I am curious what other blog readers think this story tells us about education. It has been interpreted differently by different scholars depending on the points they wish to make. A tradesman might see another story.
One of the things I find interesting in Plato's allegory is that it illustrates how things can be seen differently from differing points of view, and one of the problems in American education is that we have divided education along class lines, of either the trades or academic advancement, whereas most early educators believed that all, even those of the highest academic advancement should learn trades fro the skill and character they impart. In light of this read Socrates dialog with Glaucon as follows:
[Socrates] Then, I said, the business of us who are the founders of the State will be to compel the best minds to attain that knowledge which we have already shown to be the greatest of all-they must continue to ascend until they arrive at the good; but when they have ascended and seen enough we must not allow them to do as they do now.Just open your eyes and look at the mess we have made of economy and culture by neglecting to reinforce each child's responsible, creative and productive inclinations.
[Glaucon] What do you mean?
[Socrates] I mean that they remain in the upper world: but this must not be allowed; they must be made to descend again among the prisoners in the cave, and partake of their labors and honors, whether they are worth having or not.
[Glaucon] But is not this unjust? he said; ought we to give them a worse life, when they might have a better?
[Socrates] You have again forgotten, my friend, I said, the intention of the legislator, who did not aim at making any one class in the State happy above the rest; the happiness was to be in the whole State, and he held the citizens together by persuasion and necessity, making them benefactors of the State, and therefore benefactors of one another; to this end he created them, not to please themselves, but to be his instruments in binding up the State.
You could look at Plato's allegory as being relevant to modern American society and politics. What do you think? Are there things we might learn from it? In the US, we have a huge number of people who are imprisoned by ignorance resulting from disinterest fostered by their schooling. Marching across the cave behind the wall, are those who attempt to control their thoughts.
Make, fix and create.