I’ve been thinking about Plato’s classic “Myth of the Cave” from the Republic. A lot! This allegory serves as a giant wake-up call for each of us, a call to dust away mental cobwebs so that clear thinking about ideas is possible. Here’s a brief entry into and a welcome exit from his Cave. The key realization that Plato imparts in this powerful analogy is that WE are the prisoners: Bound, since birth, by ankles and legs, unable to move from fixed positions, the shadows on the wall cast by flickering firelight are the only reality we know. We never question the truth of the puppet show and have no reason to suspect a truer world outside our cave. But there is a glimmer of light at the mouth of the Cave which suggests to one brave prisoner to break free and make the hard, steep climb towards the opening. Up, up until at last…bright sunlight! In this new light of day the meaning of ideas becomes more and more clear: Courage, Friendship, Kindness, Peace, and on and on…. It is “this turning around” that becomes “our task to follow that upward journey” (Republic). We had no clue in the Cave. Our ideas were garbled if they existed at all. We took everything as it came and went, mentally dormant and dully satisfied. What keeps us cave-bound today? Advertising, media twists and shouts, the assumption that what we hear and read is true, and docile acceptance of the world as it is. We’re cave-bound if we don’t strive for clarity and bright, well-lit minds. We must unshackle our minds and exercise them rigorously.