What is Real?
Press Start for What is Real? by 8-Bit Philosophy, where classic video games introduce famous thinkers, problems, and concepts with quotes, teachings, and more.
Episode 1: What is Real? | (Plato’s Allegory of the Cave)
Written & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Narrator: Nathan Lowe
Animation Producer: MB X. McClain
Original Music & Sound by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Academic Consultant: Mia Wood
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
What is Real? (Plato’s Allegory of the Cave)
If you were born inside of a box, would the thought of a world outside it, a world that is MORE REAL, ever enter your mind?
Considered one of philosophy’s greatest writers, Plato asked just this sort of question his Allegory of the Cave.
Imagine a group of people born in to a cave, chained by their legs and necks facing the back wall. The only things they can see are shadows cast by a fire behind them. And since they’ve never seen the actual objects, their idea of reality consists only of shadows.
But what would happen if one of the prisoners were to be set free? When he turns around and sees the objects, will he know that the shadows are a lesser copy of reality? And when he eventually leaves the
cave and sees the sun and nature for the first time, would his mind not be completely BLOWN?
But wait a sec, if the objects are more real than the shadows, how do we know there isn’t something more real than the objects? The ultimate reality is what Plato calls “The Realm of the Forms” It is eternal, unchangeable. It is the realm of BEING, of what IS. Our world, on the other hand, is
the world of BECOMING- of change and what we perceive; where everything is constantly BECOMING something else.
Just as the shadow of an object is a faded copy of the actual object,
the world as we perceive it consists of imperfect copies of the Forms. After experiencing a higher truth, what would happen if the prisoner returned to the cave? Plato muses that telling the others of the greater reality would threaten their narrow beliefs. If they could, they might even kill him.
Will we as humans ever be able to lose our shackles of perception and truly KNOW reality?