The Rich, The Poor and The Allegory of The Cave

On a cold sunny day of March a blind poor man was sitting on the steps of an elegant house. He would sit there every day, from early in the morning till noon, with his gray hat on his feet holding a sign reading: “I’m blind. Please help me.”

The old man didn’t know that the house belonged to a rich and ambitious young man owner of one of the biggest marketing companies. One day the young man, tired to see the old man begging at the stairs of his house told him to move somewhere else.

“This is a private property, go and do your begging in a different area otherwise I’ll call the police.” At the threading tone of his voice the blind man got up and left. The following morning, the young man looking outside his window noticed that the blind man was back in the same place holding the carton sign with his eyes fixed in the blue horizon.

“I know what you are thinking,” the blind man says recognizing the steps of the house’s owner.  “Why does he keep looking at the sky as he can’t see?”

The young man was surprised: the old man could read his mind.

“Well, let me ask you something: why do most people never look at the sky these days? Too busy to look at themselves in the mirror, to rush to go to work, to check their self phone or to judge what other people are doing. See, since I’ve lost my sight I’ve actually being able to reach the things I couldn’t see before.  With every curse comes a blessing.

“Why this house?” interrupted the young man.

“Have you ever heard of the Allegory of the Cave by Plato?” The blind man carried on talking ignoring his question. “Plato describes a group of people who live in a cave and have been chained and forced to face and gaze at a wall for all their lives. Behind them there’s a fire and a walkway along which other people move and carry stuff. The prisoners cannot see them, they can only watch the shadows cast by those other people taking the shadows to be real things. “

“What people take to be real, it is just an illusion.”

“Yup! I’d rather face the horizon that a damn stupid wall. Haha. We’re all blind. If I could only see those spring colours again…”

The young man stayed silent for a few seconds and his eyes fell on the empty hat at the feet of the poor man. Without saying a word he went inside his house and wrote a new sign for the old man to hold.

“Here, take this!” The young man said happy to do something helpful for the man. “Let’s just call it marketing business, a different strategy or, more simply, a new way to see things.”

The next day the sun was up again and the old man was back in front of the house. One thing was different though: his sign. It now read: “Today is spring and I cannot see it.”

By the end of the afternoon many people stopped by to give the poor man some change.

The young man never met the blind man again, but he would often sit on the steps of his house staring at the horizon. The sky, tinged with red and orange, had never appeared so beautiful before and that beauty sank into his heart. So he thanked God for giving him sight, he thanked the poor man for the exact same thing…


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