Blind Men and an Elephant

In the article “Narrating Location: Space, Age and Gender among Bengali Elders in East London,” Katy Gardner explores the memory of some Bengali elders, who have settled in East London, to show their relationship with space and places as well as different situations that men and women have experienced.

At the beginning of this paper, Gardner says that those narratives are not necessarily true or false, as what those people stress are the ones they think important, which means that people’s feelings are involved in when people describe the journey they have travelled. For those Bengali elders, one miserable part of their memory was work, so their comments for work were negative and somehow exaggerated. In term of this kind of action, my teacher had a very good explanation, “Emotions color the memory.” In our lives, we often describe something with a tone that based on our feelings. Therefore, the way we look the world is highly likely to be biased. When our moods are not good, we may think that the sky is gray even though it is blue in reality.

Hence, our perception about a thing is not always fair, and we need to combine different opinions from different people to see the whole picture of a thing. There is a good example – blind men and an elephant – from a course named the idea of globalization that I took last year. In this case, the elephant is a symbol of the fact of globalization, and those blind men represent the scholars in different fields.  The man who touches a leg of the elephant sees the aspect of economics only, and the one who touches an ear see the aspect of environment, and so forth. Since those “blind men” are the experts in their own field, their point of views are limited in the areas they touch and the feelings they have. However, the complete picture of globalization is constituted by those different opinions. This example shows how people’s feelings influence their sights. Thus, in order to see a thing clearly, people have to look at it from different angles, instead of standing still in their own positions and being controlled by their own feelings.

None of us wants to be a “blind man,” so sometimes we need to ask other people for their opinions. Then, we will see the complete “elephant” after combining the “ears,” “legs,” and other organs together. It is what I think and what I feel. What’s your opinion?

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