For me, the answer is yes. We all change some of our own beliefs. How is that so? In my own interpretation of Plato’s parable, the levels in the cave are like the stages in life and are represented by growing realizations and experiences. I also think that each stage or level in the parable reveals the stages of human growth. The first stage in the parable, which is characterized by chained people, is a metaphor representing the infant and child stage of humans. Like the confined people, children are not allowed to wander freely.
The prisoners also have their heads positioned forward in a way with which they cannot view anything behind them. They can only see the shadows casted by the fire and can only assume that what they are seeing is real. I think that this is also similar to children who are curious about the many things around them. With this mind, I think that the mentalities of both the chained people in the cave and children are the same: both subjective and trapped in ignorance. In the second stage some people are set free in the cave, and I believe that it is the next stage of human growth: being a teenager.
Some of the people in the cave are set free to wander about and I think that this symbolizes the time in our life where teenagers move away from their parents. After teenagers have been under their parent’s supervision for years, it’s natural that they want to go out and learn new things on their own. We’ve all been teenagers before and so we know how it feels. We want to experience new things ourselves, that being living on own or other things. Although, when we do encounter new experiences, we sometimes learn that it doesn’t always benefit us.
Sometimes when we experience this we change our vision or beliefs. Eventually we become used to it and become more familiar with the real world. The third stage symbolizes adult life. In this stage, some of the people in the cave are brought up and forced to see the sun. Once seeing the sun they experience extreme pain because they are not accustomed to the light. It can be compared to the pain of adulthood like jobs and finances. However after they are forced to stare at the sun, they become more accustomed to it.
I think that this symbolizes how many adults are subjective because they are just looking at the physical characteristics of the life that they’re living now. Some adults are known for their pessimistic thoughts about children and how they pity their ignorant actions; however, they forget that they had lived that stage of life and also had that same mindset. The fourth and last stage of the parable which deals with the descent back into the cave is the elderly stage. The people who are now in the cave are seen as absurd as they try to describe the shadows that they are seeing.
This is true because most old people are not really acknowledged by the young. They are mostly seen as slow and fragile and are not listened to when they try to give insight. In the parable, the one came down from the top tries to educate others on what he/she has seen but he/she is not heeded. Yes, as we grow older we change some of our beliefs. Some of us grow wiser with age and experience. Some people go out of their comfort zone as they experience some things. I believe that every person as they go through their stages of life step a little out of their comfort zone and form or change a bit of their beliefs.