Trapped in the Cave with a Blue Light

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Most people have had those nights, when they just cannot sleep, even though they are so tired. Well, that is due to the draw of twitter, Instagram, or any other social media platform. Their brain, has been tricked into believing that it is day due to the enchanting blue light of social media. Our brain is a magnificent part of us, we correlate our intelligence with it, however our brain often gets confused. Not because it is stupid, but because it sees the information and does not question if it is real. Like in social media we do not question, if those are the girl’s real lips or if it is the guys real car, we just retain the information and either praise it or hate on it.

In “The Allegory of the Cave,” written by the great philosopher Plato, there are prisoners who have been trapped all their lives in the cave looking at shadows on a wall without any question. They do not question it they just think the shadows are actual things not just a dark projection of it, until one day one of the prisoners escape and find out they were shadows all along. In addition, in the podcast Post-Shoot by Hanna Rosin, she tells a story about a young boy, Brandon Wingo, who was killed because a social media post made him seem like a gangster.

Just like the people in the “Allegory of the Cave,” the young men who killed the Wingo are prisoners of a cave. Because, their brain assumed that the young man was a gangster against them because of his gangster like post, but they never met him to know that he was just putting on an act to seem tough. Society at large believes, social media post without question, which leads to limited projections of the possible truths and entrapment of all in a dark cave.

Today we are living in the modern cave, the screen on our phone acts as the wall of a cave only to see crafted projections. Have you ever wondered how an influencer’s life is so perfect? They have a marvelous life, are in a happy relationship, and have a wonderful family, everything one can ask for. Their life might seem perfect, but in reality they are putting out a show for their audience. Most of us surf through social media because it is an escape from the problems in our lives, so it makes sense why they would put out joyful content. We do not get the chance to see their true normal selves, the self that is completely normal since we all have bad days and feel sad someday.

Because we are only seeing them through the screens on our phones, not in person. Just like Plato states in his “Allegory of the Cave,” “Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and the wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets” (303). Plato explains in the allegory that prisoners are only able to see the shadows cast on the wall by passing objects, people, or animals, which act like shadow puppetry because they only see the projection of what is behind them. In the same way, how social media works the creators use their plat form to fabricate a life that is ideal for the viewer, so acting like puppets for the viewer.

Correspondently, such as the prisoners of the cave they do not see if things overlap just like when you are doing shadow puppets with your hands, you can make the show look like a bunny, but when they see your hand it just looks like a regular hand with two fingers up. In like manner, influencers can portray a person they are not because we are only seeing them through the screen and do not see behind the camera. For example, the prior YouTube couple, Jen Smith and Jesse Wellens, who went by the name PrankvsPrank or BFvsGF, shared a video about their break up called “A New Chapter.” In this video, Smith says “So everyone thinks everything perfect, everybody thinks that we have a perfect life and it’s really not at all, what people sometimes think everybody has problems, everybody has issues and we choose not to put that in the videos” (00:00:56-00:01:10). In this video, they describe how you only see them happy when they were not, because they decided to share what is appealing to the viewer only. This is a prime example of how we are all trapped in the cave that is called our phones and we only see the false portrayal of people. Not only do we see their perfectly molded life, but also we see their falsified lifestyle, that can cause a negative effect.

We follow people on social media because they live the life we want to live, many just portray the life they want to live too, with fake post. However, we do not realize that because we have been imprisoned to into believing so, sadly that may come with a deadly or painful price. Many times they flash their money, their expensive shoes, cars, and especially their extravagant vacations. At times, many of them get caught taking a picture of a random car in the street, having a fake brand shoe, and even faking a vacation. Some of them even fake having a gang lifestyle, just like Brandon Wingo from the podcast “Post, Shoot” in his post on twitter he’d post gang related content, which makes him seem like a gangster that lead to his death.

In “Post, Shoot” Rosin reveals that “…he was pretty much a good kid… Brad Wingo, what I came up with wasn’t any dark secret. It was more like Nickelodeon antics,” and then she was exposed to “A Twitter banner of a guy pointing a gun right at you…And then there was this one – Brandon on the couch with four friends, all of them making hand symbols and the caption, a lot of shooters in my clique. Gang, let’s go do a hit,” (00:05:25-00:00:05:29, 00:07:08-00:07:34). In person Wingo has a pretty good kid, but his social media post that made him seem like a gangster, although his post were gangster like he was an actual good kid who needed to look tough. Alas, which later led him to his death because the men who killed him believed he was a part of a rival gang. In his case the rival gang the ones who were deceived by his post that lead to his death, likewise in the “Allegory of the Cave” the prisoners were deceived by the shadows on the walls and the darkness of the cave.

As a matter of fact, Plato addressed the dangers of being imprisoned without actual knowledge of the outside world, similarly how we only rely on social media for our facts. Plato points out “And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take refuge in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?” (304). He explains after one prisoner was released out of the cave, he will be in pain since he was not used to the sunlight hitting his eyes. He would be unaware that the sunlight would cause him to suffer because he was misled by being trapped in the cave all his life.

Everyone’s eyes hurt when they stare at the sun and if you stare long enough you will damage your retina permanently, but we are aware because we are told as a kid and become expose to it. Unlike, the prisoner he was not informed and may have damaged his retina already, since he only knowledge he acquired is from being trapped in a cave all his life. Comparatively, to the men who killed Wingo they only obtained information from Wingo’s twitter post and did not even think to make outside research, because they have been accustomed to only rely on social media. In fact, most people rely on social media to receive their facts, for that reason many people are also misled and spread false facts.

Being misled by people on social media means you have been imprisoned into believing others second hand knowledge, equivalent to the prisoners in the cave they believed the shadows were real so prisoners spread that truth without knowing if it is valid. The ongoing debate right now, is what can we believe now in days? Who is telling the truth? Is it fake news? Many people no on social media are self-proclaimed experts, which leads too many false facts being spread. Due to this people are tricked into following these facts that may have a negative effect on them. In effect, this leads those same people to share those false facts that causes a domino effect. John H. Arnold says it best in “The telling of Truth” article “first, that the polarity of fact and meaning is untenable, as no ‘fact’, no ‘truth’, can be spoken outside a context of meaning, interpretation and judgment.” (115).

By that he meant that there is a difference between the truth and fact, many people have their own truths, but it may not be another person’s truth. The facts are something that is proven to be real with evidence, yet people still get confused whether the information is the person’s truth or is it a fact. Which is understandable because you give the people you follow the benefit of the doubt. However, multiple people trust others in social media without the proper exposure of proof, which can lead to bad consequences as best said in Plato’s allegory.

Nevertheless, trusting people in the social media cave with you, may be dangerous because if the wrong facts are given it may chance a person’s decision making for life. For instance, in the article  “The overlooked dangers of anti-vaccination groups’ social media presence” by Ayelet Evrony and  Arthur Caplan, point out “There is also growing concern that false and misleading claims about science and public health are having significant impact on politics and policy in the U.S. A Voice for Choice is an example of how an anti-vaccination group can harness the power of social media to promote uncorroborated claims that engender fear.”

In this case, it is very dangerous to share false claims about health because this has to due with a person’s health and is mainly influenced by social media. So much so that that it is causing a major concern in the United States because this is actually causing people harm. People who are Anti-vaxx are imprisoned in the modern cave of social media, because they spread false information. Since themselves were also given that false information causing an effect on very such as with the allegory of the cave the prisoners spread false information because themselves were also given that false information.

Ultimately, social media was supposed to open new doors to society, to make it easier to communicate with each other and spread happiness. Moreover, give us a platform to express our freedom of speech. On the contrary, it imprisons us because we forget or do not realize there is more to the post, there is an actual person behind the screen of our phones.  The prisoners in “The allegory of the Cave” at least knew they were imprisoned, we do not. The difference between the prisoners in the cave and us is that they got fooled by shadows and we got fooled by social media post. We should not believe everything we see online and do not post false information because it can have very negative effects that can lead to pain and suffering.

Works Cited

  1. Arnold, John H. “The Telling of Truth.” History: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 115–115.
  2. Evrony, Ayelet, and Arthur Caplan. “The Overlooked Dangers of Anti-Vaccination Groups’ Social Media Presence.” Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, Taylor & Francis, 3 June 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5489284/.
  3. Plato. “The Allegory of the Cave.” 50 Essays: A portable Anthology, Edited by Samuel Cohen, Fourth Edition, Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2014, pp.303-304
  4. Rosin, Hanna. “Post, Shoot.” Invisibilia, From NP, 15 March 2019, https://www.npr.org/Templates/Transcript/Transcript.php?StoryId=700738025
  5. Smith, Jen, and Wellens, Jesse. “A New Chapter.” YouTube, uploaded by Jen Smith, 18 May 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0KazRqIJ9U&t=425s

Cite this paper

Trapped in the Cave with a Blue Light. (2021, Jan 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/trapped-in-the-cave-with-a-blue-light/



How did the boys get trapped in cave?
The boys got trapped in the cave due to heavy rainfall that flooded the cave and blocked their exit. They were exploring the cave with their coach when the incident happened.
How much did Thai cave rescue cost?
The cave rescue in Thailand cost an estimated $130,000. The majority of the cost went towards paying for the divers and their equipment.
Is the Tham Luang cave still open?
Yes, the Tham Luang cave is still open.
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