Ideals are illusions; we can only experience what is real. Discuss.

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Ideals are illusions; we can only experience what is real. Discuss.

This statement has an assumption that ‘reality’ must be tangible as Plato’s Theory of Ideals mainly deal with intangible concepts like Beauty, Truth and Justice. He was not really interested in tangible objects although theoretically, everything, whether tangible or not, has an Ideal. In order to discuss this statement, we need to understand what does ‘reality’ really mean. Some people believe that a particular is only ‘real’ if it is tangible, while others, including Plato, believe that a particular does not have to be tangible to be ‘real’.

Plato believed that Ideals are the purest and highest reality as they are everlasting and unchanging; therefore this statement clearly opposes what Plato believed. In fact, Plato believed that what we can experience sensually in our World of Appearances are illusions, just like the shadows that the prisoners believe to be real in his Analogy of the Cave. For example, when we experience beauty in a piece of artwork, we are only experiencing something that has participated in the Ideal of Beauty, a reflection, of the Ideal of Beauty, which is not reality. Beauty itself, which is reality, can never be directly experienced because Ideals are beyond human comprehension.

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Another reason why people might oppose this statement is the belief that we can experience things that are real but not tangible; therefore challenging the assumption of the statement. For instance, although we can touch a cat, which is both real and tangible, we can experience love and friendship even though they are not tangible. Just because something is not tangible does not mean that it is an illusion. Christians are not likely to support this statement, as one of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity is that God is with us all the time, as he is omnipresent and ...

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