visible form in a certain way, namely, in the glow of the man-made fire of the cave, and they are no longer hidden by the shadows they project. As long as one encounters nothing but shadows, these hold one's gaze captive and thus insinuate themselves in place of the things themselves. But when one's gaze is freed from its captivity to shadows, it becomes possible for the person who has been freed to enter the sphere of what is ἀληθέστερα (515 d6), "more unbidden." And yet it must be said of him who has been freed: ἡγεῖσθαι τὰ τότε ὁρώμενα ἀληθέστερα ἢ τὰ νῦν δεικνύμενα (ibid.). "He will consider that (the shadows) that were previously seen (without any help) are more unbidden than what is now (expressly) being shown (to him by others)."

Why is this so? The glow of the fire, to which their eyes are not accustomed, blinds those who have been liberated. This blinding hinders them from seeing the fire itself and from apprehending how its glow illuminates the things and thus lets these things appear for the first time. That is why those who have been blinded cannot comprehend that what they previously saw were merely shadows of those things, cast by the light from this very fire. Certainly those who have been liberated now see other things besides the shadows, but all these appear only in confusion. By contrast, what they see in the reflected light of the still unseen and unknown fire, namely, the shadows, appears in sharp outline. Because it can be seen without confusion, this consistency with which the shadows appear must strike those who have been freed as being "more unbidden." Therefore the word ἀληθές occurs again at the end of the description of stage two, and now in the comparative degree: ἀληθέστερα, the "more unbidden." The more proper "truth" is to be found in the shadows. So even those who have been freed from their chains still assess wrongly in what they posit as true, because they lack the prior condition for "assessing," namely, freedom. Certainly removing the chains brings a sort of liberation, but being let loose is not yet real freedom.

[127 {GA 9: 221}] Real freedom is attained only in stage three. Here someone who has been unshackled is at the same time conveyed outside the cave "into the open." There above ground all things are manifest. The looks that show what things are now no longer appear merely in the man-made and confusing glow of the fire within the cave. The things themselves stand there in the binding force and validity of their own visible form. The open into which the freed prisoner has now been placed does not mean the unboundedness of some wide-open space; rather, the open sets boundaries to things and is the binding power characteristic of the brightness radiating from the sunlight, which we also see. The looks that show what things