Socrates, The Cave, and The Matrix Effect

I’ve always been of the opinion that the moment I stop learning will be the moment I stop living. I don’t believe this is true for everyone in the same way I don’t believe everyone needs three cups of coffee in order to crawl out of bed every morning. It is, however, my brand of addiction. I only hope to spread this addiction to whomever may be willing to hear. And here’s why…

“They resemble us, I replied. For let me ask you, in the first place, whether person so confined could have seen anything of themselves or of each other beyond the shadows thrown by the fire upon the part of the cavern facing them?

Certainly not, if you suppose them to have been compelled all their lifetime to keep their heads unmoved. And is not their knowledge of the things carried past them equally limited?

Unquestionably it is.” – Plato, The Republic (Socrates’ quotation)

Reality is what we make of it. This statement has been true for thousands of years. As long as we are individuals capable of awareness, the world is open to interpretation. That being said, how do you define what’s real? and what’s the point of this whole conversation?? Right? Well, run with me for a minute.

From Socrates to Neo

Plato, in his exhaustively long (yet enlightening) tome, The Republic, he describes an allegory of a cave. The most simplistic interpretation of this allegory parallels the concept behind the Matrix trilogy. The idea is this; There’s this cave, right? Basically, everyone in the cave must watch a shadow play on one of the walls. All of these prisoners believe this to be the real world. That is, until, one of them escapes the cave, finding the world to be much larger, and vast with possibilities. The escaped prisoner goes back to the cave in order to free the other prisoners. His purpose, not only that of waking up the others, but more so to share a world brimming with possibility.

Now, rinse and repeat. Replace ‘prisoners’ with ‘people’, ‘one of them’ with ‘Neo’ and ‘the cave’ with ‘The Matrix’ and you’ll have the basis of a hollywood blockbuster.

“I Can’t Do That”

This over-simplification of a fascinating allegory sits on this blog to serve one purpose. Daily, when I explain my plan to hike 2,500 km through Japan; friends, coworkers, students and acquaintances greet my goal with the same statement, “I can’t do that.”

“I can’t do that.”

This statement of impossibility pains me with every utterance, for the reason I’ve decided to go on such an adventure is in complete opposition to this statement. To end this short post, let me quote the first blog post that graced this site many months ago:

We all have dreams, things we wish to accomplish in life. I’ve heard from many people, “…dreams are only that, dreams.” From the bottom of my heart, I seriously, desperately, and fiercely need to believe they’re wrong.

I’m going on this journey for many reasons of both a professional and personal nature. I’m going to document all of it here, in order to do just that. I want to create an example to show people, they can achieve those dreams. Because I think they can.

And I will prove it.

Trust me.

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