What is the Form and does it exist in reality? After reading the Allegory of the Cave, written by Plato, I start questioning my own knowledge and belief.
The reading makes me think that the world can be very unnatural, and many things can be vague; many original thoughts seem to be difficult to be proved. Out of those curiosities, the question “what is the true Form in reality and how does it affect people’s decisions?” bothers me the most because the true Form might alter the way we behave. Based on Plato’s idea, for any conceivable thing or property, there is a corresponding Form. In other words, the Form is a perfect example of that thing or property. The definition itself isunderstandable. For example, if one knows the Form of the circle, he can draw out the circle perfectly.
How good his drawing is will depend on his ability to recognize the Form of the circle. Therefore, if we can conceive the Idea or the Form of a perfect thing in our mind, there is an independently-existing abstract perfect Idea of that thing. I am urging to find the answer to this raising question because it is the core problem that can lead to many other critical questions such as who creates the Form? If it exists, how do we know it is the absolute true Form? If it doesn’t exist, are we being controlled by the Idea or the Form, which might be created by ourselves? According to the Allegory of the Cave, Plato suggests that what people take to be real does not guarantee that it is the truth. In fact, he believes that those things that we can touch and see are nothing but an illusion.
However, going parallelly with this unreliable physical world is a world of permanence and reliability; he calls it the world of ‘Forms’ or ‘Ideas’. He explains his thoughts about the world of Forms by introducing a picture of a group of people who spend their whole lives living in a cave. ….. However, when I tried to apply the concept of Form into the living world, things start to get complicated and I start questioning his logic. The example of the circle shows clearly that the Form of the circle is known worldwide, but what about the Form of a perfect friendship, happy marriage, or a successful person? Theoretically, we have the perfect examples of these things in our world, however, they are not fixed. Different religions and different communities will have different perfect Forms.
For instance, in my hometown Vietnam, the Form of a successful man is someone who has a capable wife, one who cook and clean, and many smart children. When I visited the U.S, the abstract Idea of a successful man is someone with a strong financial stability and a good career, which is totally different from that of Vietnam. A more simple illustration is that one country calls all spoons, regardless of size simply “spoons”, and another country calls the small ones “spoons”, the big ones “soup ladles”. Both examples show that we can have more than one Ideal Form of the same thing, then the question rises, which Idea is the true realm of Forms? Does the true Form of these conceivable things even exist? In this case, it is possible to think that the Form could be a great convention of humanity.
We create the Form to give ourselves a guidance to follow or an ideal standard to achieve. If those guidances and ideal standards are controlling our lives, we have no clue about whether we are living up to our real desire or we are simply following what the Form leads us to do. For example, the Idea or the Form of a successful person is to have a good career. Then we will try to do anything to get a good career because we want to be successful.
We will first try to get into a good university/college, then earn good GPA, apply for internships, and the to-do list goes on. On the other hand, people who believe the Form of a success is to have a great family will follow a different path and make different decisions. The main point here is everyone who has the same Idea of success will most likely end up following one same standard path. Our actions or decisions are made based on the Ideas we have in our mind, abstractly and independently of the sensible world. Does the true form exist in reality? What is the real definition or the true Form of a successful person? And if the Idea or the Form can be possibly created by humans, isn’t the theory of the Form a dangerous thing to have? The Form seems to be a propaganda now. Social media, marketing strategy, etc. We are going on a foreseen path.
should I go into this part? I feel like I include too many differences idea in this paper alreadyDo we control the true form as a society? Plato has made a very interesting point about the Form, especially when he uses the Form of mathematics to explain the definition of the Form. Yet, it is even more interesting when I dig deeper into the theory of the Form and try to apply the concept to our everyday life. Many problems and questions arise. Does the true Form exist in our living world? Are we living in a world where the Form exists? Or are we simply living in the world of propaganda? There is no absolute right answer to the question “what is the true Form in reality and how does it affect people’s decisions? Instead, we obtain more smaller yet strongly related questions as we are trying to understand the true answer(s). Although there is no right answer, I believe people should take this sophisticated question into consideration.Citation:Plato, The Republic.
2d ed. Translated by Allan Bloom, Basic Books, 1968.1