This tale of hope and defiance was the third single released by London-based folk quartet Mumford & Sons from their debut album, Sigh No More. A number of reviewers have surmised that the title is a reference to Plato's Allegory of the Cave in which the Greek philosopher argued that the invisible world is the most intelligible and that the visible world is the least knowable, and therefore the most incomprehensible. Plato believed that the soul exists in a realm apart from the body and the thinker is separate from the world he thinks about.
The song's music video was directed by Fred & Nick of Pulse Films in Goa, India during Mumford & Sons tour of that country.
The song was written during a soundcheck at Bannermans, one of Edinburgh, Scotland's smaller pubs.
Winston Marshall, banjoist and electric guitarist for Mumford & Sons, learned his Hindi lines just 15 minutes before shooting the music video. He says, "Alright lads? We heard you were looking for these," as the guys deliver instruments to an Indian wedding band. The Indian band spent three hours learning the song, but only two out of the four were actually musicians. Because Mumford & Sons had the idea at the last minute, they enlisted a cameraman and the father of one of the Indian musicians to round out the band.