Facebook as Plato’s Cave

Forgive me if I butcher this badly, I have not read the Republic in 30 years. Since this analogy seems so obvious, I am sure that I am not the first to make the link.

Is Plato even part of our shared heritage at this point? Is our education so debased that one would need to explain it before referring to it? These are the questions this soon-to-be 55 year old wonders. Since I don’t have the answers at hand, here is the Wikipedia entry.

I find Facebook and Facebook culture to be abhorrent. I deleted my Facebook account in 2011 and only created a new one this past January.

I am constantly surprised by the fact that some people seem to think the grotesque shadows of the real world that are filtered and reflected by Facebook are actually representative of the real world. Plato thought that folks would only live in the cave if they were prisoners and some entity had shackled them there. In reality, many folks purposely shackle themselves inside this virtual cave.

I was part of a Facebook flareup last night, and it struck me…all this person knows is what she reads on Facebook. She has mistaken the fantastical shadows for reality. Now I feel like the escaped prisoner, whose eyes have adjusted to the daylight, and has returned to the cave to inform his fellow prisoners of the real life outside the cave. I don’t remember if the shackled prisoners killed the one who returned with tales of the real world or only wanted to.

But I get it. The real world is bright and painful, it hurts after being shackled in the cave so long. However, crawl out of the cave we must, or spend our lives looking at the grotesque reflections and mistaking them for the real life that is taking place outside.