Plato’s Allegory: Modern Perspective

Posted by Javan Poblador | Posted on October 3, 2020

Plato’s Allegory: Modern Perspective

by Angelo Greñas
Batangas

 

Three years ago, I have encountered the Allegory of the Cave by Plato. There was this uncanny feeling that among all other subjects, it was during Filipino class that I encountered it. I have always considered myself an average junior high school student and  I am no stranger from the mediocre thought that Filipino class is boring and the tendency of getting asleep was inevitable (don’t get me wrong though, I am a former night class student and so, the possibility of getting asleep is quite normal). But by that very moment, the inner struggle of groping my identity has begun. 

Plato's Allegory: Modern Perspective
Art by Angelo Greñas

You may have told yourself that the prisoners were really stupid for believing that those puppets were for real. But upon contemplating the central idea of allegory about perspectives and our grasp of reality, I questioned myself: is the prevailing status quo the better truth and seemingly fit for our society? 

We can relate the current societal status with the allegory. Some of us were ideologically and religiously restrained to see the sufferings of another. There are some who always bind themselves to religious conservativism, thereby rejecting any radical thoughts about challenging the established order.

Johnny Miller was a South African photographer who initiated a project intended to shed light on the prevailing inequality amidst the urban of Johannesburg, South Africa. There, he recounted that the shift of perspective from flat ground view to bird’s eye view has provided him a great deal of understanding of what is really happening beyond the two-meter-tall fences of their village. It is seemingly dramatic to realize that a wet marshland is the only barrier between these two villages and the differences are too obvious. The picture is an epitome of social inequality, class struggle, failed urban planning, failed government policies, and among other stuff. The world, in fact, is an ecology of inequality. Only some of us were restrained to see this truth because of their limited perspective.

We must know that we are facing the challenge to dismantle the flaws developed by the old order, and in order to do this, a perspective shift is necessary.

“Where everything is flat, you can see nothing,” this was Miller’s realization after his photos have stormed the internet and sparked a nationwide interest for radical change and activism. When our views are distorted and limited, we tend to limit our opinions. Sometimes, it is not a bad thing – it prevents us from making irrational decisions; but should we choose to expand our perspective, we have to remember that it would always be better to open up ourselves with new thoughts about things like equality and liberty.

The decision to involve yourself with matters related to activism is a choice reserved for you to make. Should we realize to choose, lest we forget that we have a society to care about, and your decision would always matter and affect everyone no matter how small it is — no matter which side will you choose. Do choices like these matter to you? Yes, it does – one way or another. We are all in this together, and choosing sides is inevitable: even in education. 

Paulo Freire wrote, “There is no such thing as neutral education process. Education either functions as an instrument to bring conformity or freedom.” Knowing a large percentage of our population is illiterate about these issues, bringing our perspective into their sight is the key.

inequalities in the city

Right now, it is not about the wealthy versus the poor, the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, the politicians against the people; it is about the fight against corruption, fight for a better healthcare system, fight for environmental preservation, fighting against apartheid, fight against toxic patriarchy, fight for LGBTQIA+ rights, fight for the welfare of the people — our fight for humanism. We must know that we are facing the challenge to dismantle the flaws developed by the old order, and in order to do this, a perspective shift is necessary.

The allegory has taught us that the shadows seen by the prisoner were seemed surreal. Only he realized that his whole experience has been controlled by the others after experiencing the new world, and breaking from the limitations imposed by the chains that held him from grasping the truth, he vowed to ascend and then find his way back to help his fellows in the cave.

We shall rise up with our voices united against marginalization and oppression. New ideas are not that scary, but a better judgment of things is always necessary. Amidst the prevailing inequality, let us ascend and bring hope to the margins of our society.

“We have a world to win,” says Marx.

Other good reads...

HAPI – Bacolod chapter volunteers to improve Mandalagan National High School murals

Submitted by Ayrton Macainan June 4, 2016 – HAPI – Bacolod chapter composed of Mandalagan National High School students volunteered to give the school a touch-up in preparation for the incoming school year of 2016 – 2017.   Driven by the common goal of serving humanity through the propagation of the message “Love one another”, […]

HAPI treats Sudlon pupils

About 40 pupils of Sudlon Elementary School were in for a pleasant treat when Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI) volunteer Ethan Yslam, along with friends, paid them a visit on January 22, 2018, during his short vacation in Cebu City, Philippines. Ethan was making a number of stops at Cebu’s tourist spots around the time. […]

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2019 – MY HAPI PERCEPTION

My HAPI perception on this Midterm elections 2019 in the Philippines. I was  informed that CNN took interest for a HAPI representative to discuss women’s vote certainly took some time. CNN researcher called me twice and had us waiting for a couple of weeks. I didn’t know that before you can be included in the […]

HAPI’s 3rd BASIC Filipino Sign Language Class

The Meeting Plate, Pasay City, Metro Manila November 25, 2018 The Humanist Alliance Philippines International (HAPI) was again happy to wrap up yet another educational class opportunity to help those interested to learn Basic Filipino Sign Language. Now on its 3rd session, the class series aims to provide a very welcoming and open space for […]

HAPI-EVO Anti-Covid Campaign

Mutya Valenzuela Malolos, Bulacan HAPI-EVO Anti-Covid Campaign is just one of our HAPI events, to wit: “We cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that we can do.” Tricycle drivers, pedicab drivers and trolley operators are also frontliners. Everyday, they have to bring their passengers to […]

October 2017 HAPI Bacolod Meeting

hapi-bacolod-team

Last Sunday, Humanist Alliance Philippines International (HAPI) Bacolod Chapter has conducted its last meeting for the month of October 2017. The meeting was held at Tom n Toms Coffee despite the crowded venue the meet-up went on smoothly.

A Look Back: HAPI’s First Quarter of 2020

HAPI’s 1st Quarter, 2020 Written by Shane Haro April 1, 2020 San Jose, Antique, Philippines Before we go into the gleaming achievements HAPI has already had in the first quarter of the year, there’s the big news that HAPI just named a new Executive Director in Alain Presillas. Here are the introductory remarks of our […]

About The Author

Angelo Greñas

Angelo is currently a BS Medical Laboratory Science freshie at Lyceum of the Philippines University – Batangas. He aspires to become a medical doctor someday. With outgoing soul and fiery creativity, he wants to contribute something good for humanity — taking steps little by little. He is also a HAPI Scholar.

Scroll to Top