The story of The Cave
1) Some people are in a cave, facing a wall and are chained down. They have been there since birth.
2) Behind them is a fire - people are carrying puppets of which the shadows show up on the wall.
3) They are in total darkness, all they can see is the shadows cast by artificial objects, and all they can hear is distorted echoes
4) One day, a prisoner decides to break free from his chains, and leaves the cave, despite his confusion.
5) It is a difficult journey, but he manages to complete it.
6) At first he is blinded by the light, but his vision soon adjusts and he sees what the world is really like.
7) He returns to the cave to tell the others of his discovery.
8) The others reject his knowledge and threaten to kill him if he returns again. They'd rather play games of guessing which shadow will appear next.
The SIMPLE Story
1) Wall, Chained, Birth
2) Fire, Shadows, Puppets
3) Darkness, Objects, Echoes
4) Breaks, Leaves, Confused
5) Completes difficult journey
6) Blinded, Adjusts, Reality
7) Returns, Cave, Tell
8) Reject, Threaten, Play
From Plato's Book The Republic VII
Plato (a little detailed)
Plato was a rationalist (believing that knowledge comes only from theory and not experience - a priori). His story of The Cave was written as an allegory (something that represents real events and world views). Before writing 'The Cave', Socrates (who was Plato's teacher and idol) had been executed for his unconventional beliefs and methods of spreading knowledge. Plato wished for people to open their minds and see beyond the world around them; the escapee is often considered to represent Socrates and indeed how he was viewed by society.
Rationalist (not empericist)
Allow to see world around them
Escapee considered Socrates
Elements of The Cave
The Cave - The world in which we live. We consider it the real world as we don't know any differently.
The Prisoners - Normal people; we see around us and take what we know for granted (empirical knowledge)
The Chains - Human thoughts and desires. Constrain us and keep us from our true philosophical potential
The Fire - Minimal goodness; the good we see in our world
The Escapee - The Philosopher. His desire to learn makes him leave the cave, and his will to spead knowledge sends him back
The Difficult Ascent - Our difficult journey on the path to true knowledge
The Sun - True goodness; the ultimate good
Shileded Eyes - At first, the escapee finds the truth hard to accept
The Guessing Games - Lower state of mind based on artificial understanding: the other prisoners had no philosophical insight
Easy Cave Elements
The Cave - What we physically see
The Prisoners - Normal people
The Chains - Human thoughts
The Shadows - Objects of our world
The Fire - Goodness we see
The Escapee - The philosopher
The Difficult Ascent - Seeking true knowledge
The Sun - True goodness
Shielded eyes - Truth is difficult
The Guessing Games - low understanding/philosophical potential