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Allegory of the Cave by Plato and Letter from Birmingham Jail by Kingare two pieces of writing that handle the issue of human attitude towards change and its effects. Plato says that human beings live in some kind of prisons and only know the illusions of them. Whenever some of them are freed from the imprisonment, they embrace enlightenment, but the rest might find this irrational and stupid. King discusses the subject by depicting a racial profiling protagonist. Both author prove that the change is good and mandatory, but it faces extreme hostility and resistance before brings benefits. Change initiators have the worst experience but rejoice at the achievement the most. In the light of these works, I would like to share with some of the evoked thoughts about change and the reality of life.
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Readings helped me understood that people tend to live in the contentment of their routine and do not want to spoil the comfort with change. It is in nature of human beings to resist change no matter whether it is good or bad. They are always skeptical about any change. Such a desire to keep the existing state of things results from the fear of the unknown. As long as change threatens security that people have and challenges what they know, it is an enemy. However, when things do not go in a desired way and force people to face change, the shielding from its effects is the first reaction.
Another idea that occurred to me is that all people live under some kind of oppression that hinders them from reality. The oppression may be an advantage for some groups that blinds them from the fact that they are benefiting at the expense of somebody else. To the rest of people, the oppression comes in the form of infortune and injustices. The latter may be a form of permanent abuse or become a factor that forces sufferers to face and confront reality. Such challenge is always painful and problematic. As a result, people would ratherretain what they have and avoid it. However, once they accept the change, they always embrace the benefits that come along with it.
King writes about the difficulty the Whites had with understanding why the Blacks act revolutionary. His letter appealed to the eight white clergy men to express his pain and viewpoint. However, the white clergymen could not see the point of the Blacks, since the plight of the oppressed was not affecting them (King, 2013). Moreover, the same plight was even to their advantage. The Whites were the perpetrators of oppression as well as the beneficiaries of it during the time of King. Thus, they could not understand the reaction of the Blacks. What else the oppressors did not realize is that taking a step towards stopping the pain and discomfort of the victims would be a great value to both sides of conflict and to the world in general. Now, such racial profiling in America has decreased. It is the whole nation that benefits not just the black people.
King’s work also gave me idea that embracing change of any kind requires courage. If one lacks it, it is then impossible to encounter the pains of change. Furthermore, those who initiate the modification should be the most brave, as these people will suffer persecutions and resistance from he others. For example, when students go on strike to protest against mistreatment or poor services in institutions, the organizers are always victimized if caught. Sometimes, they are excluded from the establishments or suspended for some time. If these individuals are not strong in the resolution to accomplish the change, they confront the angry reaction from the other party.
Plato’s arguments were even more interesting and striking. As much as I appreciated the work by King, the answers to questions regarding opposing groups’ behavior were found in Allegory of the Cave. I understood that those oppressing the others do so because theyy live in an illusion. They do not know the light of reality where the things they consider right are far from being such. In other words, the white people thought that the comfort in only possible when to live in separation from the Blacks; that was the best way of life for them. What they did not know is that there existed other reality that involves freedom to all races and can be better than the familiar one. With the disillusioned mindset, it was difficult for them to understand the desire the Blacks had for freedom. Similarly to the prisoners in Allegory of the Cave, the rest of the advantaged group does not easily accept the changes of the unfortunate group liberation (Plato, n.d.). They try to resist and even obstruct when possible. Allegory of the Cave, demonstrated medifferent perspective on behavior of people who try to live in the comfort of their darkness.
It is intriguing to see how much the ideas of these author reflects in events of real life. Strikes at workplaces may serve as an example. The employees go on strike because the management does not react to their demands. The reason behind the management unresponsiveness is the blindness. The management does not suffer in a way the employees do and that is why does not know the reality of being under oppression. They fear the uncertainty of the changes the employees demand for and decide not to imply them. Those in charge actually consider the new perspective as some sort of misconception. The situation complicates if someone from the management supports the employees’ ideas. The rest considers this as a sign of misplaced loyalty. It takes time before such people can agree with the opposing views.
In conclusion, I have discovered a new way of viewing the behavior. I realized that, according to the conduct, people can be divided into two categories, namely those living in the prisons and darkness of their comfort and those who accept the reality and alternatives.
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