John Artibello’s essay, ‘Leaving the cave’, throws light upon an important aspect of our lives. According to him, it is only through a man’s deliberate attempt to understand his world and ultimately himself that he is able to achieve a truly meaningful life. Ignorance saves a person from the tedious process of knowing the answers to every difficult question, yet it is ignorance that imprisons the person to what is superficial and illusionary. In today’s market-driven society, people easily fall into the trap of the same run-of-the-mill desire for material things and for the glitz and vivid colors of the media.
Their blind adherence to seek material and physical pleasures prevents them from breaking away from such a cycle. This is not a new phenomenon; rather Socrates had addressed it two thousand years ago. He said that most men cannot see beyond the illusions of life and are stuck with the shallow and false appearances of the world at the surface level. They are like men chained to the ground inside the caves since childbirth and are unable to plumb the true meaning of what they see. However, once a person is set free to investigate the outside world, he will at once begin to perceive reality in all its overwhelming plentitude.
From there he would be able to pursue a life, which is full of meaning and significance and would thus achieve lasting happiness. For me, leaving the cave means turning my back on the expectations of my parents that they have from me. I would get light in the form of achieving my own individuality and discovering my independence. I have an elder sister and a younger brother. My sister has attended only two years of school and has not turned up to what according to my parents is a good person with appropriate mannerisms and habits.
In order to reduce the disappointment that they face because of my sister, they want me to excel in everything that I do especially in the academics. The plight does not end here. They also burden me with the responsibility of taking care of my brother, as they feel that it is my duty to do so because I am elder to him. I am the one who is blamed for his inappropriate behavior or bad marks in school. This situation symbolizes the ‘cave’ in my life. I eagerly want to step out of this cave and live life on my own terms and not the one dictated by my parents.
I want to be responsible for only my own conducts and not that of my siblings. I want to show that I have my own personality, desires, likes and dislikes and hence no one should ever impose anything on me. I want to project myself as the master of my own self and not a puppet of my parents’ expectations and desires. The ‘light’ in my situation is to be able to carve my own niche and not be compared to my siblings in any way. To be able to build my own identity without any strings attached to others signifies ‘light’ in my life.
I am an independent human being and should be judged on the basis of my own achievements and not that of others. If I am able to achieve this I would consider myself successful in moving from the chains that have withheld me in the cave of duty and a sense of making others happy. Thus I would tread a path in which I am able to fulfill my own desires and attain my own happiness and personal satisfaction. Hence the essay ‘Leaving the cave’ by John Artibello is a great eye-opener for me as through it I was able to judge the reason of my dissatisfaction.
It also helped me in identifying the ways in which I can improve my situation. Till I read this essay, I was in a cave but after reading it I started seeing the first beams of light. I am glad that with the gained knowledge and my personal introspection the beam of light is getting bigger and bigger. Very soon I would leave behind the darkness completely and embrace light fully. References Artibello, J. (YEAR). Leaving the cave. [Insert PLACE OF PUBLICATION: PUBLISHER].
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