We begun with an illusion that turns into a reality.
Through the last seven years I have studied. I have arisen from the pits of my own ignorance and lifted myself up by hanging from the sharpest and most dangerous edges of knowledge. I have learned. No one could say I have not. Yet, as I face the choice to continue on to a PhD program, I am being told the same thing I was preached when I first begun my student career:
‘You have to walk before you can run.’
I don’t know about you, but when I have done something for so long, read so many books with 300+ pages, turned in so many papers of 20+ pages, worked incessantly to tutor others, received so many A’s that I could obliterate an entire semester and my GPA would hardly change – and it is as close to perfection as it can be, and who knows what else, I resent the statement thoroughly.
I was once a lad, yes. I once wrote essays with a gleaming twinkle in the corner of my eye. I once felt the wander of starting a college career studying the ancients and learning of their culture, lives, wants and needs. That twinkle in the eye turned to a light bulb in the brain. A light bulb that shone unseen by foreign eyes and fueled, instead, the transformation of knowledge into understanding. What did I know when I started University? Nothing. But I was hopeful. Hopeful for the future, for what I was about to learn; because it was going to change me and my vision of a life spent not knowing any better.
What a crook…life.
Plato, I have spent seven years in the cave. Knowing that one day I would leave it has been the moral compass of my studies; I remained loyal to my zeal for knowledge by virtue of it. Twinkle lost I faced my enemy with courage as understanding wrote for me the essays of my life. I watched the shadows. I saw men of great wisdom flicker against dark walls, mixing with my own faded shade. I knew it wasn’t real; I knew the bright factuality of things existed outside of the cave. A cave through which we all must pass, even remain in, for a while. How pitiful indeed, that knowing where I wanted to go I could not, until time, that son of heaven, came.
And it did come.
Life afforded me the chance and momentum necessary to get up, shake of the shackles of University studies and move towards the cave’s entrance. I saw a light. It was bright and shining, like Sirius in the night sky. Wait. Like Sirius in the night sky? I approached it. The Guardian at the Entrance scowled at me in clear discontent. “Where are you headed?” “Outside.” He laughed. He told me I was naive for thinking the way out was so close to the shadows. He said I was not ready to move on. I pleaded; I pleaded with all I had. He stood, unmovable. I was pushed forward, by the force of understanding’s spirit. I moved on. I was allowed.
Plato never said the cave was this deep.
I looked north, I looked east and west. Darkness all around. Sirius and Orion ruled the high vaulted ceilings above me. The Twins, silently, watched over to the west. It was bright, the moon shone with uncanny resemblance to a dying sun. I turned. The Guardian at the Entrance had turned as well, from the shadows I had just left behind. He laughed. I smiled. I walked on. I could hear him laughing still. The light from the starry vaulted ceiling had fooled me. I though I had arrived, but I had only transferred from one form of darkness to another. I saw more light, towards another entrance, far to the north. Chasms and valleys in front of me challenged my determination. I saw others, charging forth. Many, stopped by a river or the mighty trunk of an ancient tree, looked desperate to find a way across or around. Some laid on the fresh grass, pointing at the beautiful moon above, gazing at the stars, drawing patters on parchment in the likeness of figures deep in the past.
Yes; fire once glittered in my eyes, its beauty was all I knew. It was a wonder to me, then. We always begin with an illusion which later turns into reality. Now, fire gone, for I had willingly walked away from it, I felt afraid, and cold, and disheartened; reality was frightening. You have to walk before you can run. To think they were right. What a crook is life, that makes us believe we have arrived when we have only just begun. But I arrived, it did come, the next step. A next step in the infinite ladder of progression towards truth. Plato never said the cave was this deep. If he would have, none of us would have ventured to leave it and seek the warm rays of the noon sun in the summer of our lives.
Stupid Plato. I got started and now I can’t stop. Onwards to the end. May the journey prove fruitful and the winds push me towards the opening, bathed in light. I shall walk there, I think. Running would make me miss the beauty of the night sky.