represent all individuals as souls trapped in a sensory world


represent individuals and organizations who construct knowledge


represents anything that keeps the individual from having the freedom to learn

the cave

represents the sensory or superficial world, in which individuals simply react to the information that is presented to them

the outside world

represents the higher level of understanding, where "forms" or truths are unchanging.

the teacher

represents those individuals who wish to enlighten others, and have the ability to compel learning.

the fire

a source of manufactured light. It represents manufactured information/beliefs. These may be true or untrue, but it is still passed on from others.


Represent the knowledge/beliefs we gain from others and accept as truths.

the rough ascent

Represents the process of letting go of old beliefs and beginning to accept new ones. It is a difficult process because we do not want to

the sun

Universal symbol of truth, knowledge, and/or goodness.

the moon

Represents "reflected" goodness/truth or knowledge. Just as the moon does not show the true form of objects, the goodness/truth/knowledge gained is not complete understanding.

the objects

to Plato, these represented the "forms"--the highest kinds of eternal truth--as revealed by the true source of goodness/truth/knowledge.


Greek philosopher who wrote the "Allegory of the Cave," in _The Republic_

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