The Negative Consequences of Truth in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and Julio Cortazar’s The Night Face Up

Last Updated: 14 Mar 2023
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Michel De Montaigne's On Liars inquires “ls it true that one of the greatest abilities people can have is the ability to say Yes when they mean No and No when they mean Yes?" Does being able to lie with a straight face make life easier for people in today‘s society? ls lying well truly an advantageous ability to have? To my dismay, it seems that being dishonest is in fact an asset in today's world. The truth appears to bring many distressing consequences to those who are courageous enough to disclose and accept it. In Plato's Allegory of the Cave, the characters are chained at the neck and legs, forced to watch shadows dance on a wall for the entirety of their lives. These people don't know anything but the mere outlines of eXIstence. When one prisoner Is released from the dark and dreary cave, he explores the brightness and beauty of the real world.

He has never been warmed gently by the sun, smelled the grass, felt the breeze blowing through his hair. Once he gets a taste of these things, he never wants to go back to the hollow existence of the cave. Feeling sorry for the other prisoners, he returns to free them from the cave but they are reluctant to follow. Their reluctance turns to anger, and they wish to kill him because they do not want to accept that what they know is not the truth. Is this an allegory for our society? Are we skeptical of people who go against what we know? Are we angry enough to murder to stifle those who speak words of truth that we do not want to accept? Are we angry enough to murder to maintain the paradigm of our society? Julio Cortazar’s The Night Face Up explores the narrow bridge between life and death.

The main character is a motorcyclist who faces a nearly fatal accident and finds himself constricted in the hospital in his vulnerable state, he begins to slip back and forth between a hallucination about an Aztec civilization in which he is meant to be sacrificed, and his hospital reality. The hallucination features the man trying to escape from the sacrifice. I believe this is his brain fighting the harsh reality that death is looming in the distance. The man does not want to accept the fact that he is dying in the hospital, so his brain creates hallucination. In the end, he dies both in the hallucination and in reality. His lack of honesty to himself that his life is in fact ending is his downfall. In An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen, a small-town doctor faces the challenge of a problem that no one else believes exists. He discovers that the city's public bath system is infested with tiny microorganisms that could be detrimental to people‘s health.

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Unfortunately, no one believes the doctor's seemingly absurd observations. The doctor campaigns to have the public baths removed. but his brother, the mayor, is more concerned about the economy of the town than the safety of its people. The mayor does not want to “waste“ the town‘s money on something that he does not believe in. All of the townspeople side with the mayor, labeling the doctor an enemy of the people. They claim that he is crazy and that he knows nothing, though he is the only one who knows the truth. All are in denial except a ship captain named Hovstad. Hovstad believes the doctor, and as a result loses his job. The doctor and his family are shunned and no one will trust him again. All because he knew the truth. What would it take for people to accept when someone has an idea that they do not like? Must we always resort to shunning those who do not agree with us?

Stephen Crane's poem The Wayfayer makes an accurate metaphor to describe the truth: “ln the pathway to truth,..he saw that each weed was a singular knife, ‘Well,’ he mumbled at last, ‘doubtless there are other roads.“ Crane obsen/es that the road to truth is less traveled. In the beginning of the journey, people find it noble to take the road less traveled by. But when they see how potentially harmful the truth road is. they turn back and resort to the easier route. The metaphor shows how distressing the consequences are when telling the truth. On the contrary, an instance where the truth may not be entirely harmful is in the story of Don Quixote written by Miguel de Cervantes.

Though the title character is apparently “..dried up and... completely out of his mind..." his twisted reality of a world may be beneficial for him, Don Quixote believes he is a knight from the medieval times. Don Quixote rides an old mule and believes it is a noble steed. He engages in fierce battles with windmills he believes to be dragons. He bickers with an innkeeper he believes to be the keeper of a magnificent castle. Though he may be crazy. his living in a whimsical world is respectable. No disastrous harm comes of being abnormally imaginative. Are people so cruel as to discriminate against a little imagination? In most instances the truth is harmful to those who disclose it. As shown by the escaped prisoner in Allegory of the Cave, people will not always be accepting of people who know something other than the paradigm that they are used to.

It is human nature to oppress what we can not accept. Is it humanly possible to break this horrible habit of sorts? In some situations, the issue of truth comes up in ourselves, as shown in The Night Face Up. Sometimes, we do not want to admit to ourselves what we do not want to be true. We do not want to admit we are near death or that we are wrong. This is also human nature Is it humanly possible to break this horrible habit of sorts? In conclusion, the truth may hurt, but to tell the truth is better than to lie Though it may hurt, people deserve to know the truth and the whole truth, Honesty, or lack thereof, is one of humanity's many downfallst We can fix this downfall, if we learn to be more accepting of the truth and those who are brave enough to deliver it to us, no matter how much we wish to reject it.

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The Negative Consequences of Truth in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and Julio Cortazar’s The Night Face Up. (2023, Mar 14). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/the-negative-consequences-of-truth-in-platos-allegory-of-the-cave-and-julio-cortazars-the-night-face-up/

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