me, there is also the curious problem of liberation. I have not read enough Plato to understand what he means by breaking the chains and looking at real objects. In the story, the guy just 'does' it because he wants to. I imagine Plato would describe it as first of all thinking deeply about the shadows, then about the chains, then about how the chains and the shadows work until you 'think your way out' of the chains. That seems vague. It also seems to present, again, a very individualistic idea of mind. Plato probably has Socrates in mind as the liberating force who is met with violence, or perhaps himself. But I would suggest (and I think Socrates would agree) that the idea of the lone genius is a myth. Every great thinker took what was handed on to her and built upon it. Liberation from a world of mere shadows, if it happens at all, happens because the philosopher works with the people around her, including her teachers and influencers, her students, her society, her place in the natural world... so the idea she just 'happens' to break her chains and be free to see the really real is a major simplification at the very crux of the problem Plato presents with the cave analogy. Thanks, Plato.
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.