"He would not be able to do that at all," he said, "at least not right away."

"It would obviously take some getting accustomed, I think. if it is a matter of grasping with one's eyes that which is up there (outside the cave, in the light of the sun). And (in this process of getting accustomed) he would first and most easily be able to look at shadows, and thereafter at the images of people and of other things as they are reflected in water. Later, however, he would be able to view the things themselves (the beings, instead of the dim reflections). But within the range of such things, it might be easier for him to contemplate whatever there is in the heavenly vault, and the vault itself, by doing so at night, by looking at the light of the stars and the moon, (easier, that is to say,) than by looking at the sun and its glare during the day." "Certainly."

[117 {GA 9: 211}] "But I think that finally he would be in a condition to look at the sun itself, not just at its reflection whether in water or wherever else it might appear, but at the sun itself, as it is in and of itself and in the place proper to it, and to contemplate of what sort it is." "It would necessarily happen this way," he said.

"And having done all that, by this time he would also be able to gather the following about it (the sun): that it is that which grants both the seasons and the years and that which governs whatever there is in the (now) visible region (of sunlight), and moreover that it (the sun) is also the cause of all those things that the people (who dwell below in the cave) in some way have before their eyes."

"It is obvious," he said, "that he would get to these (the sun and whatever stands in its light) after he had gone out beyond those (that are merely reflections and shadows)."

"And then what? If he again recalled his first dwelling, and the 'knowing' that passes as the norm there, and those with whom he once was chained, 6 do you not think he would consider himself lucky because of the transformation (that had happened) and by contrast feel sorry for them?" "Very much so."


Martin Heidegger (GA 9) Pathmarks