Allegory of the Cave – Metamorphosis

Cosmic Cave

Hunter Wainright pulled his bedroll next to the fire, closer to Metamorphosis, the great sage.

“Can I ask you a question?” Hunter asked.

“This is a good time to talk,” the sage replied.

“I’ve been thinking. I’m bothered about the people in charge of everything back on Earth.”

“In charge of what?”

“You know, the people that run the government.”

“What is your question?”

He moved closer to the sage and said, “Sorry, I’ll get to the point. I’m beginning to agree with you that the President of the United States should be a philosopher.”

“Thank you. But my suggestion is that all humans in positions of leadership must have philosophical training, not just political leaders. In other words, all humans require enlightenment. First, you must cure the viral epidemic, the Extractor Virus; otherwise, philosophical wisdom shall fall on deaf ears.”

“Why should everyone, all humans, become leaders. Don’t we need just a few, good leaders?”

“Because leadership begins at the most basic level of all, parenting. Parents must be philosophers. Philosophical training must be taught to all the parents and teachers and politicians of your primitive societies. Keep in mind, within enlightened civilizations, the wise and patient elders provide philosophical training, as well as education. Philosophy must be taught at a young age and reinforced into adulthood.”

“That probably won’t happen where I come from. That’s reality.”

“Reality? You humans have no sense of reality.”

Cosmic Cave

“Sure we do.”

“Then, why do you resist enlightenment, the highest form of truth, the supreme reality?”

“What do you mean?”

“When an enlightened leader rises to popularity on your planet, often a sage with a message of wisdom, love, and peace; you eliminate him or her.”

“Are you talking about assassination?”

“That is one method. I have learned that many of my earlier guests who returned to Earth to become great sages and Masters have been poisoned, crucified, tortured, burned at the stake, hung by the neck, shot, and assassinated.”

Hunter grimaced and swallowed hard. “Why do all our great leaders get killed?”

Morph pointed at the cave wall. “See your shadow dancing on the cave wall?”

He looked over his shoulder and nodded, yes, while the shadows on the cave wall swayed to the rhythm of the fire.

“Imagine a group of human beings who have lived their entire lives trapped in a subterranean chamber, a cave. Imagine the cave looks like this cave, with the fire as its only source of light. Imagine these humans are permanent cave dwellers, chained and held immobile since childhood. Not only are their arms and legs chained in place, but their heads are also fixed, making them stare at the cave wall in front of them. As for their bizarre existence, they are unaware of any other way and they offer no complaints.

“Behind the chained humans a blazing fire burns brightly. Between the fire and humans is a raised walkway. On the walkway are puppets shaped like animals and plants and mountains, moved by an observer. A manipulator. A tyrant. The humans are forced to watch the shadows on the cave wall. The shadows are the only objects the humans have seen since infancy. Noises echo off the cave walls from the walkway, their only reality of sound.”

Morph’s eyes glowed with the fires of wisdom. “Do you think the humans would believe the shadows to be real things, or just reflections of reality?”

“Probably real things,” Hunter said.

“Imagine most of the human beings content with the lights and shadows, while the most clever among them become highly skilled observers and question the reality of the shadows. In either case, they cannot comprehend what they see. Their chains prevent them from seeing the true source and nature of the ghostly images on the wall. Imagine one of the clever humans breaks his chains and climbs through the bleak underworld to the surface of the Earth.”

“Escapes?”Cosmic Cave

“Yes. And with his eyes accustomed only to the dim light of the cave, what would happen to him when he emerged into the upper world?”

“He’d be blinded by the bright light.”

“At first, he is only able to gaze upon shadows and reflections of the real world. But, with some time and effort, as his eyes become accustomed to the light, this former cave dweller discovers the real world, gazing in awe and wonderment at the living trees and animals and rivers and majestic mountains. Finally, he looks upon the Sun itself. Imagine this escapee, witness to the Sun, returning to the cave. What do you think he would do?”

“Tell the others about the real world. Inform them they’d been looking at a bunch of stupid shadows on the wall.”

“What would happen when he tells his former friends and family what he has seen, that there is a better world in which to live, not the world in which they have been content to dwell? He announces he shall free them from their chains of ignorance. How do you think they would respond?”

“They would all agree.”

“Are you sure?” Morph asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Yes. Why would they want to stay in the dark?”

Black spiderbats dove and captured the fluttering moths hypnotized by the light of the dancing flames.

“The imprisoned humans notice how their former companion, who has seen the bright world above, now acts inept and clumsy in the dark realm of the cave. They doubt his word, believing he is mad, crazy, out of his mind. They mock him and name him the ‘enlightened one,’ the human blinded by the divine light of the Sun. They remind him that nothing is wrong with their dark existence and they are content; they lack nothing.”

“People would not stay in the cave. No way.”

“Even if some people agreed with the enlightened one and visited the surface, many would be immediately frightened and return to the cave. To their familiar, safe existence in the dark. Many would never journey to the surface. Frightened of the truth, they would feel safe, be content and happy to remain in the shadows. Only a few would be willing to journey to the upper world and look at the Sun, the light, and see the world as it truly exists. A few would realize that their cave life had been a total farce and a shadow of the truth. They would know they had been taught incorrectly, misguided, lied to.”

“Maybe you’re right. That does makes sense.”

“Many of them would want to return to the cave and free their family and friends from bondage, but would discover that they are also the focus of scorn and ridicule and persecution.”

“I can see how that might happen.”

“Would it not have been in the best interest of the cave dwellers to entrust their lives to the enlightened one, the human with the most knowledge and wisdom?”

“Yeah, for sure.”

“And what else might happen to the enlightened humans who return to the dark cave to help their fellow humans see the light?”

Hunter bit his lip, shrugging his shoulders.

“Imagine the paranoid cave dwellers declare that the enlightened one’s eyes have been corrupted by the light. ‘Beware of his lies,’ they scream, ‘It is not worth trying to go to the surface.’ Vicious rumors begin. They warn each other, ‘Do not follow the madman’s teachings.’ They scorn and ridicule him. And when they discover that the enlightened one plans to unchain and release humans from their shackles, lead humans up to the light, do you think that the fearful and ignorant masses might possibly plot to kill the enlightened one?”

“Murder him?”

The sage nodded, yes.

“You mean, because they believe he’s crazy, out of his mind?”

“Correct. Out of his mind. They realize that the madman, the radical thinker who speaks only of the one, true reality, has won favor with the masses. His popularity has grown. Jealousy erupts as the cave dwellers realize how many people have actually dedicated their lives to follow the enlightened one out of the dark and into the light.”

Hunter raised his right index finger. “I know what you’re getting at,” he said, glancing over his shoulder at Eve.

“What might that be?”

“That humans are afraid of change,” he said. “They like the way things are. Anyone who thinks differently is crazy and must be silenced, or eliminated.”

“Excellent response.”

Hunter grinned. “They will do anything, even murder or imprison the enlightened one, if they believe he is trying to change them, or their society, with a new idea.”

“My son, you do understand my allegory.”

“Thanks,” Hunter said, proud of my answer.

“Now, what is the message of my story?”

“Ummm, that a philosopher should be our president?”

“Close.”

Shrugging his shoulders, he shook his head, I don’t know.

“The meaning of my allegory is that the enlightened one, having seen the Light, the truth, the supreme reality, is now capable of philosophical thought. With proper thought comes leadership. Therefore, philosophers make the best parents, teachers, and leaders. Philosophers live life as leaders. Anyone willing to see the light, change their thoughts, shall become a leader; that is, they shall become an enlightened being who leads by example, not by force or deception or corruption or control.”

“That makes sense.”

“The Underworld, like the initial path to enlightenment, lacks illumination. Darkness prevails. Patience and persistence guides all beings from the darkness into the Light.”

Hunter stared at Eve’s beautiful face glowing in the firelight.

“Tell me, my son. What would happen if humans actually embraced philosophy and became enlightened by it?”

Looking into Morph’s tranquil eyes, Hunter replied, “The world would change for the better.”

“What would it take for this enlightenment to happen?”

“People would have to be made aware of the truth?”

“Excellent answer. Awareness! Two groups of humans exist on Earth: aware and unaware.”

“Unaware of what?”

“You just had the answer. Truth. The majority of humans are unaware of the truth and unable to think for themselves, allowing others to create their thoughts for them. Their thoughts are created by lying politicians and governments and ritualists and negative books and all those media devices your technology has provided you.”

“Sounds like brainwashing.” Hunter drew a deep breath. “Why don’t we do something about it?”

“It is easier to let others make your decisions for you, let them create your reality.”

“Like a bunch of robots.”Cosmic Cave

“Yes. You humans allow others to do your thinking for you, preferring the easy way out. Someone needs to get the word out, think for yourself. Somebody needs to wake up the world. Perhaps you shall be the one to perform such a noble deed.”

“Maybe.” Hunter glanced at Eve, who remained asleep.

“An ancient axiom is, ‘Think your own thoughts, not the thoughts of others.’”

Metamorphosis smiled and rubbed his four hands over the fire. “I believe we have discussed enough for this evening. Excuse me, while I meditate. When there is silence, one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself.”

Morph turned around, removed his boots, folded his wings and crossed his legs in a full lotus position.

He curled his tail and raised his four arms skyward, remaining still.

Hunter stared at the sage’s shadow on the opposite cave wall, a shadow that few people on Earth would understand or accept as reality.

Hunter quietly dragged his bedroll closer to the fire, opened his artist satchel, and pulled out a piece of parchment paper and a pencil.

In the glow of the crackling flames, Morph lowered his four arms, turned around and grinned at Hunter. The sage placed his spectacles in his vest pocket and crawled under his wool blanket.

Alone with only his thoughts, Hunter hoped that they’d arrive at the Open Road soon.

The trip was taking longer than he had planned. Cosmic Cave

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