Friday, July 25, 2014

Katy Perry Walks Out of Plato's Cave

In the Republic, Plato gives us his famous allegory of the cave. According to Plato, the allegory of the cave, partly, helps to show the value of education. The allegory is roughly structured as follows:

Imagine that people are inside of a cave and that they are chained to the wall. These people are facing another wall - a viewing wall. Behind them there is a fire and a bridge. When things are taken across the bridge, in front of the fire, their shadow projects onto the viewing wall. Thus, the prisoners see the shadows of physical objects. Having only seen shadows, the prisoners come to believe that the shadows of objects are the real objects themselves. However, if the prisoner's were to be unchained and to go outside into the sunlight, they would see the real objects themselves, and they would realize that what they had previously thought was real (the shadows) isn't real. (for a much more more detailed and in-depth explanation of the purpose of Plato's Cave click here and here).

Plato thought that even though it's uncomfortable and at times painful, learning the truth about the world or reality is better than living a life of thinking or believing false things. Keeping with the analogy, having been chained in the cave for your entire life, it would hurt to walk outside: the sun would be blinding, the psychological and emotional impact of realizing everything you thought was real isn't, the desire to go back into the cave may be stronger than the desire to venture out, etc. However, even though it hurts, it's still better to understand the truth about the world than to life thinking that shadows are objects themselves. (Note: this general idea is similar to the premise of The Matrix; if you haven't seen that movie yet, go see it!).

Now, to relate "Wide Awake" to the allegory of the cave:

Let's look at the lyrics:
"Yeah, I was in the dark.
I was falling hard 
With an open heart
(I'm wide awake).  
How did I read the stars 
So wrong?
(I'm wide awake). 
And now it's clear to me  
That everything you see 
Ain't always what it seems
(I'm wide awake)
Yeah, I was dreaming for 
So long." 

It seems like Katy is describing the feeling that one gets when they walk out of the cave and into the light ("how did I read the stars so wrong..."). After this initial, brief, description, she goes on to describe the lesson she has learned ("everything you see ain't always what it seems..."). In the pre-chorus Katy Perry offers a nice explanation of the shock and pain you experience when you come out of Plato's Cave:
"I wish I knew then 
What I know now
Wouldn't dive in. 
Wouldn't bow down. 
Gravity hurts.
You made it so sweet, 
'Til I woke up on, 
On the concrete."

Like Plato though, it seems as if Katy Perry thinks that the quest for truth and understanding is a worthy pursuit.
"I'm wide awake.
Not losing any sleep;
I picked up every piece,
And landed on my feet.
I'm wide awake.
Need nothing to complete myself, no."

If you can stand getting out of the cave, you will then want to continue seeking truth and your life will be better as a result. Seeking the truth, and eventually facing it, will help you get better at handling other truths. Though it hurts, it sounds like Katy Perry's quest for truth has left her happier than she was before ;) 


  1. I really like Katy Perry, has great music and very good voice. I probably like the most is called "last Friday"

  2. The written piece is truly fruitful for me personally; continue posting these types of articles.

    Bethany Kapell

  3. This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. This is very nice one and gives indepth information. Thanks for this nice article. music