Life In Joseph Campbell's The Allegory Of The Cave

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All sentient beings are in some way shaped by the ideas that surround them. It is impossible for any thinking creature to ignore the philosophies held by their parents, friends acquaintances, and their society. Children, for example, have their personal worldviews profoundly affected by their parents, friends, and teachers. They typically follow the ideas of their parents and integrate the prevalent ideas of their friends and teachers. There is a phrase that describes the predominant swirl of philosophies that surround a thinking being: the philosophical environment. In like manner, Joseph Campbell stated in “The Hero’s Journey” that “Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be” (Campbell). Campbell elucidates the key to understanding meaning in life: the meaning we bring to life is shaped by our…show more content…
Plato begins by reasoning that a man who knows only shadows will only understand shadows, stating “ To them... the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images” (Plato 2). Their meaning would be shaped by this myopic view and therefore be based on shadows. He then reasons that if you free a prisoner and allow them to become accustomed to the fact that the world is not merely made of shadows, their meaning will change once again. Finally, once the man is exposed to all forms of enlightenment and has seen the natural world outside of the cave, he will be able to “contemplate him[self] as he is,” as Plato reasons (Plato 3). In reaching this higher level of environment the subject will likely change their understanding of philosophy. Every step of showing the prisoner more truth will open his eyes wider and, more importantly, change the meaning he brings to

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