Chapter 16 – The Good Cave

In chapter 16, we see Michael constantly rebooting the neighborhood due to the humans realizing they are in The Bad Place.  Eleanor and Chidi visit Mindy St. Claire for the fifteenth time.  Mindy informs them they always return to the neighborhood.  One of the reasons given is that their friends don’t know that they are in The Bad Place.  This raises the question of, is there a moral obligation to return just to tell them that they are in The Bad Place?

One can draw a parallel between Eleanor’s situation and the escaped prisoner in Plato’s Cave.  Plato’s Cave has us imagine that there are prisoners chained and unable to turn around.  All they see are shadows on the wall.  Since this is all that they have seen, the prisoners think that the shadows are reality.  One day, a prisoner is able to escape his chains and turns around.  He sees statues being moved in front of a fire.  The prisoner now thinks that the statues are reality.  The prisoner then climbs stairs out of the cave.  While initially blinded by the Sun, the prisoner’s eyes adjust.  Outside of the cave, the prisoner sees real objects and has gained knowledge of what reality is like.  While the prisoner does not want to return, he feels an ethical obligation to return to his friends still chained up.  The escaped prisoner believes that he has an obligation to inform them of the truth.

Eleanor has the same dilemma.  She has gained knowledge that their reality is fake.  Instead, they are in The Bad Place.  She has left the confines of the fake reality created by Michael.  She is in The Medium Place.  She does not want to leave.  Yet, she feels an obligation to return just as the escaped prisoner does.  If Plato’s prisoner had an obligation to return to share his knowledge with the other prisoners then it seems that Eleanor has the obligation to return and inform the other humans they are in The Bad Place.