…it’s just a shadow you’re
Seein’ that he’s chasing.
Like in Plato’s “The Republic” (Book 7), the tambourine man only sees the shadows Dylan is chasing
In the “Allegory of the Cave” a group of people live chained to the wall of a cave, facing a blank wall. They only see the shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them, and are convinced they are reality.
The philosopher is like a prisoner freed from the cave, now able to perceive the true form of reality, but the prisoners , who only know their manufactured reality, do not even want to leave their prison because they do not know any alternative.
Plato’s idea is therefore that the world revealed by our senses is not the real one but only a poor copy, and that the real world can only be apprehended intellectually.
This allegory about understanding the true nature of the world shows that a lot of people never see it because of the beliefs of the society they are raised in. When Plato says that the prisoners are blinded by the light when leaving the cave, he is debating the way in which some of us react when our assumptions are challenged. We would rather retreat back into the cave than adapt to the fact that our past beliefs were wrong.