In the Plato’s parable of the cave, Plato talks about prisoners who were shackled in a cave with their necks tied in one position. He explains how difficult the conditions in the cave are so that the prisoners cannot even see the sunlight. In this case, the prisoners are not allowed to turn their heads, hence cannot see what is happening behind their backs.
Plato explains the presence of bright light that is visible during the day as a huge fire hanging from a fixed point. This is probably sunlight, which enters the cave via its opening. The prisoners perceive the light as fire since they are in a cocoon where they have no freedom to access the sunlight.
According to Plato (516a-516c), the prisoners observe the luggage carried by people passing along the low built wall ranging from carvings made of stone and wood with other artifacts made by people as puppets. This symbolizes the inability of these prisoners to see beyond the wall and compares it with the low curtain that puppeteers put as they demonstrate their puppets.
In his confessions, Augustine illustrates the imagination of Plato as related to God and the creation of humankind. In his thought, people do not really understand the demarcation between men and God. Plato (1909-14) describes the shadow cast by objects as a misery. Saint Augustine, on the other hand, tries to explain that objects created by God are always in doubt. Augustine wonders if the existence of these composite objects can be considered according to their doubtful character in science.
The perception to this is that there are so many objects created by God, which are of doubtful character. These include the Earth itself, the Sun, the Moon and more, so the shadow is cast by objects, which lack full scientific explanation. It has been difficult to belief in the all-powerful God, which makes the story of creation look like a dream.
The Saint Augustine’s confession VII (10) describes the presence of God as light that is cast by sun. In his arguments, Augustine describes the ability to doubt the creation of humanity either by consequents or by fate as similar to the being of sun.
This is because under any circumstances, one can prove or disprove where the Sun comes from either scientifically or by the story of creation. In fact, the same doubt is found in the Plato’s parable of the cave where he illustrates the sunlight as huge fire perceived by the prisoners in the cave.
Augustine believes that no one can ascertain the Mighty being or believe that there is nothing certain. He rather foresees everything what is found on the Earth as deity and fabulous in comparison to the creation of God. Augustine says that whatever is in God’s mind, it touches our own mind like the light of the sun.
This is in reference to the parable of the cave by Plato who describes the prisoners in the cave as if they just see the shadow but not the sun itself. This context is an explanation of how it is impossible to see God just like how the prisoners can only see the light during the day and not the sun, but believe that there is a huge fire, which produces the light. Human beings can only imagine the existence of a mighty power but cannot see it since it can destroy their eyes.
Light is regarded as the correct knowledge of what exactly the mighty being, God, is. It might be quite impossible to conclude if the following belief is right, and there is God. As Augustine suggests, it is not easy to distinguish the moments when one is dreaming and when he/she is awake. While thinking of some of these composite objects, one can be confused as being asleep or awake due to the nature of the thoughts.
According to Descartes’ meditations, the fact of not knowing is as important as knowing. This is as important since the story of composite beings on the Earth remains a point of research by scientists to determine what is not clear. The meditations describe the knowledge as light, which lacked explanation.
In his parable of the cave, Plato describes that it is not important to free the prisoners to discover what they do not know. The prisoners feel comfortable when they can not explain where the light is coming from. When the prisoners are set free from the chains, they experience the ‘fire’ that is so devastating. That is why, if the prisoner remained in the cave, the glare could not make him see the artifacts casting the shadow.
Perhaps, in such a case, It would be better not knowing what is out of our knowledge for it can subject some negative impacts on us. The meditations clearly show ignorance to knowledge as a tool of sleeping well without illusions. They demonstrate the need for an individual to gain objective truth that will help him to have a different view of the world.
Saint, Augustine, Confessions. Henry Chadwick, trans. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Print.
Chadwick, Henry. Augustine. New York: Oxford University Press, Past Masters Series, 1986. Print.