Attaining Enlightenment Essay

Submitted By jattaochu45
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Pages: 10

Attaining Enlightenment
The Webster Dictionary definition of illusion is as follows: something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality. This idea is at the forefront of what noted philosophers Plato, Aldous Huxley, Immanuel Kant, and John de Graaf have been saying. Our mere existence and ability to think has been distorted by the figures of authority in our society today. We do not think for ourselves and unconsciously allow others to manipulate our thoughts and desires from the very beginning. Whether it is for the sake of keeping the peace or something as crucial as economic stability, each of these innovative minds has proposed a different idea in terms of enlightening us to the illusion we have come to know as our lives. These ideas are able to take us out of the theoretical darkness and show us the light so that we may lay eyes upon the desert of the real and be exposed to the light of truth that is thinking for ourselves. Plato is one of the most revered and respected names in the world of philosophy. He was an early Greek philosopher that started the Academy in Athens, the first higher learning institution in western civilization, and authored many notable works. The most famous and socially relevant work is Allegory of the Cave. This work depicts a society of people who have been born and bred in a literal cave. They are restrained by chains so that they may not move their heads and must stare at a cave wall day after day. However, on this cave wall, images are produced and projected onto the wall by means of a fire and a different entity that has never been in the shackles. The people who are doing this form of puppereering are effectively distorting the consciousness of the people enslaved by the shackles. These people know nothing other than what is being selectively projected by these people who project these images on the wall, and believe that what they are seeing is the real world and develop their own belief systems off of this false reality. When someone escapes, they are able to see everything, recognizing the illusion being created, and reach enlightenment for themselves. After leaving, all of the truths that have been constantly repeated and repeated for the duration of their lives are disproven and shown to be a lie. They see that the images were nothing more than tools used for them to behave and think in a certain way, and that there is much more to the world than just their cave. However, just simply leaving the cave does not leave one simply enlightened. The escapee has their entire belief system wiped clean and is blinded by the sun that has never been seen and the truth that has never been known. They must be able to form their own ideas and establish their own truths about the real world. The only motivation for one to return to the cave is the purpose of enlightening the others who are still tied up and being forced to believe that the projected images and dark existence is the real world. However, when he returns speaking about the illusion that is tainting their existence, he is met with rejection and mockery. This is perfectly understandable seeing that the masses in the cave have only known the images on the wall and shackles around their neck for as long as they have been alive. This leads one to question how true enlightenment can be reached. The physical process to reach enlightenment is extremely simple. Have the gumption and will power to remove the shackles and leave the cave to be able to think outside of the manufactured images. However, convincing others to follow and see the light is another story. The people in the cave would likely view the enlightened one as a pariah and be given no credibility as they continue their lives as happy slaves in a cave. So the result of enlightening oneself would lead to a much better personal experience, but the enlightened one would not be able to bring more people with him into the light.
Plato and his ideas…