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Plato was born 427 BC and died 347 BC During his studies Plato wrote the Dialogues which are a collection of Socrates teachings One of the parables included in the Dialogues is The Allegory of the Cave Plato illustrates his dualistic theory of reality at the beginning of Book VII of the Republic Socrates says as he introduces the allegory imagine mankind as living in an underground cave which has a wide entrance open to the light Deep inside are human beings facing the inside wall of the cave with their necks and legs chained so that they cannot move They have never seen the light of day or the sun outside the cave Behind the prisoners a fire burns and between the fire and prisoners there is a raised way on which a low wall has been built such as is used in puppet shows as a screen to conceal the people working the puppets Along the raised way people walk carrying all sorts of things which they hold so that they project above the wall-statues of men animals trees The prisoners facing the inside wall cannot see one another or the wall behind them on which the objects are being carried - all they can see are the shadows these objects cast on the wall of the cave The prisoners live all their lives seeing only shadows of reality and the voices they hear are only echoes from the wall But the prisoners cling to the familiar shadows and their passions and prejudices and if they were freed and able to turn around and see the realities which produce the shadows they would be blinded by the light of the fire And they would become angry and would prefer to regain their shadow world But if one of the prisoners were freed and turned around to see in the light of the fire the cave and his fellow prisoners and the roadway and
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