“The world of ideas is reality and the world around us is a figment of our imagination”
The reason why I love to explore and discover, such things as philosophy, science and basically anything to do with us humans and all that surrounds us, is to seek out and get closer to our truth, as early on in life I kinda figured most of what is forced down us is not the real deal and very much an illusion, although back then I couldn’t quite articulate that ,it was just a feeling, and nor was I given the space to question and explore; therefore all it was to me was a colossal of confusion. However, now I’m able to seek out resources that go into depth about such matters and emotions that I’m feeling at any particular time, to make some sense out of the nonsense.
So in my quest to understand the difference between the real and the illusionary, I came across the works from Plato in Book 7: The Republic. In this book Plato explains that there must be a world of ideas which is reality at its truest; it contains the ideal forms of everything and its something innate, thus we are born with. (I’m guessing this relates to our intuition in some way.) In contrast, illusion is the world of our senses i.e. sight, hearing, taste smell and touch. Plato states that the senses create the material world, which he believes to be the imperfect copies of the ideal forms(i.e. reality).
“imagine a number of men living in an underground chamber …in which they have been confined from childhood…they are obliged to sit still and look forwards…and imagine a bright fire burning some way off…like the screens which conjurors put up in front of their audience, and above of which they exhibit their wonders.” Plato
Therefore, they are seeing a shadow of the actual object itself projected on the cave wall, however they believe these shadows to be real when in actual fact they are phantoms, and any suggestion that they are anything but real is absurd to them.
To sum up Plato’s idea he believes everything in this world is a shadow of its ideal form in the world of ideas. And to break that down; the world of ideas is reality and the world around us is a figment of our imagination, therefore are copies of the real thing and everything around is modelled on that. For example , let’s say we have the innate idea of a perfect chair we want and then design it specific to our taste, once this chair has been made and we can actually see it, touch it etc our natural inclination is that it is now a real thing, why would we think otherwise? However, Plato states that because it is our senses that created it, therefore it is in actual fact a copy of the real thing as senses cannot perceive this place of innate ideas directly, it can only be perceptible to us through reason only.
Hmmm, this is interesting theory, maybe that’s why companies are constantly coming out with newer versions of old products all the time? as we are never satisfied and not only is it because we are evolving all the time, hence the growth in technology etc, but according to Plato we are not satisfied because deep down the materialistic items we possess are not the real deal, we just want them to be each time?
Let me know your thoughts 🙂 x
-Sophia Alisa Ali©
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