This is a bit of a philosophical exploration yet it wanted to be written.
In the Allegory of The Cave, from Republic by Plato, prisoners are chained their whole lives, watching on the wall in front of them what looks to be real life, which is in fact shadows on the wall.
The shadows are illuminated due to the fire behind them, people walking around, where actual life is happening inside and outside the cave which the prisoners can’t see. They have even given the shadows and life they perceive names but do not know that they’re imprisoned, nor wish to leave this imprisonment because they cannot grasp it.
One of these prisoners breaks free and is lead to see what the shadows from the fire behind them were and out of the cave. Blinded by the light of the sun, seeing that everything he had thought prior was actually a distortion of what was real.
When he tried to go back down to the prisoners to explain what he understood as their shadow play, they would not believe him nor could they, for they had been chained their whole lives.
Now, I want you to think what the enlightening moment of clarity would be like as the one who came out of the cave, eyes hurting and unable to see to then have awareness of the whole of reality.
To give up all the ideas conceived while in the darkness, chained to an idea of truth that was a shadow of what was real.
And waking up from that, into the illuminated dazzling light of truth, different from what was perceived. How would that be?
Then trying to bring back the information to those still in chains to his own detriment because he was not believed.
Now to take it to a collective and epistemological level. Perhaps what we view through our individual lenses of experience are these shadows on the wall, formed from subconscious and group conscious agreements; this is how reality is designed.
Social conditions and norms could almost be considered the shadow play, ones we are born into and weren’t given a choice about with how our society and world is set up. Ie. think right, act right, do right and be right and you will attain abc or xyz. If you’re this (think any label) you will act and do of accord of this (generalization).
Do you think the chains of an imposed reality structure come from how we have to assess what our brains are taking in to understand our individual life and consciousness?
Think about the prisoner who came back to the cave to try to explain, how often does that happen, when something is so outlandish that it’s not believed and is shuffled away as a disillusion? Many of the genius minds that came before us were the ones who “saw the light” and visionaries trailblazing a new path unseen before then.
In the allegory I see the sunlight and real life as one coming into enlightenment and clarity. Those profound times when the AHA moment comes about and self realization, which is a constant work in progress, is at a moment of zenith.
When these moments of pure clarity within the light of realization come about, is it not pure bliss and a realization of the interconnectedness of all things?
This allegory could also relate to the ego and its imprisonments vs the pervasive superconsciousness.
Given what we deal with on a day to day basis with so much bombarding us, it’s hard to discern and decipher what we believe as our inward truth. Not truth because someone told you it is a truth, truth because the core of your being resonates deeply with it. It’s up to us individually and collectively to break the chains.
Metaphorically, I feel the chains when giving credence to ideas and truths that don’t resonate within and the numbing of my ego and its distractions that distance me from my well of depth, mind, soul and creative work, which is in the present reality. Life is lived, change is inevitable, an ever flowing, always evolving moment. Which when stuck, needs the sunlight of consciousness and focus to guide it forward.
Do you in any way feel chained to the cave?
How does it feel in the moments of clarity and awakening in the glaring, dazzling light of self-realization?