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In Book 7 we are introduced to the Form of Good and the idea that people have to be uncomfortable and out of the norm to see things in their real forms and to be able to learn from them. “The ultimate goal of education was described by Socrates in Book VI as a bringing to sight of the good that makes evident the origin and aim of all things” (Plato,note, 210). To be able to learn you have to know all the different components and to be able to understand all aspects of anything you have to be able to comprehend all sides. This could be a thing, an animal, a concept or an idea. The experience of learning is very important and there are many factors that go into any one person learning about something. Everything has to work together for the experience to be completed and useful and the person learning has to have the right mindset.

The metaphor of the cave is what he uses to describe how people are brought into education and how people grow into it. “And if we were to drag him away from there by force… along the rough, steep road up, and didn’t let go until he’d dragged him out into the light of the sun, wouldn’t he be feeling pain and anger from being dragged, and when he came into the light and had his eyes filled with its dazzle, wouldn’t he be unable to see even one of the things now said to be the true ones?” (Plato 516A). Sometimes it takes being pushed and submerged into whatever it is you may be learning about to make an impact. If you are allowing yourself to be influenced by things that are different or conflicting with what you are trying to learn sometimes it shuts you down from being open to new ideas and perspectives. And therefore you are not able to absorb everything that you are being exposed to. “And after the images of human beings and other things in water, and only later the things themselves; and turning from those things, he’d gaze on the things in the heavens, and at the heavens themselves, more easily by night, looking at the starlight and moonlight, than by day, at sun and its light” (Plato 516B). It takes time for everything to sink in and it takes the patterns that are established to be able to make sense of everything and to really learn.

“Then at last, I imagine, he’d gain sight of the sun, not its appearances in water or in any setting foreign to it” (Plato 516B). It may take seeing the same thing in many different settings and situations to make sense of it and have a full grasp of the importance and purpose of it. I believe that you have not learned anything until you can identify whatever it may be in situations that you would not normally expect. “And after that, he could not draw the conclusion about it that this is what provides the seasons and the years, and has the governance of all things in the visible realm, and is in a certain manner the cause of all those things they’d seen” (Plato 516C). After you draw the final conclusions about what it is that you have learned and solidified it in evidence then you have learned.

After you have gone through the process of getting out of your environment and submerging yourself in the learning experiences then you are able to fully grasp all aspects of whatever the experience or idea might be. Another thing that he stresses is the importance of choosing people who are able to learn and who are inclined to learn in specific ways. “An exact counterpart to gymnastic training, educating the guardians by means of habits, and giving them a certain evenness of temper brought about by harmony rather than knowledge, and a sense of proportion brought about by rhythm, and bringing along speeches certain other habits closely related to these” (Plato 522A). You have to have the right chemistry between the teacher, student and the topic that you are trying to learn about. All things have to be working together and in sync for a teacher to be able to teach and for a student to be able to learn.

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