Socrates believes that the everyday world is an illusion compared to the world of knowledge. People are often too distracted by money and materialistic things to appreciate truth and reality. Socrates says, ?the capacity for knowledge is innate in each man?s mind.? This exemplifies the point that man has the ability to look into the world of truth, but when one is caught up in superficiality then truth does not receive the attention and glory that it should. This is why Socrates feels that the arts, such as poetry, should be censored; it would help decrease the digression of society?s intellect. In today?s world television and movies are complications that only hinder the thought processes in society.
When people are consumed in the shallow world, they see reality as mere shadows compared to truth. Many times, violent images seen in movies will remain in a person?s mind. This obsession with violence and action takes away from concentration on ?the good? and does not benefit society. ?The bad? does not change when one is exposed to it, ?the bad? changes the person. So, by limiting this exposure to violence one can focus on finding ?the good.?
?The good?, according to Socrates is ?the source not only of the intelligibility of the objects of knowledge, but also of their being and reality.? When the mind is preoccupied with the desultory world, it does not see truth; that which is important and real. Television today is geared towards brainless viewing. MTV shows display fast images that do not require any thinking, but only keep the eye entertained. This is a form of ?eye candy? which is society?s form of entertainment, rather than looking for the meaning of life and the good in the world. Viewers are sucked into this and no longer care about anything other than instant pleasure. Not all pleasure is considered good, and this type of instant pleasure is not.
Pleasure should not be taken to the extreme, because it will then be unhealthy for the mind and the body. Socrates explains that the mind, body, and soul must all be in unison in order to be healthy, then happiness will ensue. Moderation is a key element to contentment and should be practiced in today?s society. Many people search for happiness by engulfing themselves in life?s highest pleasures, others look for contentment by over-working themselves to try and be the richest. However, these extremes will not produce happiness, instead, one should find tranquillity by seeking the truth, and looking inside to find reality and true beauty.
Since the material world is simply an illusion of the world of knowledge, then television and movies are an illusion of this illusion. One cannot look to these for the answers, or even try to relate it to their own life. It is not real and should not be looked upon as truth. Although movies are an exaggeration of real life, it is not an exaggeration of ?the good? but rather, of the emptiness and shallowness of life.
The allegory of the cave illustrates the difference between the materialistic world and the intelligible world. Socrates describes a man with his arms and legs chained, and his neck in a brace, which only allows him to look at a wall with shadows. This is a metaphor for the man who does not transcend to the world of enlightenment. They can only see shadows of what is real and true. Man memorizes these shadows and thinks that he is intelligent; however, truth lies beneath the depths of the everyday world, but can only be established when the layers of immateriality are torn away.
Another aspect of the cave is the idea that if man escapes the cave and sees the light he is no longer able to see the shadows that he used to see. This would cause him to believe that the shadows were truer than the light; hence, the illusion of reality would be real to the man, rather than truth. This creates discordance because man will not be able to understand truth and that which is incontestable.
The cave also symbolizes the idea that memorization of the shadows produces intelligence. Man often thinks that regurgitating information