Knowing the answer makes you a philosopher. He had a chance to go, yet he stayed.

In the popular tale “The Prisoner and the Bread,” a prisoner is left alone in a room with only a key and a loaf of bread. The prisoner didn’t know how to use the key, or even why it was there, so he had to make a difficult decision. Before opting to accept the loaf of bread, he carefully evaluated his options.

When presented with two options, one should carefully consider which choice is better. Because they could affect their survival, these decisions are especially important for inmates.

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Recently, there has been much debate about why a prisoner would choose bread over a key to free themselves. Ancient Greek philosopher Plutarch was the first to confront this intriguing problem. Since then, many people, including myself, have been perplexed by it.

The reason a prisoner would choose bread over a key is survival instinct. Even though the key offers a means of emancipation, this does not necessarily imply that freedom and safety are waiting for you on the other side.

If there is no plan to help them get past any guards or obstacles that stand in their way, the chance that the escape will be unsuccessful rises. In contrast, bread provides immediate nourishment and can provide some comfort in a tough situation, which the key cannot accomplish on its own.

The ultimate goal of a prisoner may be to escape from imprisonment, but their immediate need for sustenance may take precedence over their long-term goal of achieving freedom, which may explain why they select bread over a key. Bread can be used to bribe guards and cover some of the costs associated with plotting an escape by acting as both sustenance and money. Bread appears to be the better decision overall when pros and cons are considered.

Whatever choice is made, it can always be beneficial to be conscious of one’s own limitations and utilize the resources that are available. The choice between bread and a key ultimately comes down to personal circumstances and desired outcomes.

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