Friday, February 26, 2010


I've been thinking about this a lot lately.... opinions that is and how they're formed and why some people have some very strong opinions... Here's what I've come up with.

People's opinions are formed largely based on their own experiences. People have these experiences that make up who they are and what they believe, thus making up their opinions. Some of these opinions are so strong that it is hard for them to believe anything else, even if that something else is based on fact (or truth). These people have opinions based on their experiences, based on what they've seen or heard or tasted or whatever themselves, so how can anything else be, right?

It really reminds me of Plato's cave. These cave dwellers (and prisoners... which I think is important to note) form opinions based upon their experiences. All they know is the shadows that are cast on the wall in front of them. They've never experienced anything else, but they have experienced that and so that must be how things really are, after all they've seen it themselves. It must be reality.

However, one cave dweller escapes and leaves the cave and sees so much more! He sees color and flowers and trees, real trees! He sees shape and textures! This was all difficult though, a bit bright when he first got out and he had to open his eyes, look around and spend some time before he really "saw". But it was wonderful! And so what does he do? Well, of course he must run down and tell the other cave dwellers. How can he keep all of that to himself! He goes down and shares with the other cave dwellers what he has seen. They don't believe him, what is he even talking about? They've had experiences and their opinions are based on that and they "know" because they've "seen". This guy, this crazy man, he doesn't know what he's talking about. So what do they do? Plato suggests that they might kill him! They'd kill him because they can't imagine that he's right, because there are so many more of them than there is of him, because they are too narrow-minded (how can they not be, he was sharing something with them that was far from what they could even imagine, they had nothing to relate it to).

Sounds absurd, doesn't it? And yet, it seems that's what people do in life.... not literally, but quite figuratively do people get hanged because they share something else that is contrary to what others believe. But maybe, just maybe they're not making those things up? Maybe they've seen more, they've experienced more that allows them to understand on a different level. I, myself, am quite guilty of this... I've definitely been one of those little cave dwellers, just relying on my experiences and not believing what others tell me. But, I don't want to be a cave dweller stuck in the cave. The cave dwellers had such a limited view- they could only see what was right in front of them, they could not see the source of those things. I need to be more open-minded.

You know, we're supposed to be as little children... think about it? Little children are curious, they take in everything! They ask questions, they want to know opinions, they don't block them out. I used to be like that... I used to ask questions, take in everything, I was a sponge, even all through college.... and then, then something changed. I got stuck in the cave! Maybe it's because I've had so many experiences in my years, that I've numbed myself to any other possibilities than what I've already figured to be right. Maybe because it's just so much easier to just stare at the shapes as they dance in front of me, than it is to go looking for answers. And once you do that, it's so much more painful than just seeing what you've always seen. Whatever it is, I am done with living in the cave. Ladies and gentlemen, I am coming out. This also means, that as I learn things and continue to become the person that I want to be, that I cannot be afraid to teach others or express to others what I have learned... because at the end of the day, I'd rather have a greater understanding of things, than to have it the easy way, unenlightened way.

Well, I don't even know if this is very coherent, and as such is the case so often, I am tired and do not feel like re-reading now to make changes....
What do you think?