Allegory of the Cave: A Visual Primer

By Gretchen Mullen, Skeptic Review

My recent review of Reasons to Believe, a new film by Ben Fama Jr., prompted me to refresh my understanding of “The Allegory of the Cave,” also known as “Plato’s Cave.” Fama opens Reasons to Believe with his own depiction of this famous parable, endowing the allegory with tremendous significance as a precursor to a most serious discussion on the nature of belief and its real world consequences, carried out by modern scholars Michael Shermer, Peter Boghossian, Caleb Lack, Jennifer Whitson and Chad Woodruff. (To read my full summary and review of “Reasons to Believe,” click here. http://skepticreview.com/2017/08/20/skeptic-review-f…m-by-ben-fama-jr/)

Neither Socrates nor Plato would want me to give you my interpretation of the allegory. That is for you decide on your own. I must say, however, that a few key concepts stood out to me:

Enlightened vs. Unenlightened                         Light vs. Shadows

Upper World vs. Underground Cave                 Reality vs. Illusion            

Do yourself a favor and please spend a few moments of your day on these three delightful renditions of “The Allegory of the Cave.” Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments in the section below, or just thank me for making your day.

DEPICTION ONE: The Cave: A Parable Told by Orson Welles (1975)

Full citation:  Welles, Orson, 1915-1985, Wismer, C. B, Wolff, Larry, Oden, Dick, Bosustow, Nick et al. The Cave : a parable told by Orson Welles. CRM/McGraw Hill Films, [Del Mar, Calif.], 1975.

DEPICTION TWO: The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato’s Allegory in Clay (2008)

Bullhead Entertainment presents the award-winning animation film featured in over 100 film festivals worldwide. This 3-minute film took first place in animation at the USA Film Festival Short Film and Video Competition.

DEPICTION THREE: Allegory of the Cave (2014)

The product of an Advance Placement Language Class,  high school students move the allegory into today’s modern world. This short film would be an ideal and relatable teaching tool targeted to young adults.

 

YouTube Channels We Love: Anthony Magnabosco

Anthony Magnabosco is a Street Epistemologist who converses with and interviews random strangers on the street to ask about their beliefs, such as faith, superstitions, and so much more.

Check out his YouTube channel at: 

https://www.youtube.com/user/magnabosco210

According to Magnabosco, “I initiate friendly conversations with people to see how they arrived at their deeply-held beliefs (e.g., Gods, karma, ghosts, politics, etc.), and then ask respectful questions to help them discover if the method(s) used are unreliable so that more reliable methods can be employed to maintain the belief and/or the level of confidence in the belief can be adjusted to be more in line with reality.”

Of particular interest are these playlists:

My Top Ten Talks

Street Epistemology Presentations

Relativism (“It’s true for me.”)

Street Epistemology Tutorials

(20,599 subscribers • 2,096,049 views  Joined Dec 25, 2011)

Skeptics We Love: Sam Harris

Photo courtesy www.samharris.org

Sam Harris is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. His books include The End of FaithLetter to a Christian NationThe Moral LandscapeFree WillLyingWaking Up, and Islam and the Future of Tolerance (with Maajid Nawaz). The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, meditation practice, human violence, rationality—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live. Harris is also the host of a popular podcast, Waking Up With Sam Harris.

Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

Our Favorite Quotes:

“Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, ‘atheism’ is a term that should not even exist. No one needs to identify himself as a ‘non-astrologer’ or a ‘non-alchemist.’ We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.”

“What I’m asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives.”

“I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs.”

Website:

https://www.samharris.org/