Shadows in the Cave

We are in prison. We are in the cave.

Imagine when you were a newborn baby. What did you see? There was a glass of water in front of you, yet you didn’t know what it was. It could be something shining and transparent. But even the meaning of these words was not in your knowledge.

Your mother and father were gently smiling at you. You were so happy and felt so safe, but you didn’t know the meaning of feeling safe. You just sensed it nonverbally. You put your finger in your mouth, but you didn’t understand this finger was part of your body, different from your toy.

You have not established a sense of self yet. You don’t know who you are. Moreover, even you don’t think of such a self conscious question like you don’t know who you are, in the first place. You are perfectly spontaneous.

Gradually but surely, however, all those non-dual phenomena around you are being divided into the grid of perceptions through the meshwork of meanings associated with audio-visual symbols. You have started recognizing a glimpse of the simple form of knowledge. You would see the world around you in which you are part of it and yet separate from it. Your self-consciousness is born.

In reality, however, we are still in prison. Using Plato’s allegory, we are still in the cave, seeing the shadows reflected by the light on the wall. Recognizing such imprisonment in the cave means that we know we don’t know anything.

The truth is that we are not so different from a newborn baby, as far as the cave we stay is concerned. The only difference is that we have already put a lot of meanings to these shadows on the cave’s wall. The shadows in the cave now have many names. We are so proud of knowing a lot of these names. Knowing them a lot, we think we are knowledgeable and intelligent, while we are seeing the mere wall.

Again, we are still in the cave, just like a newborn baby. Is there any way to get out of this cave?

The first step is that we have to realize we are still in the cave. We have to admit the fact that we are not so different from a newborn baby. Or perhaps, our situation is worse as we believe all those labeled shadows are the whole world, the entire universe, even God.

God is not the shadow on the surface of the cave’s wall. He is outside of the cave.

Image by Pexels

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