Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blog 4 Revision

In Plato's "Allegory of the Cave", Socrates discusses with his disciple Glaucon how most people spend their lives in the cave of ignorance, and explains what happens when someone manages to get out of it to see the light of wisdom. Initially it will be really painful for him getting used to seeing this light but, eventually he will realize that it is so much better than living in the darkness seeing nothing but shadows, and would feel the need to go back to the cave to share his experiences with the people that remain there, unfortunately he is misunderstood . The other prisoners say that he came back down without his eyes because he is not able to measure the shadows anymore (even though he doesn't care about this kind of  frivolous honors because he has seen better things) they think that it's not even worth it to think about ascending, and decide that if someone else tries to free another prisoner to lead him up to the light, they will catch and kill him.

Socrates also shows us how the experiences lived in the outside world, by the man who saw the light, made him change the way he thinks and sees his new reality. Now that he has seen the truth, despite the prize he had to pay in order to see it, the last thing he wants is to go back to his old state. He is decided to do whatever it takes, no matter how hard it is, as long as he doesn’t become a prisoner again.


When I try to picture myself in Socrates' scenario, I believe I am just starting to break off the first links of the chain, only at the beginning of a process which will eventually increase its difficulty levels. By describing how painful it was for the man to get accustomed to the light, Socrates is using an analogy  to show us that acquiring knowledge can be a long and frightening process, one that requires a lot of effort and dedication, and is divided in various stages or steps. Right now I am in the early stages of the process, and the first step I am taking  is precisely this that I am doing right now: to be going to college.

If I really want to see the light, which in my case would be getting at least a master's degree, I must realize that, it is not something that can be achieved from one day to the other without trying hard enough and putting in the commitment that is required. I have to understand what getting out of my "comfort zone" means, and that it  is like the word says,  if I am not in a comfort zone, I am going to be somewhere where it is not as comfortable. However, in spite of this I need to keep on trying hard in order to achieve my goals.

I know that there will be situations in which i might feel disappointed for not getting the results I expect. For instance, I am currently taking this math class in which even though I am trying to improve, my grade is still not good enough. However, I still have to face this challenge if I want to get ahead. I believe one of the main reasons why we don't achieve things is because we give up too easily, when we are faced with obstacles. It’s like when people are going on a path towards a goal and then suddenly something, let’s say a rock gets into the way blocking the path, they have two options: A, to face the challenge or B, to give up the goal. Given that it is B the option that requires the least amount of effort and thus the easy way out, most of us would normally pick B.
Another thing that I think hold people back from obtaining our objectives is the fear of failure.
I think there are many good people out there that have a great potential to do things, but we just don’t take the first step towards obtaining them, we just keep waiting for “the right moment”. It seems to be an issue related to self-confidence. Some people think they are not good enough to do certain things, or are too afraid that they are going to be unsuccessful, this reminds me of “Before the Law” by Kafka, a story in which a character has to go trough a door, but is told that if he tries to pass through it, he will only find more and and tougher obstacles to defeat, so he is too scared of trying and spends his entire life thinking if he should or shouldn’t try. When he is really old and about to die, he asks the guardian of the door, how come no one else has ever tried to pass through that door, and the guardian responds that no one else ever tried because that door because it was specifically made for him, and that it is now time to close it.
I wouldn’t want to be this man who never did anything because he thought it was going to be too difficult, I would rather give a try at things without worrying too much because I might fail. Maybe it is not as difficult as it seems, and if it is, well at least I tried. Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t care about failing, but I would rather try and fail than never try anything at all. When a little boy learns to walk he falls many times before actually learning to do it right, likewise if I fail I must have the strength needed to get back up on my feet and keep trying to get better. I shouldn’t be too afraid of failure. As the saying that goes “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”.

In order to achieve the goal that I have set for myself, I have to be aware of the difficulties that I may find on my path, and also be willing to overcome them even knowing that it is not going to be easy, like the man who came out from the cave in Plato’s allegory, getting used to seeing the light was really painful for him, but later, when he was able to see how different it was to be in a world of light, he never wanted to go back to darkness. The same applies to me, when I finish my studies and get my degree, I will surely realize that all the effort was worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Good summary, but I need to see more of the "response" part...