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Knowledge Is Enlightenment, Necessary for Evolution

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Knowledge is the Enlightenment, Necessary for Evolution: In Plato’s, “The Allegory of the Cave,” he is explaining in dialogue with question-and- answer form with Glaucon a student questioning the nature of human beings. The analogy of the cave and the prisoners within used to explain his belief. He discusses moral and philosophical problems; the prisoner must overcome to see the light after long periods of imprisonment. The light he refers to as a fire blazing at a distance, is the light the prisoners see while a low wall is along the way. The prisoner look over the wall to find strange images that he has never seen before is compelled immediately to look toward the light. The question then is would the prisoner suffer pain from the glare brought forth by the light, Plato then explains he will require to grow accustom to the light in order to clearly see the new images. Once the prisoner becomes accustom to the sight of the upper world, he will then see the reflection of others and of himself. Plato then explains the reaction the prisoner makes and his thoughts of himself to realize the reason about his own place. The prisoner, as Plato explains, realized that this exposure of new images in the upper world are not of what he was taught to be true in his old place in the den, and the wisdom brought forth by the den along with his fellow- prisoners; merely false notions. The truth the prisoner has seen in the upper world will then become a desire to continue to seek further the truth of things; not yet exposed to him. Plato then demonstrates what the prisoner will be subjective to by the prisoners, who had never moved out of the den; only to be ridiculed and then is threatened if he returns to the upper world by death. Plato concludes that his entire allegory is that of knowledge is the light to be enlightened by the truth will set you free from the ridicules of society with this new power which he would act rationally whether in public or private but must first endure the obstacles to eventually see clearly the source of reason and truth. For Plato, “the prison-house is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world according to my poor belief.” (1120) While in Martin Luther King Jr.’s, “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he expresses, “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist,” (818) As for Toni Morrison in “Strangers,” quotes “For the stranger is not foreign, she is random, not alien but remembered; and it is the randomness of the encounter with our already known- although unacknowledged- selves that summons a ripple of alarm.” (135) Now for Alberto Alvaro Ríos in, “Green Cards,” expresses, “None of this easy and nobody knows what will happen when you come and everybody is not treated the same.” Although in, “The letter to President Pierce,” Chief Seattle exposes the truth of nature by quoting in his letter, “All things are connected.” (532) From the essay by Scott Russell Sanders “Looking at Women,” he states: “One day all men may cease to look on themselves as prototypically human and on women as lesser miracles; women may cease to feel themselves the targets for desire; men and women both may come to realize that we are all mere flickerings in the universal fire; and then none of us, male or female, need give up humanity in order to become the Other.” (179) In conclusion, the readings by all authors, one can perceive that the writings clearly state the importance of knowledge for one to be compassionate towards others who are different but one must come out of the darkness of ignorance to realize the distinction. One must not become complaisant, to society’s chains from its prison of false notions and miserable way of living. The examples from the readings give readers awareness of what it will take to free one from the chains of society’s narcissistic way of living. From this one gains insight to the notion that if one wants to be set free of the prison it will require effort, to educate one for the purpose of one’s self development and gain strength to endure the struggles one must overcome to liberate from the prison of ignorance that one is accustomed by its own environment. The knowledge one will gain from college is something no one can ever take away nor will ever again forced into the prison of ignorance and oppression. The experience of college is like the metaphor Plato uses in his writing “The cave,” represents prison for if one chooses to be coerced by society to believe one is inferior will never be liberated nor see the truth in the intellectual world. The benefits of attending college one will eventually gain for their effort: to better ones self for the purpose of evolving and developing knowledge for a stronger mind to overcome oppression. One will appreciate the knowledge one will gain from college rather than endure the awful manner and false notions of our society. The college experience so far, yet a bit challenging but assuring a brighter future for one- to set a positive example to others who have experienced and felt victims of discrimination, oppression and condescension. For this, one can state that Knowledge is the enlightenment and power necessary for human evolution. “But, whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and the lord of light in the visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.” (Plato 1120)

Works Cited
Jr., Martin Luther King. Letter from Birmingham Jail. Linda H. The Norton Reader. 13. New York: W. W.

Norton & Company, Inc., 2012. 818. Essay.

Morrison, Toni. Strangers , Linda H. The Norton Reader. 13. New York: W. W. Norton

& Company, Inc., 2012. 135. Essay.

Ríos, Alberto Alvaro. "Green Cards." Peterson, Linda H. The Norton Reader. 13. New York: W. W. Norton

& Company, Inc., 2012. 40. Essay.

Sanders, Scott Russel. Looking at Women, Linda H. The Norton Reader. 13. New York: W. W. Norton

& Company, Inc., 2012. 179. Essay.

Seatle, Chief. Letter to President Pierce, Linda H. The Norton Reader. 13. New York: W. W. Norton

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