The Cave, ask Part 2
Now, medical let’s imagine that we the prisoners are released and our error is revealed—someone sets us free and shows us we’ve been seeing only a shadow world. At first, when any of us is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn our neck and walk and look towards the light, we suffer sharp pains. Our eyes ache. Our bodies ache. Our heads feel like nails are being pounded into our skulls, for the light is intense.
The glare will distress us, and we will be unable to see the realities of which in our former state we had seen only the shadows. We’ve been in the dark so long, we can’t even conceive of a different reality. It takes time to adjust.
As we’re adjusting, perhaps after some considerable amount of time has passed, the person releasing us says, “Friend, what you saw before was an illusion, but now, you are free.” And our savior begins pointing to the real objects that had been casting shadows, the shadows we thought were real. For a time, we are completely confused, insisting that the shadows we formerly saw are more real than the objects which are now shown to us. Far more real, in fact.
Yet our rescuer doesn’t give up. We are compelled to look straight at the light, which gives us a pain in our eyes that makes us turn away from it.
Perhaps a little reluctantly at first, we make a steep and rugged ascent, into the presence of the sun itself. This dazzling light irritates us both physically and mentally. When we approach the light our eyes are dazzled, and we are not able to see anything at all of what are now told is reality.
We are blinded by the true light of reality.
Over time though, we grow accustomed to the sight of the world outside the cave. At first we see the shadows best, next the reflections of people and other objects in water, and then the objects themselves. Eventually we gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heavens, and we see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day.
Finally, we be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of it in the water, but we see it in its own proper place, and we contemplate it as it is.
Now that we have seen the light, we can begin to adjust to the new reality it reveals.
To be continued…