Last time we put ourselves into Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and discovered the constant state of darkness that we, as human beings, consistently subject ourselves to, because of our pride, our self-worth, or fear. If we go back into the Parable we’ll see what life might be like when someone cares about us enough to help bring us out of the dark into the light.
[Socrates] And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but… will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?
[Glaucon] Far truer.
[Socrates] And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take and take in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?
[Glaucon] True, he now.
[Socrates] And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he ‘s forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities.
[Glaucon] Not all in a moment, he said.
Is it not just like us, after we stumble upon our first couple of tastes of new truth or of a new world our first instinct is to run back towards our prior life; our prior ignorance. When we are first presented with change we, most often, try to grab hold of what ever we can, often times forcing those around us to pull us , kicking and screaming, out of the dark. Doesn’t it make sense? When we get our first glimpses of the unhealthy habits that we have ignorantly accepted as our current reality, would we not first try to find our way back to ignorant bliss? Is it not the constant state that many cigarette smokers find themselves in? Once they come to the impression that smoking isn’t the best thing for them are they not still searching and searching for anything and everything they can to justify not quitting or the drunkard who finds his behavior to be repulsive during his more sober moments but still runs back to the alcohol in order to forget. It’s just they way we are. It’s been this way for a long time and it’s just our first instinct and our very first thought. Whenever we first discover life in the light we are always going to end up trying to run right back to where we were most comfortable, back into the cave, a place for prisoners and captives, where we become a prisoner by choice thus becoming a prisoner to ourselves.
Not only are we led to the dark because of our own comfortable feelings in our prior surroundings but the new life in itself is, at first glances, too painful to bear. The light of the truth is always painful for those who have been in the dark. The light, our ticket into a new world of freedom, causes the most painful and uncomfortable feeling and immediately causes us to run right back to our prior state of being. In the light we realize the mess we are, we realize how wrong our conclusions have been and we don’t want to face them; we definitely don’t want others to see them. In the dark, we understood the world; at least we thought we did. Coming into the light requires us to let go of most of our more basic assumptions and begin again, a new birth of sorts, I suppose. A new world has to be experienced one that seems unnatural because of the constant state of darkness we’d experienced our entire life prior. We have to begin to discover and feel our way around the new world. Let go of our assumptions and begin again. The life we had in the dark isn’t even close to the life we will experience in the light. And so it is, with every big change and new found knowledge in our lives, each one is a new chance or a new beginning.
It’s a whole lot to take in all at once. It’s difficult and painful, a certain type of death and grieving would have to take place before we could accept any part of our new reality. In order to take that step into the light we have to let something within ourselves die so something deeper can take it’s place, but it’s all based on the faith that living in light is better than living in the dark.