The wisdom of the elephant | The Press

The elephant is an animal that seems to have come out of the same laboratory for the production of chimeras in the animal world that gave birth to the platypus. have you seen the movie The Elephant Man (elephant man)? Those who thought that Joseph Merrick’s unattractive physique made him an elephant man do not really know these pachyderms. For a biologist, a real elephant man would have cylindrical legs, fused upper lip and nose, arm on forehead, nose in arm, hand in nose, green penis measuring nearly two meters in rutting period and mating would last 20 to 30 seconds. That’s good, love, but having a six-ton ​​male on your back can’t last forever. Let’s say that it was not quite that, the morphology of Joseph Merrick, who was called the elephant man.

Posted at 9:00 a.m.

That said, it is for another reason that I want to talk to you about elephants. In many African traditions, the elephant symbolizes cooperation, intelligence and devotion. Some of our legends also tell that these pachyderms carry the soul of the great leaders who have disappeared and it is for this reason that they must be considered as the masters of the bush. A lucid consideration that seems contradictory to the American vision of the biggest of the pachyderms. Here, the elephant is rather the symbol of the Republican Party, which ironically became the private property of a guy who should have been called Donald instead. Deceived. But, don’t worry, I don’t want to talk to you either about the former White House tenant who said, probably out of survival instinct, that he was eating McDo in the Oval office. When your wife finds out from the media that you slept with a pornstar while she was pregnant, you better fuck off. junk food than swallowing a soup that she has prepared for you out of sight.

In these gray times, I want to tell you a sweet legend, a philosophical tale featuring six blind people and an elephant.

The story goes that one day, six white canes found themselves in front of an elephant. The first one who extended her hand caressed the side of the animal and described it as resembling a kind of wall. The second was lucky enough to put her hand on a tusk and declared that the elephant was a spear-shaped animal. The third grabbed the trunk and concluded that the elephant was similar to a snake. The fourth touched the cylindrical leg of the beast and thought that the elephant looked like a tree. The fifth had time to feel the ear and told her friends that the animal was more like a fan. Finally, the sixth grabbed the tail and came to the conclusion that the animal had the shape of a rope. Faced with these diametrically opposed perceptions, the six friends discussed passionately, each arguing to assert his truth. They were about to fight when a wise man passing by decided to arbitrate the game. He asked the group what was bothering him so much and they replied that they couldn’t agree on what an elephant really looked like. After listening to each person state their truth based on their experience, the wise man explains to them: “Because each of you touched a different part of the animal, you are all right. The elephant has a shape that combines everything you have described individually. »

Realizing that they all had part of the answer, the six accomplices laughed at the situation, happy to have all been both right and wrong. Thus ends this story, the oldest traces of which can be found in Buddhist texts dating from 500 BC. A wisdom also known in Hinduism, Jainism, Sufism and Bahaism.

I find this fable inspiring because it tells all that we have difficulty doing in the age of social networks. Nowadays everyone has their own truth and it is sacred and immutable. Guided by algorithms, this possessor of indisputable accuracy shuts himself up in an echo chamber where he is comforted by his peers. Once well radicalized in these positions, he ends up considering all those who are not of his opinion as scum who deserve to be insulted and despised. However, very often, the truth of some ends where that of others begins. As the six white canes learned in this elephant story, rarely carried by a single point of view, the truth often lies somewhere in the shades of gray. By ignoring the experiences of others who may have a complementary or different perspective on the same subject, we close the door to the confrontation of ideas through which light springs.

The cleavage around vaccination is a good example. Between those who do not want to be vaccinated and those who feel imprisoned by the refusal of others to roll up their sleeves, mutual contempt and bird names are coming from all sides.

The reconciliation of these two certainties is impossible. Yet, as in that elephant story, it is both wrong and true to say that vaccination is the only way out of this turbulence. The proof, Quebec is among the most vaccinated nations on the planet and yet we are going through the strongest wave since the start of the pandemic. Even people vaccinated three times still contract the Omicron variant. But, it is also true that a good part of the solution is in vaccination, because the vaccines effectively protected us against the Delta variant, which allowed us to have an almost normal summer. They also help prevent serious forms of COVID-19 in the event of contact with Omicron. This means that vaccinating 100% of the population would have made it possible to considerably reduce the pressure on the health system and to avoid falling into these load shedding scenarios which will continue to make indirect victims of COVID-19 in the years future.

If we found ourselves in front of the wise man who mended the positions of the six blind people in front of the elephant, he would certainly say to us: “Vaccination is a safety belt. It reduces the risk of dying in the event of an accident, but is not the absolute solution when driving. Having functioning airbags, obeying traffic laws, and avoiding road rage are all additional ways to increase your chances of survival and decrease your chances of not accidentally killing others. All these “sanitary rules” for automobile traffic are portions of truth which, combined, make it possible to approach reality. Unfortunately, it happens that the feeling of being well in the saddle and firmly attached gives a false impression of security to the driver and makes him forget the rest of the life-saving safety rules. »

In other words, beyond the harm caused by those who refuse the vaccine, it is also in the fact of having believed that only vaccines would get us out of trouble that we must look for part of our current problem. Our decision-makers made us believe that our high vaccination rate would be a wall that would protect us from what we saw elsewhere. Which was only part of the truth. It turns out that the vaccination solidarity with developing countries, including South Africa, where Omicron comes from, the late and insufficient distribution of rapid tests, the insufficient measures taken in schools with regard to the quality of the air, the mistakes made by our political and health officials, our elephantine health system which has been cracking on all sides for decades, and our propensity to not respect the rules are also part of the elements that must be taken into account. if you really want to get the whole story.

Yes, it is important to encourage people to get vaccinated! But, we must also be careful not to cross the line between encouraging a group to do its societal duty and turning it into a scapegoat to please the majority in such a complex problem. We must avoid falling into what Justin Trudeau did throughout the election campaign in a very dubious politics of division. He instrumentalized vaccination by telling us ad nauseam that the Liberal Party was the only one capable of getting us out of the pandemic. He was elected and yet the virus is more present than ever in Canada. Since when did croaking frogs keep elephants from drinking? so said my grandfather.

source site-58