Cave Allegory - Essay Example

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In the allegory of the cave, Plato quotes Socrates as saying, “Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light”…
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Cave Allegory
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Download file to see previous pages From the time I was a child, down to this very day, there has been one constant in my life that has given me direction. That constant is work. I can never remember a time when I have not been working to accomplish some sort of self-imposed goal. Some of my earliest memories are of shining my grandfather’s boots for a quarter. I had carried groceries, fed dogs, trimmed lawns, weeded gardens and delivered newspapers all before the age of eight. As I matured, the work in which I engaged became more complex, physical and financially rewarding. My memories of working are probably so vivid because coupled with this desire to work has been the desire for stuff. I have been blessed and cursed with an inordinate streak of materialism. Like a raven, I am constantly attracted to shiny baubles and glittering gizmos. For the first two decades of my life, this focus on material possessions and the accumulation of artifacts was the drive behind my work efforts. Coming from a thoroughly working class background, money was not something my parents had to give to me. I’m not sure how, but I always instinctively knew this from the earliest age. My mother has told me that I have never asked for a toy while in a shop; not even so much as a piece of candy. Somehow I always realized that the answer would be a resounding no. So I did what I observed the adults in my community doing. I worked for what I wanted. The praise for my work ethic came early and often. “Such as good helper” and “What a hard worker” was like the refrain of a sweet song I loved to hear. Work and save was the order of the day. Buy the gadget and then another. Impress your friends with your stuff. Looking back, I can see that what I thought was the due reward to a job well done was actually a sort of blindness that kept me from seeing and experiencing so much of life that is beautiful and sustaining. My materialism was not a reward. It was a shroud that blocked out the light of a greater way. Everything in my life was jolted by the death of a cousin and dear friend during a summer holiday. In the morning we were on the beach, having a wonderful time. By the time for our evening meal, she was dead in the hospital. No one understood what had happened, but later the entire family would get and education we neither wanted nor asked for in the biology of the brain and the dangers of aneurisms. My first experience with the death of a loved one was like a light being shone into a cave for the first time. I suddenly saw that despite all of my possessions and my admirable willingness to work for them, they were in fact of little worth. Amid the brooding and mourning in the weeks following the death of my cousin, I realized for the first time in my life that everything I had worked so hard to accomplish was truly transitory. I would die, just like my cousin. No amount of MP3 players or fine clothes would change this fact. I became depressed. The center of my world, my stuff, now held no joy for me. My depression was, thankfully, of the 24-hour variety. I found that my new perspective on life and death was somehow liberating. For the first time in memory, I spent an entire day not thinking about what I was going to buy next or how I was going to earn my next bit of money. I spread a blanket in a nearby park and watched squirrels for four hours. I took a nap. I read a book (not a sales catalog) for the first time in months. I meditated. I asked myself a question. What good is work if all it gets me is stuff? I am not a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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