07 June 2015
“So oft…the disputants I’ve seen
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean
And prate about an elephant
Not one of them has seen”
Today’s idea is more a corollary to yesterday’s post for both thoughts deal with the limitations imposed by the inherently subjective nature of what we experience and how we relate to the world around us. I remember the statement ‘Perception is Reality’ had been chosen as the topic for an inter-school debate once and as the teacher responsible for preparing the students assigned for the activity, it was a tough task to build up arguments in favour of the motion!
Most of us in our country have heard or read the parable of the six blind men and the elephant. As small children we would laugh with childish-glee when someone narrated the story of the ludicrous descriptions of the animal given by each and how they quarrelled with each other over who was correct (part of the amusement being our smug knowledge that they were all wrong!!)
Rumi so correctly said “…the sensual eye is just like the palm of the hand. The palm has not the means of covering the whole beast”
Our relation with reality is much like that of the blind men and the elephant…limited to a one-sided view. Like them we too are deluded by aspects we understand and deny and dismiss what we do not. We can be dogmatic even in small things like the route to follow to a given place convinced that my way is the fastest and shortest!!
What i find ironic is that this principle governs the world! So a Galileo who comes along and challenges an established world view is dubbed a heretic.Wars are fought over differing perceptions of leaders (take Hitlers case or even the Palestinian crisis for example). Terrorists think it’s okay to destroy and kill people in the name of their belief system. Again and again we fail to understand that ones perception is not absolute reality. As Hamlet tells Horatio
“…there are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy…”
A little more open mindedness, a little less of being judgemental, a little more consideration for other views, a little less dogma…and we could have greater harmony in the world.