ONLY 3 SPOTS AVAILABLE- Space is limited so register now!
Registration has been extended to June 9th to register for Basic Intensive Advanced Intensive and Certification training at the GIFCT-US Conference in St. Louis.
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Connect & Lead
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In the past few months, I have been journeying through some great turmoil. My comfort level has been disturbed by the decisions of others. For my good or not, I need to move forward In reflecting on this transition which is exciting (Big picture) and exciting (Scary)!
Two of my colleagues have said things to me that humbled me, which is difficult!
One who worked with me every day said that my approach with students began to make sense when she realized that I never 'throw anyone under the bus". Now, O know that probably isn't quite accurate but she explained, "When one of your teachers may have screwed up, you took responsibility for it and said 'we'll fix it.'" That approach is a direct result of many of the tings I've studied within Glasser's Choice Theory and Reality Therapy. The main question of Choice Theory is, "Whose behavior do you control?" If I ask myself that question, I can hardly blame someone else. One of the deadly relationship habits is blaming, too.
The other person who gave me a great compliment was another site director who said I was an original thinker! (Not hard if you're crazy!) Then, reading Dr. Glasser's biography, I read that he was called an original thinker! Maybe I have been expressing his thoughts, which is OK with me! The concept of non-coercive, non-judgmental leadership is original in our society, schools and businesses but I think it is the solution to most of our problems. Glasser's concepts are also based on the Golden Rule which makes them quite original in our world today.
The third compliment I received was quite a while ago and not intended to be complimentary. An angry churchgoer told me I was just a contrarian! I took it as a compliment because so much around us needs leaders who take responsibility, think originally and don't just go along with the cruel, demeaning approach to leadership.
Walk your own path! 'll walk with you. And watch out for buses!
Brian Patterson, M Ed, Psy M, LSSBB, CTRTC. Author of Connect & Lead
Operating as usual
ONLY 3 SPOTS AVAILABLE- Space is limited so register now!
Reminder the last date is May 31st to register for Basic Intensive Advanced Intensive and Certification training at the GIFCT-US Conference in St. Louis.
Choice Theory® is the universal system for empowering individuals and improving relationships. Choice Theory® is based on the simple premise that every individual only has the power to control themselves and has limited power to control others. Applying Choice Theory allows one to take responsibility for one’s own life and at the same time, withdraw from attempting to direct other people’s decisions and lives. Individuals are empowered to take responsibility for their choices and support others in taking ownership of their choices.
Register here: https://wglasser.com/2023-conference
GIFCT-US CONFERENCE to be held in St. Louis, July 5 – July 8, 2023. Yes, finally we’ll be able to gather IN PERSON to connect, learn, play, share and all things Choice Theory people do when together. We’re staying in the Hyatt near the Arch. Many activities will be within walking distance. Also available is on-line attendance and partial attendance. Go here to register: https://wglasser.com/2023-conference/
Speaking truth to power at Columbia School of Journalism.
Activist Jose Vega Crashes Columbia Journalism School Panel: All Of You Got Fat Checks While Julian Assange Is In Prison For Doing Your Job Activist Jose Vega interrupted a panel discussion on "Policy and the Press" at the Columbia School of Journalism on Tuesday, The panelists on stage were Joe Kahn of The New York Times, Sally Buzbee of The Washington Post, Kevin Merida of The Los Angeles Times, and Alessandra Galloni of Reuters. JOSE...
We have a great fondness for Luke! Jeannie served there as a nurse and her Dad trained there as a pilot in 1944!
Brian K. Patterson. M Ed, Psy M, LSSBB, CTRTC posted on LinkedIn Brian K. Patterson. M Ed, Psy M, LSSBB, CTRTC posted images on LinkedIn
Come to my home town for some amazing learning! Make a difference in your world!
Check out the discounts:
Training discounted $100 if paid in full by April 30, 2023!
Basic, Advanced, or Certification Training held before the GIFCT-US Conference. Training begins July 2, 2023. Check out the details at www.wglasser.com.
Conference discounted $80 if paid in full by April 7, 2023.
GIFCT-US Conference evening of July 5th through July 8th, 2023 in St. Louis at the Hyatt near the Arch! Attend in person, on-line, or part of the time.
Faculty Day is July 5th.
Go here to register: https://wglasser.com/2023-conference/
My friends with tremendous knowledge and experience!
February 28, 2023 at 12 noon EST for 1 hour
Join Lucy Robbins and featured guest Mona Dunkin leading a discussion about working with difficult clients using Reality Therapy. Join here: https://bit.ly/rt-corner
This is the personal freedom and responsibility psychology we teach!
What is Choice Theory Psychology?
Choice Theory psychology states that all we do is behave, that almost all behaviour is chosen, and that we are driven by our genes to satisfy five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun. In practice, the most important need is love and belonging, as closeness and connectedness with the people we care about is a requisite for satisfying all of our needs.
The core text by Dr. Glasser. It sums up the theory that is the foundation of his approach to counselling, education, management and mental well-being. This book brings together the wealth of practical experience and theoretical understanding of one of the most eminent psychiatrists in the world today. In it he outlines his “psychology of personal freedom” using language that puts his ideas within the reach of all.
Available to buy on our website
The most liberating psychology promoting personal freedom and responsibility. Help us train counselors, teachers, and other helpers.
Here’s a fun fact!
All of the First Blacks in Congress Were Republicans - Word Foundations Currier and Ives print: The First Colored Senator and Representatives, December 31, 1871 Meet the first black members of the United States Congress. US Senator Hiram Revels (1827-1901) from Mississippi was the first African-American to serve in the United States Congress. He served in the 41st Congr...
"In most conflicts there is more time than you think; the urgency is more in your head than in the situation itself."
— William Glasser 📚 💚
I've received 100 reactions to my posts in the past 30 days. Thanks for your support. 🙏🤗🎉
Since learning Choice Theory, it has affected every area of my thought life. From political to religious, I apply Dr. Glasser’s perspective of being nonjudgmental and non coercive. I will express my opinion and knowledge, however!
In leadership, the most important factor is not that I have high expectations of my team but that my behavior inspires them to have high expectations of themselves.
Do your homework!
First in line today!
The most important factor of leadership is not that you have high expectations of your team but that your behavior inspires them to have high expectations of themselves.
I had a student who was far behind in her credits when she arrived at our charter school for ‘at risk’ high school students. When she turned in a writing assignment, I saw some great potential but poor performance. Rather than putting a grade on the paper. My Choice Theory questioning technique kicked in. I called her to my desk and asked her if that was the best she could do. She took the paper, and worked very hard to improve it.
I continued this process with her several times, the submissions got better and better, until she said, “What do you want from me? That IS the best I can do!” I asked her to sit with me as we went through the paper looking for ways she could still improve. She began to develop a passion for communicating through writing. Her anger toward school and the world began to dissipate and her countenance brightened.
We continued this back and forth process for a year. I looked forward to every writing assignment she turned in. She pushed herself to the limit. One day, she asked me, “Can we stop now? Just give me a grade!” I asked, “do you want me to give up on you and settle for mediocre?” She snatched the newly submitted paper from my hand and went back to work on it.
In her junior year, she applied to the local community college. (Because our school sessions were 4 hours, some students were taking college classes while they finished high school.) in response, she received a full tuition scholarship! The letter said that her writing sample was one of the best they had ever received!
Alternative and charter schools like ours, with ‘at risk’ kids who had been kicked out everywhere else, had a graduation rate of 47%. At our schools, the same students graduated 95% of the time!
The difference was the application of Choice Theory!
THE VENEER OVER FEAR
Safeway opened at 7:00 AM for seniors and others threatened by the coronavirus. People don’t estimate 6 feet very well when they are anxious to shop! Everyone was polite and hurried but courteous. My wife and I were about 50th in line. When we got our cart and started to shop the paper aisle was already filled with shoppers!
We have always prepared for at least a month ahead so we went to our other regular needs. The soup and rice aisle were empty when we got there. (We got a bag of Spanish rice!)
FDR once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” That was when the enemy had devastated our Navy and conquered the Oa icicles. I think we had a more significant fear but he was trying to encourage the country!
I felt like today there was a little fear! The empty toilet paper roller is evidently very scary. Maybe we will learn to prepare a little more.
People’s Quality World picture of Survival must include a well-stocked pantry!
Dr. William Glasser identified 7 Connecting Habits: supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting, and negotiating differences. In effective leadership, one must observe interactions as opportunities to create more opportunities for the lead and those who are led. You may notice that these concepts are verbs and not characteristics. It is behavior and not words that truly lead. Expanding on a quote from Stephen M. R. Covey, we judge others’ intent by their behavior and we judge our own behaviors by our intent. If we can think the best intent of others and ensure that our own behaviors appear to others as matching our intent, we can more successfully lead.
LEADERSHIP IN FILM
Brian Patterson, Learning & Development Sr. Consultant
Each film has its own unique story structure, with a plot that establishes a connection between its characters and the viewers. These characters, fictional or non-fictional, have a set of traits and skills that help drive towards a goal. Leadership is an example of one of those drivers, and it can appear through different research-based concepts within films. In this article, I am going to explain Raven and French’s ‘bases of power’ and how it is demonstrated through several examples in the classic film, Saving Private Ryan.
In 1959, Raven and French studied the relationship between leaders and followers. They concluded that leaders have certain bases of power from
“The bases of power enables an influencer (leader) to change the beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors of those who are led to achieve a goal.”
which 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
they behave to gain followers’ cooperation. The bases are:
Legitimate- leader has a formal right to demand.
Reward- leader has control over follower’s benefits from compliance.
Expert- leader’s knowledge and experience are the base of power.
Referent- leader has earned the respect of followers.
Coercive- leader can punish followers when they do not comply.
(Later added) Informational – leader can control information others need.
with finding an American soldier who had moved forward from the D- Day invasion into combat with the Germans. This command was made after the soldier’s three brothers had been killed in battle. The plan was to dispatch a unit, led by Captain Miller, go into enemy territory, find, and bring back Private Ryan.
The bases of power enables an influencer (leader) to change the beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors of those who are led to achieve a goal. Captain Miller used several of the bases of power to complete the
1998 film, Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks portrays a World War II US Army captain charged
mission, but referent and informational were key exhibitors. An example of referent power was shown through his leadership actions at the landing on Omaha Beach. Instead of commanding his troop to charge the German-held cliffs, Captain Miller took the lead and his troop followed. This action helped develop respect from the troop, and continued as Captain Miller led like this on a consistent base.
Miller used informational power in a unique way. The troops did not know what level of experience he had in the military, although they assumed from his actions on the beach that he was an experienced military leader. He did not divulge much of himself until it was useful. When two of the troopers got into an argument, one pulled out his .45 and threatened to kill a fellow soldier. Captain Miller calmly began to talk, while the gun was pointed at the young man’s head, and told the trooper that he was a schoolteacher, teaching English composition. As he spoke calmly about how he wanted to return to his family and job safely, he diffused the difficult situation. His surprising candor and vulnerability let all the soldiers know that he was really one of them.
Captain Miller exhibited effective leadership by demonstrating the behaviors he expected of his troops. Research shows that a leader earns respect with followers through modeling. They behave the way they want others to behave, and treat others fairly. Captain Miller had several admirable traits, characteristics, and behaviors. He did not lose leadership in uncertainty, as some would expect. He led by example, was honest, and continually created purpose for his soldiers. He admitted his mistakes, and made some unpopular, but necessary, decisions. Captain Miller was a leader until the very end of his life. As a leader, you don’t give up; you keep leading, no matter the circumstance.
Whether it is with the bases of power, or another concept, leadership can be revealed in many forms. What Captain Miller has shown is that great leadership can be found in any environment, being displayed by any person. It could be someone in your favorite film, or the person sitting right next to you.
Friendships and Intimate Relationships
Brian K. Patterson
The satisfaction of basic psychological needs in the human relationship is a powerful force. Many social psychologists continually study this phenomena and search for the predictability factors for the explanation of and the success or failure of relationships. Culture and social structure are the fabric that give meaning to human existence. (Evans, 2016).
One of the most significant relationships that a person experiences in a lifetime is that of employment. Within every organization there is a culture that sets the norms- what is expected in the employment relationship; values- what is important in this organization (usually defined by vision, mission and values statements); language- every organization has its own language and slang; and beliefs about the world- the organization’s purpose for existence.
Leadership is extremely important as a relationship factor in the workplace. The productivity of the worker is greatly influenced by the relationship with their leader. Most jobs have, at least, an exchange relationship where each party must feel they are receiving at least as much as they are giving for the relationship to continue. This would be exemplary of equity theory. (Aronson, Wilson & Akert, 2013). When employees accept the vision and mission of the organization as their own, the relationship becomes communal, especially in service organizations. The conformity of the individual could be public where the behavior adapts but the belief does not- sometimes termed ‘lip service.’ Private conformity would be an internalized acceptance of the goals of the organization or, at least, the relationship with peers and leader. Often, this relationship is dependent on the leader’s input.
In a study on transformational leadership and how feedback seeking by employees is affected, social exchange theory reveals much insight. (Wang, Qian, Ou, Huang, Xu, & Xia. 2016). Transformational leaders work together with workers toward a common goal. The organization’s objective is achieved through maximizing each employee’s contribution and effectiveness. In social exchange theory, each person will regard the payoff of the relationship as to how much it costs them vs. the perceived benefits- whether tangible or intangible.
People have different kinds of drives and perceptions of their relationships. Their perception is their reality. A leader who can understand and accommodate differing styles is the transformational leader. If an employee exhibits a secure attachment style, the leader would initially spend more time ensuring the comfortability of the employee in their workspace and understanding their responsibility in the organization. An employee with the avoidance attachment style would require more broad instructions and freedom to discover new ways to perform the job. Attempts to be too friendly would be rebuffed by this kind of person. The anxious/ambivalent style of individual would require more skill from the leader in the structuring of the relationship. Every behavior of the leader will send a message to this person. For all of these attachment styles a transformational leader can create success by encouraging feedback from and collaboration with employees.
Employees evaluate the leadership through their own perceptual lenses. If it seems that the leader’s emphasis on feedback (“My door is always open.”) is simply for the leader’s own self-image enhancement, the feedback is diminished. (Wang, 2016). When the relationship with a leader is perceived to be beneficial it enhances the relationship reciprocity from the employee, which will increase their willingness to invest in the relationship at work. Appreciation for a job well done or one’s value to the organization from a leader increases the likability of the leader in the employee’s perception. This is called reciprocal liking. (Aronson, 2013).
According to social pe*******on theory, the more one discloses about oneself over time, the more secure the relationship becomes. For a leader to accept and respond to employee feedback, both experience “disclosure and shared experiences” and “tend to become interdependent.” (Evans, 2016).
The Comparison Level (Aronson, 2013, p. 288) equates to Dr. William Glasser’s Quality World picture, where an individual’s picture of how their Basic Needs (Survival, Love & Belonging, Power, Freedom and Fun) should be met. The comparison of the rewards that are expected, what other choices there might be and the evaluation of whether their rewards are compensatory with their efforts are all part of the comparison that occurs constantly in the human brain. When the relationship (familial, romantic or employment) allows the adequate satisfaction of these needs, the individual is satisfied. When they do not, the individual will adopt a behavior they have found effective in the past. The secure attachment style individual would probably consult their leader, human resources or a trusted friend to attempt reconciliation. The avoidant attachment style would seek consolation from others who were disaffected in the relationship. The anxious/ ambivalent would tend to blame the leader and seek employment elsewhere.
Aronson, E., Wilson, T.D., & Akert, R.M. (2013). Social psychology (8th ed.). Pearson. Retrieved from https://viewer.gcu.edu/NNUPH
Evans, S. (2016). Conformity and interpersonal attraction. (PSY 530 module 4 lecture) Retrieved from https://lc-grad2.gcu.edu
Wang, B., Qian, J., Ou, R., Huang, C., Xu, B., & Xia, Yi. (2016). Transformational leadership and employees’ feedback setting: The mediating role of trust in leader. Social Behavior and Personality, 44(7), p. 1201-1208.
In my daily work I find that there are words and phrases that irritate me and I don’t really know why! I will share a few and maybe you will have some to get off your chest, too!
“Buy-in” is one that I hear often when leaders talk about changes that will affect employees. It’s like they are selling something which I guess is a possibility! Often, the leader doesn’t like the new program much, either, so their salesmanship may be lacking, too! I prefer to ask for employees’ investment in change- where they are part of the choice to change from the beginning, not change from outside the workplace.
“Best practices “ is another. This is a phrase that means status quo to me. How likely is it that what works somewhere else would work here automatically? Do your own analysis and create the unique solution, working with the people who do the work.
“How did that make you feel “ irritates me because it seems to assume that the source of emotions is external and we are victims of our surroundings or other people. When reviewing situations, just ask, “How did you feel?” The next question might be, “What were you thinking?” I want folks to know that they can change their own lives by choosing their responses. They pull their own triggers!
The last one is a grammar issue. I’m sure that I use inappropriate grammar sometimes and am not aware so I’m not claiming perfection! The dangling participle “at” is like fingernails on a blackboard for me asking”Where are you AT?” Is redundant. Why can’t we just say, “Where are you? See, I saved you a word!
I feel better now! Challenge me or add your own pet peeve!
I haven’t written much lately because I often wonder if I really have anything to say!
At work, we have been cranking out class after class of mandated leadership training. I don’t really believe that better leadership skills can be coerced. Quantity will water down quality. I’d rather spend time coaching leaders who desperately want to improve. I think it is much more productive. Then those who haven’t previously been motivated will be inspired to join in or to pursue other opportunities. True leadership development comes from within.
Gold or Platinum?
We often speak of the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That assumes that I even know what is best for myself. My goals and experiences are totally different than those of the others. I assume they want to be treated like I do but that is often decidedly off base. The platinum rule, "Do unto others as THEY would have you do unto them," requires that we get to know the people with whom we work and understand their point of view. Rewards that I decide can be unmotivational to others. An article in replicated a 1949 study by Lindahl,
WHAT MANAGERS THINK EMPLOYEES WANT, starting with the most important:
Promotion and growth opportunities
Good working conditions
Personal loyalty to workers
Full appreciation for work done
Sympathetic understanding of personal problems
Feeling “in” on things
WHAT EMPLOYEES SAY THEY WANT, starting with the most important:
Full appreciation for work done
Feeling “in” on things
Sympathetic understanding of personal problems
Promotion and growth opportunities
Personal loyalty to workers
Good working conditions
Check the differences between the two lists' top three. Being fair will not mean treating all employees the same but understanding the needs of each one and leading them accordingly.
Cullen, S. (2017). Retaining your best employees. Retrieved from http://www.seniormag.com/marketing/employee-retainage.htm
Connect & Lead
Choice Theory and Reality Therapy
Absenteeism, Turnover, and Counter- Productivity
In an effort to show ourselves as meaningful and productive, leaders often consider workers as just parts of the machine. In today’s workplace, a new approach to leadership is more effective. Workers have to be able to solve complex problems. We cannot be as productive as possible with the attitude that they should just do their job. In an environment of fear, complex problem- solving is unlikely, physically and mentally.
Three behaviors that affect the workplace adversely are absenteeism, turnover, and counter- productive behaviors. These damage the morale of the environment and the relationship between leadership and staff. Workers are often blamed, or generations, but I propose that the leader and his or her human skills are more responsible.
Dr. William Glasser describes the Basic Needs of human beings as hard- wired into us genetically at birth (1998). He did not describe these needs as existing in the same relationship for everyone as did Maslow. Glasser’s 5 needs are survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. These are present in everyone at unique and different levels. For a worker to be present consistently, continue as an employee, and work productively, the manager must create an environment and relationship in which the employee can adequately meet these needs.
Choice Theory is exemplified in the relational aspects of Southwest Airlines where employees happily join together in pursuit of a common cause and as W. Edwards Deming said, “high quality work is dependent on driving out fear that prevents people from getting along well with each other” (Glasser, 1998. P. 10). Choice theory emphasizes that motivation comes from within.
The Basic Needs can be satisfied (simplistically) in this way:
Survival- workers are paid adequately and they sense that the organization is protecting them from harm through regular fire drills and active shooter training. Have an adequate sick leave policy and health insurance address this need. And, because we all have these needs in different intensities and satisfy them differently, these things are more important to some workers than others.
Love and Belonging (caring for others and being cared for)- teams regularly meet together and managers ensure that everyone knows they are appreciated and part of the group. Again, this is more important to some than others. For workers surveyed at the Department of Economic Security, 60% say this is most important.
Power or competency- Workers need to have coaching and vicarious learning to increase their skills and sense of self- efficacy. This need can be misused as power over or productively as power with and power within.
Freedom- Every worker needs some degree of autonomy in deciding how they will do the work. If there is a Standard Work process, they need to know that they have the freedom to express ideas for improvement. At times, having liberty to choose the team on which they work is important.
Fun- the genetic reward of learning (Glasser, 1998). WHne there is a learning community within the workplace, individuals learn from each other and as they master a task, there is fun. Also, the camaraderie of birthday and anniversary celebrations contributes to this need.
As W. Edwards Deming proposed, workers work in the system and managers work on the system to create a more harmonious environment and more quality production for employees (Glasser, 1994). The manager has the responsibility of creating the quality environment where everyone is engaged in a shared vision. In these kinds of circumstances, employees show up for work, stay for a long time, and give effort to keep the environment positive.
Glasser, W. (1998). Choice theory: a new psychology of personal freedom. New York. HarperPerennial.
Glasser, W. (1994). The control theory manager. New York. HarperCollins.
I will be facilitating a fun- filled learning journey March 1-3, in Glendale, Arizona. The topic is Dr. William Glasser’s Choice Theory and Reality Therapy. Can’t wait to work with you!
You will learn to understand difficult behaviors, how to positively impact relationships with students, clients, or employees.
This workshop qualifies for CEU’s.
From a recent participant: “
I can only hope to ignite such passion for a true art form. We need more trailblazers in leadership. Thank you again for the valuable information as we proceed in our roles.”
Visit www.wglasser.com for registration details.
William Glasser Institute – Teaching the World Choice Theory Our mission is to promote the application and growth of Choice Theory. Our vision is a world in which people make responsible, respectful choices and build healthy, fulfilling relationships
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Welcome back! I have not been posting due to many scheduling difficulties including the fact that I have just begun a Master's in Counseling and have been creating and leading many course at work in Dealing with Difficult People, Bridging the Communication Gap, Lean and our Security Awareness (Active Shooter) class. I think about writing and put it off! Please forgive me and enjoy this topic.
This is rather lengthy but if you will read to the end, I think some new, deep thoughts will come. They did to me!
FROM PLATO Republic 10
SOCRATES: And now, let me show in a parable how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened. Imagine human beings living in an underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light. Here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning their heads around. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised walk; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the walkway, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.
GLAUCON: I see.
SOCRATES: And do you see men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent.
GLAUCON: You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.
SOCRATES: Like ourselves; and they see only their own shadow, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave.
GLAUCON: True; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?
SOCRATES: And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only see the shadows? GLAUCON: Yes.
SOCRATES: And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them?
GLAUCON: Very true.
SOCRATES: And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the cave wall, would they not be sure to believe when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow?
GLAUCON: No question.
SOCRATES: To them, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.
GLAUCON: That is certain.
SOCRATES: And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck around and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains. The glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive someone saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to reality and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision. What will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them—will he not be perplexed? Will he not believe that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?
GLAUCON: Far truer.
SOCRATES: And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take refuge in the shadows which he can see, and which he will conceive to be clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?
SOCRATES: And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he is forced into the presence of the sun itself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities.
GLAUCON: Not all in a moment.
SOCRATES: He will need to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day.
SOCRATES: Last of all he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of it in the water, but he will see the sun in its own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate the sun as it is.
SOCRATES: He will then proceed to argue that this is what gives the season and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a certain way the cause of all things which he and his fellows have been accustomed to behold?
GLAUCON: Clearly, he would first see the sun and then reason about it.
SOCRATES: And when he remembered his old dwelling, and the wisdom of the den and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would be happy about his change, and pity them?
GLAUCON: Certainly, he would.
SOCRATES: And if they were in the habit of conferring honors among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honors and glories, or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer, “Better to be the poor servant of a poor master” and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner?
GLAUCON: Yes, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner.
SOCRATES: Imagine once more, such a one coming suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?
GLAUCON: To be sure.
SOCRATES: And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the den, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable), would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.
GLAUCON: No question.
SOCRATES: This allegory is connected to the previous argument about the ascent of knowledge. The prison-house-cave is the world of sight; the light of the fire is the sun; and the journey upwards is the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world. My view is that in the world of knowledge the idea of the Good appears last of all, and is seen only with great effort; and when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world [the sun], and the immediate source of reason and truth in the higher world [the world of Forms]; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.
GLAUCON: I agree, as far as I am able to understand you.
SOCRATES: Moreover, you must not wonder that those who attain to this wonderful vision are unwilling to descend to human affairs; for their souls are ever hastening into the upper world where they desire to dwell; which desire of theirs is very natural, if our allegory is to be trusted.
GLAUCON: Yes, very natural.
SOCRATES: And is there anything surprising in one who passes from divine contemplations to the evil state of man, appearing in a ridiculous manner; if, while his eyes are blinking and before he has become accustomed to the surrounding darkness, he is compelled to fight in courts of law, or in other places, about the images or the shadows of images of justice, and is endeavoring to meet the conceptions of those who have never yet seen absolute justice?
GLAUCON: Anything but surprising.
SOCRATES: Anyone who has common sense will remember that the confusions of the eyes are two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind’s eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees anyone whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter light, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by excess of light. And he will count the one happy in his condition and state of being, and he will pity the other; or, if he have a mind to laugh at the soul which comes from below into the light, there will be more reason in this than in the laugh which greets him who returns from above out of the light into the den.
GLAUCON: That is a very just distinction.
SOCRATES: But then, if I am right, certain professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put a knowledge into the soul which was not there before, like sight into blind eyes.
GLAUCON: They undoubtedly say this.
SOCRATES: Whereas, our argument shows that the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already. Just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of unchanging reality, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of reality, and of the brightest and best of reality, or in other words, of the Good.
GLAUCON: Very true.
SOCRATES: And must there not be some art which will turn the soul about in the easiest and quickest manner? It is not the art of implanting the faculty of sight in the soul, for that exists already, but to ensure that, instead of looking in the wrong direction, away from the truth, it is turned the way it ought to be.
GLAUCON: Yes, such an art may be presumed.
This story, I think, symbolizes my life. When I was free to go into the light (not that way!) I felt compelled to return to my former companions and tell them the truth I had discovered. Truth is not about the person telling it. It sets people free! (I have heard that somewhere!) I discovered many people do not want to be free! They want to be comfortable living in the shadows. Freedom scares people. Is there any part of your life where you are resisting the responsibility of freedom?
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