“In fact, you get pretty good at understanding how the patterns in the show work, and everyone else chained up is like, ‘Holy shit bro, how did you know that that tree was going to fall on that guy?’ and you’re like, ‘It’s because I fucking pay attention and I’m smart as shit.’ You’re the smartest of the chained, and they all revere you.”
Glaucon: “But Socrates, a tree didn’t really hit a guy. It’s all shadows.”
Socrates: “No shit, Glaucon, but you don’t know that. You think the shadows are real things. Everyone does. Now shut up and let me finish.
“So eventually, someone comes and unchains you and drags you out of the cave. At first you’d say, ‘Seriously, what the fuck is going on?!’ Well, actually, at first you’d say, ‘HOLY SHIT MY EYES’ and you’d want to go back to the safe, familiar shadows. But even once your eyes worked you wouldn’t believe them, because everything you ever thought was real is gone. You’d look at a tree, and say ‘That’s not a tree. I know trees. And you, sir, are no tree. THAT DOWN THERE is a tree.’ But you’re wrong. Down there is a shadow of a tree.
“Slowly, as your eyes got better, you’d see more and more shit. Eventually, you’d see the sun, and realize that it’s the source of all light. You can’t see shit without the sun. And eventually, you’d figure it out. Something would click in your brain: ‘oh, shit, that IS a tree. Fuck me. So… nothing in the cave was real? I feel like such an asshole.’ But it’s not your fault, so don’t be so hard on yourself.
“Finally you’d want to go down and tell everyone about everything you’ve discovered. Except, and here’s the hilarious part, they think you’ve gone fucking crazy. You’d say, ‘Guys, real trees are green!’ and they’d say, ‘What the fuck is green? THAT is a tree over there.’ And you’d squint and look at the wall, but you know you’re fucked because now you’re used to having sunlight, and now you can’t see shit. So they’d laugh at you, and agree that wherever it was that you went, no one should go there because it turns people into dickheads.
“Philosophy, same thing. The soul ascends and apprehends the forms, the nature of everything, and eventually the very Idea of Good that gives light to everything else. And then the philosopher has to go back to the cave and try to explain it to people who don’t even know what Green is, to say nothing of the Good. But the philosopher didn’t make up the Good, it was always there, and the only way to really make sense of it is to uncover it for yourself. You can’t force knowledge into a dumbass any more than you can force sight into a blind man.