This allegory or description of one thing while another is presented, is a representation of our daily struggle to live authentic lives on Earth. The Allegory of the Cave is a popular story written by the Greek philosopher Plato, who lived most of his life in Athens, Greece from 427 BC to 347 BC. He received his instruction and developed his points of view from Egyptian Priests, historically noted by the work of historiographer, George G. M. James in the book Stolen Legacy and other notable African and African American scholars.
However, this piece is primarily written to address the person of ambition. In The Allegory of the Cave, the goal for the reader is to understand that most of the lives that people live are boring, absent of positive change, goal setting and they are living someone else’s life, not their own. If we as the ambitious person, choose to make a change, then serious choices will follow. There are seven main points of this allegorical tale that I will explain, using the most modern of examples.
1. We Have Lived Our Entire Lives, As Prisoners in Chains, Inside a Cave
The chains mentioned in this first passage represent a “safe” way of thinking. It speaks of the ordinary way of thinking associated with going to college and getting a job based on it being a path to a good salary and benefits. Never mind if you like the job or not, that’s not the point. Let’s not explore the pain of a job that pays you enough just to pay the bills, without much left over, yet those are equally examples of “CHAINS.” More examples would include trending topics, the latest news stories, celebrity gossip, hip hop beef, new million dollar contracts for athletes. Information meant to play with your emotions and distract you from the focus of yourself. .
2. They Have Been Chained, So That They Cannot See Behind Themselves
In such a situation who would ask, “What else does life have to offer?” Perhaps, you have asked such a question. The CAVE is meant to make people feel afraid of going in a unique and individualized direction. We are made to choose between following what is in our heart and pursuing a life course our parents choose for us. If indeed we choose the path laid out for us by our parents, many of us feel resentful of our parents and ourselves. That resentment, lays on another layer of CHAINS. We are thus forced to stare at the CAVE WALL that conveniently is always in front of us. Unfulfilling relationships are CHAINS. The fear of being alone is a…
3. Behind Them, a Fire is Burning
The FIRE, the fire for life. The zest of inspiration and excitement of that THING, that is of true interest. That which may be risky or reasonably dangerous in the eyes of others is FIRE. It is what you really want to do, but your parents or friends want you to ignore the FIRE for something they believe is safer. Safer in case you need something to “fall back on,” as they say.
4. In Between the Prisoners and the Fire is Raised, a Walkway
The walkway, the PATH that others take and your personal PATH. The PATH that only the few, are brave enough to take. “Freedom is a road seldom traveled by the multitude,” is a famous quote by Frederick Douglass that perfectly describes this delicate situation. This walkway leads to what you enjoy, fulfillment, answering that which is calling you. That voice that you have been ignoring for so long, drowned out by the daily grind, has transformed from a whisper to a yell because you continue to try and ignore it.
5. Each Day a Menagerie…
Menagerie, an unusual and varied group of people, a collection of wild animals kept in captivity. Do any of the following phrases sound familiar to you-You want to be a millionaire OK; He just signed with the Dayton Gold’s for 5 years 65.9 million dollars with 30 million guaranteed; She just won the 800 million power ball; He just got out of jail, married the daughter of a billionaire and signed a modelling contract, DAMN; The only way out of the hood is if you can sing, rap or dance, YAWN; Create a million dollar app or new software with angel funding; You have to invest in bitcoin for HUGE returns; Screw that, you have to learn how to become a real estate mogul, you need products to sell; What…me I know the way; Are you kidding, I have been doing this for 50 years, I’m worth a billion dollars Fuck that Cocksucker!; Man, I tell you what, you need a mentor, I will tell you whatever you need to know…for a price, enroll in my course; The top 30 under 30; He is a millionaire business owner at the age of 12; She has her own million dollar clothing line while she is still in middle school;
A dizzying display of endless distractions that may be similar to what you truly want to do or are no more than deceptions. Truly the latest fads to keep you off the path of what is your calling and will give you the six figures, $50,000 a year, 1 million or whatever you seek. Distractions that are meant to pull your attention towards what writer and lecturer Napoleon Hill calls “drifting” in his book “Outwitting the Devil.” Drifting can do more than take your focus, it can cost you your PIECE OF MIND.
6. Now…Imagine if You Alone are Released…
After some time of adjusting to the blinding light… After stumbling at first and getting to this PATH, you begin to experience the world outside of the CAVE, for the very first time. You commence to move down a road that no one, in your circle has gone before. You may be alone on this road. It is like nothing you could have ever imagined.
With a new perception of the world, naturally you want to share your journey, your new discoveries. You want to talk about mistakes you have made and how you overcame them. In addition, you walk differently, talk differently, your clothes are new, your car, your house is new and on the other side of town. You speak of the things that are outside of the normal conversation topics that you used to share with family and friends.
The RESULT…they may not recognize you, you may appear as all things do…to those who are still looking at the CAVE WALL. You may be as understandable as a distorted echo and appear as one of the shadows on the wall, which you used to look at, that they STILL look at. They may be unable to understand the fantastic stories of life outside of the CAVE. To them, it may never or will never exist, no matter how beautiful the visual portrait you paint for their noodle.
7. This of Course, Does Not Make Life Outside of the Cave Any Less Real
This is the test of your belief in yourself, your new chosen PATH and your ability to focus. The space outside of the CAVE is real to YOU. Many a successful person has had a hard fall back down into the CAVE. Why? Because they attempted to stay relevant to people whom they used to be in the CAVE with. They wanted those in the CAVE to come along for the ride! Everyone cannot come along, because the mind of adventurer, the mind of the PATH walker can never be, can never occupy the same space, as the mind of the person who is comfortable and who has made peace with the CAVE.
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Read Napoleon Hill’s “Outwitting the Devil” for more life changing information.