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Exploring Change in The Allegory of the Cave, and The Myth of Sisyphus

Exploring Change in The Allegory of the Cave, and The Myth of Sisyphus

The Allegory of the Cave, and The Myth of Sisyphus, are both attempts at explaining some aspect of the way people think or why humans do as observed. Both stories illustrate the same idea: without necessary and proper exposure to change, thinking is limited and ignorance is the direct product.

The Allegory of the Cave is a parable that demonstrates how humans are afraid of change and what they do not know. In this work, Plato suggests a situation in which men are living in an underground cave. The one entrance is located near the top and there, a burning fire casts shadow. The men of the cave are chained so that they can only see the wall and cannot turn around. When objects pass by it creates a shadow on the wall. The shadows are the only thing they can see and therefore is the only thing they know to exist (747). Somehow one of them gets loose and wanders outside the cave (748). When he gets out, he is astonished at what he finds. He comes back in to tell the others about what he saw. The other men think he is mad and plot to kill him (749). This illustrates how fear, inherent in the primitive nature of man, only serves to promote his ignorance.

Today a leading cause of stress is change; a change in your job, lifestyle, or significant others can cause stress. Many Americans are living longer and discovering, as a result, that the learning process can never really be allowed to stop. To be successful or sometimes even just to maintain a comfortable existence, one must adapt to the rapidly changing order. Acknowledging that there is more that needs knowing and embarking on new educational journeys requires courage and fortitude, due to man’s inherent nature of fear. Persons of the best natures must be compelled to attain a more complete knowledge, and those of this more complete education must expose the others to the realities of “ the beautiful, the just, and the good” (752). Often the path of explanation and clarification is unsure, but confining thought to merely the realms of the known can only prove fatal.

Individuals who currently oppose technological advances and also oppose the furthering of research mirror the cave dwellers who, out of fear, ridicule the newly enlightened wanderer.

Perspectives on the Book of Job

The Book of Job is one of the three books in the Hebrew bible whose genre is described as wisdom literature.1 Certainly the Book of Job satisfies the literary conventions that qualify a biblical book for such status. 2 Yet Job may be associated with wisdom in a much more literal sense. The Book of Job attempts to deal with a problematic question that confronts suffering humanity: why do bad things happen to good people? The variety and vehemence of commentators’ contemporary responses to this chapter of the Bible is testament to the continued relevance of the Book of Job’s wisdom thousands of years after it was written. Although the commentators examined herein arrive at differing and sometimes conflicting conclusions after reading the story of “the holy Arab”3, none are left indifferent.

The first commentator under consideration is Martin Buber in an excerpt from his Darko shel miqra’4. Buber draws an apt parallel between the Book of Job and the proceedings in a court of law, casting God as judge and Job as prosecution. In Buber’s legal parallel, Job demands what in an earthly court of law would amount to due process, or a fair trial. And yet, even as Buber confers the legitimacy of a court of law on Job’s complaints, Buber suggests that Job knew his appeal was “suppressed from the start.”5 Buber cites Job: “Though I am right, my mouth will condemn me!”6 By highlighting the justness of Job’s claims and the non-existent chance of a divine finding in Job’s favour, Buber stresses how human justice and divine justice diverge. This difference is highlighted further by discussion of how Job is made to suffer hinnam, or gratuitously, from both God and Job’s perspective.7

Rather than condem…

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…sterton, G. K.. “Introduction to The Book of Job.” The Hebrew Bible In Literary Criticism. Ed. and Comp. Alex Preminger and Edward L. Greenstein. New York: Ungar, 1986. 449-50.

Frick, Frank S.. A Journey Through The Hewbrew Scriptures. New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1995.

Hey, Tony and Patrick Walters. Einstein’s Mirror. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Jung, C. G.. Answer to Job. The Hebrew Bible In Literary Criticism. Ed. and Comp. Alex Preminger and Edward L. Greenstein. New York: Ungar, 1986. 454-5.

Kroll, Paul. “The Trial of Job”. Grace Communion: International. Grace Communion International, 2013. 26 February 2015.

René de Chateaubriand, François. The Beauties of Christianity. The Hebrew Bible In Literary Criticism. Ed. and Comp. Alex Preminger and Edward L. Greenstein. New York: Ungar, 1986. 445.

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