Sunday, 18 December 2011


I am chronically indecisive when it comes to making a firm decision about an issue. I always wonder if I have the complete story and what the other person's perspective might be, where the shades of grey might be.  Throw in a dash of cynicism too and it is a lethal cocktail for deciding.

I was so impressed by a poster by Annie and Ken Meharg for One World Week in 1993 that I kept it all these years because it seemed to highlight what I was feeling. The poster, and rhyme below was their modern rendition of an old Hindu story about a blind man and an elephant. If you have ever played that game where you sit back to back and one describes an object to the other and they rely on abstract description then you will understand all this and that is just about methods of communication! The elephant in the poster looked like this and the focus was TV coverage:

The rhyme [ and I hope they forgive me for quoting it again ] goes like this:

"On Channel 1 the SIDE was shown. The man began to drawl:
“It’s wrinkly, grey and flat and big, and vertical and tall.
You see,” said he “The elephant is just a concrete WALL.”

When Channel 2 came into view, TUSK pictures were quite clear,
It glinted, sharp, still, long and white. “Like ivory, my dear,
You see,” said she, “The elephant is an exquisite SPEAR.”

On Channel 3 the TRUNK swayed free; a curl, a wave, a shake.
It wriggled, twisted, dance in air. “It’s lively, no mistake,
You see” said he, “The elephant is a long fat wriggly SNAKE.”

On Channel 4, the huge LEG bore resemblance, you could see,
to something sturdy, broad an tall, set in the earth, said she:
“It’s obvious the elephant’s another kind of TREE.”

On Channel 5, the EAR shown live. From an excited man:
“It flaps, it’s flat, it’s just like that, it’s thin, it flies, it can!
To me”, said he “The elephant’s a frisky, fancy, FAN.”

On Channel 6 the TAIL pix. We saw the newsman grope.
It hung, it swung, quite long and strong! It’s clear to any dope –
this creature called an elephant is nothing but a ROPE.”

People tuned to different channels argue loud and long –
though none has seen an elephant, each holds one view so strong,
and each is partly in the right, but all are in the wrong!"

What more can I say? It says it all...


  1. Since I retired, I've given up making decisions! It drives my husband mad because I used to make decisions without even thinking about it. Now I can't even decide what to have for breakfast.

  2. It's a variety of perspectives that help bring things into focus. We should never rely totally on just what we think we know or we could be let into misconceptions.

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  3. Heather - just enjoy that place - you probably need a break from it all. I bet you get it back!

    Lee - but don't people argue vociferously with such limited views of a situation!?

  4. That's so true. Any perspective can be wrong if it refuses to take into account anything that its owner can't see.

  5. I love that elephant story. I used to use a simplified version when I was a teacher. As for decision making all I can say is... nope! can't decide what to say! ;-)