“The Blind Men And The Elephant” Poem By Saxe Sample Assignment

Introduction

The poem “The Blind Men and the Elephant” by John Godfrey Saxe depicts the actions of six blind men in their attempt at trying to discern what an elephant is like based on their perceptions. The result is a series of rather humorous descriptions wherein each man ascertains the entirety of the elephant based on touching its parts.

Favorite quotation and explanation

“Though each was partly in the right, And all were in the wrong!”1

For me, this is my favorite quote out of the entire poem since it embodies all the actions of the blind men as well as shows that while each of them was right in their way they were all wrong at the same time. Taking in the poem in its entirety it can be seen that its main message is that of perception in that all too often people look at the bits and pieces of events, topics, and problems and fail to see the whole in its entirety.

This results in each person having their interpretation as to the causes of events and problems which creates even more confusion. For example, up till now, people are still arguing over the causes of various mental illnesses, historical events, and scientific phenomena with each school of thought having their ideas and sticking to those ideas despite the presence of other factors advocated by other schools of thought. It is based on this that the poem itself can be thought of as a metaphorical representation of humanity as a whole with all of us being blind and understanding only a part of the events, problems, and challenges that occur in our lives. Saxe alludes to my interpretation by stating the following quotation”

“So oft in theologic wars, The disputants, I ween, Rail on in utter ignorance Of what each other mean”. The term “theologic wars” is based on the various present-day theologic debates over religion that have been occurring for the past thousand years with each side expressing that their faith is the best while wholly ignoring the fact that the main purpose of religion was to help the masses and praise God rather than engage in a useless bantering, fighting, and oppression.

Story: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

The story “The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” by Oliver Sacks is a rather interesting tale of a man who suffers from some form of the neurologic condition resulting in him being unable to look at the entirety of a particular object but rather on its features instead. While it is evident that the character of Dr. P has continued to maintain his mental brilliance in that he is still a musical genius and can speak normally the rather sad fact remains that he seems blissfully unaware of his current problem and seems to think of it as a problem with his eyes rather than a severe and debilitating neurological condition.

Favorite Quotation and Explanation

“But who was more tragic, who was more damned – the man who knew it or the man who did not?”2

This particular quote resonates with the entirety of the story due to how Dr. P throughout the entirety of the prose didn’t seem to notice or even consider the seriousness of his situation. He merely thought of thinking of his wife as a hat as mildly amusing, that his inability to read sheet music a minor inconvenience, and that being unable to recognize people aside from particular details of their face or their voice as being rather normal.

In the story, it is noted that Zazetsky, a person who suffered from a similar condition fought tooth and nail to “normalize” his way of thinking. This is interesting to take note of since Zazetsky knew there was something wrong with himself and tried everything to overcome it while Dr. P didn’t even seem to mind or care. One of them was full of frustration over his condition while the other didn’t even think he had a condition at all. It is this perspective that is important to take note of in the story because Dr. P seemingly was able to live his life free from any perceived problems. If the condition was not pointed out to him he wouldn’t have even considered it a problem.

In fact, for me, the story has a certain life lesson that states that “a problem only becomes a problem if you acknowledge it as such”. Dr. P didn’t acknowledge it and he lived a rather fulfilled life while Zazetsky lived his full of frustration. This particular lesson can be applied to all our lives in that we often put more importance on our problems than we really should. If we lived our lives in which we take our problems in stride like Dr. P we may find ourselves living a better and more fulfilled life.

Reference List

Sacks, Oliver. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and other clinical tales. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.

Saxe, John. Blind Men and the Elephant. 1816 – 1887.

Footnotes

  1. Sacks, Oliver. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and other clinical tales. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.
  2. Saxe, John. Blind Men and the Elephant. 1816 – 1887.

Essay Voice-over

Social Differences Becoming Political

Social differences due to differences in culture, race, ethnicity, gender, etc. have a major impact on political participation and association. From a classical economics point of view of the scarcity of resources and the continuous fight among people for gaining control over this scarce resource, groups in form of gender, race, color, ethnicity are formed that helps in the creation of the social ‘others’. Therefore, the struggle for the material constraints helps in the creation of the differences and brings in the space for the struggle between these diverse groups.

For instance, ethnicity is a construct of power. It cannot exist in isolation. There must be at least more than one ethnicity that is defined against one another. Therefore, arises a dominant and the other subservient group, where the former is in control over the other. This existence of power helps in the creation of politics in the existence of differences (Wilmsen & McAllister, 1996). Similarly, in case of differences based on race, color, gender, or religion, the element of difference arises in the creation of power and the desire to dominate the subservient.

The dominant group exercises their power to gain more power and control and therefore restores politics. It must be noted that social difference arises and exists only in the case of the establishment of the “other”. Identity created among the groups creates social differences with the other groups, thus, creating a social identity different from the others. The politics of social difference is the politics of marginality. Therefore, the politics of social differences dwell on this weakness of marginality.

The politics of marginality appears to become a strength in the case of certain courtiers like Afrikaner in South Africa and Ashkenazim in Israel where this social marginalization has been turned into political strength. Politics of social difference arises out of marginalization and creation of the ‘other’ wherein this difference with the others is used as the crux for identity creation and differential politics.

Reference

Wilmsen, E. N., & McAllister, P. (1996). The politics of difference: ethnic premises in a world of power. London: University of Chicago Press.

Unification Church Founded By Sun Myung Moon

Sun Myung Moon is the founder and head of the Unification Church. He was born on February 25, 1920, as the second son in a family of 13 children to Kyung –yoo Moon and Kyung-Hye Kim. Sun Myung undertook the Confucian-style education but later converted to Christianity as a Presbyterian and received western-style education by studying electrical engineering (Barker 365).

The Unification Church was started in Seoul in 1954 by an organization known as ‘The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity’. In his study years, Sun Myung studied the bible and felt that traditional Christianity beliefs were incompatible with the beliefs he had come upholding. He was able to develop what he called ‘Divine Principle’, a collection of his beliefs that was later published in 1957 as the foundation of the Unification Church.

The Church spread to other parts of the continent including the US and the leader moved to the US to establish a church. Reverend Moon served a 13-months jail term due to tax evasion. He merged all his investments during the 40th anniversary in Seoul, Korea in 1994 into the AA group company. The group was referred to by the name ‘Family Federation for World Peace and Unification [FFWPU]. Robinson notes that “a National Messiahship program was established by Reverend Moon in1995 by selecting four families to lead the movement in different countries viz. Korea, Japan, America, and Germany” (14). The church has following in around 150 countries with its headquarters in Korea today.

The Unification Church found its following and popularity mainly because of conducting blessing ceremonies popularly known as mass weddings. The first such ceremony was conducted in 1983 where more than 2000 couples were married. These mass weddings have been repeated since then which has earned the church a large following.

Mostly, conservative Christians have criticized the church for what is termed as ‘brainwashing members with their beliefs’, thus taking away the power of choice. Their recruitment methods have been manipulative. Reverend Moon is the ultimate authority, which presents a system of dictatorship. Articles in the 1970s that contained testimonies of former members about the atrocities in the church forced people to kidnap members in the name of rescuing them. Free exhibitions were viewed as avenues to trap unsuspecting visitors. However, the Unification Church does not indicate being a destructive cult that can result in murders.

Works Cited

Barker, Eileen. “Free to Choose? Some Thoughts on the Unification Church and other Religious Movements, Part 1.” Clergy Review, 68.4 (1980): 365-368.

Robinson, Antony. “The Unification Church founded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon.” Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 2005.

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