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Lesson 1 : A holistic Perspective:

THE PHILOSOPHER’S WAY


Introduction;
 When someone is seeking..it happens quite easily that he
only sees the thing that he is seeking that he is able to find
anything unable to absorb anything, because he is only
thinking of the thing that he is seeking, because he has a
goal and obsessed with his goal. Seeking means to have a
goal, but finding means to be free, to be receptive, to have
no goal. You, o worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker,
for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many
things that are under your nose.”
 SIDDHARTHA HERMAN HESSE
Blind Men and the Elephant – A Poem by John Godfrey Saxe
Here is John Godfrey Saxe’s (1816-1887) version of Blind Men and the Elephant:

It was six men of Indostan,


To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear,
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approach'd the animal,


And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," -quoth he- "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," -quoth he,-
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,


Said- "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," -quoth he,- "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
MORAL,

So, oft in theologic wars


The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean;
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
Group activity;
1.Did anyone among the blind men give the correct answer?
Why or why not? Explain
2.In the context of the Elephant story, what do you think is a
holistic perspective? What is a partial point of view? Explain
3.What is the importance of a holistic perspective, as pointed
out by the poet John Godfrey Saxe?
4.In the last stanza, John Godfrey Saxe related the legend to the
religious wars during this time. What do you think John
Godfrey Saxe trying to say in this poem?
PHILOSOPHY AND ITS HOLISTIC APPROACH

A philosopher’s way of thinking can be described as


abstractive
“ view things from the window of an airplane”
“Each answer was far from what was true”

“when we look that thing or person from various


perspective”

“but we can come closer to the truth”


What makes thie civilization so special for philosophy?

They have insights, seeing with the mind.


They see the world using their minds.
THALES OF MILETUS
• He was a thinker who loved to gaze at the star.
• By sensing the harmony in the movements of the
heavenly bodies, he deduced the relationship of things
in the universe. He said that everything is related to
each other because everything that exist contains
water. He answer the question “ what makes us one?
Blind Men and the Elephant – Philosophical Parable
The Blind Men and the Elephant is an ancient
parable used today as a warning for people that
promote absolute truth or exclusive religious claims.
The simple reason is that our sensory perceptions
and life experiences can lead to limited access and
overreaching misinterpretations. How can a person
with a limited touch of truth turn that into the one and
only version of all reality?
Blind Men and the Elephant – Theological Truth
When it comes to the moral of the Blind Men and the Elephant, it
seems that today’s philosophers end their agenda too quickly.
Doesn’t the picture of the blind men and the elephant also point to
something bigger -- The elephant? Indeed, each blind man has a
limited perspective on the objective truth, but that doesn’t mean
objective truth isn’t there. In fact, truth isn’t relative at all… It’s
there to discover in all its totality. In theology, just because we
have limited access to Truth, that doesn’t mean any and all
versions of Truth are equally valid. Actually, if we know the Whole
Elephant is out there, shouldn’t this drive us to open our eyes
wider and seek every opportunity to experience more of Him?
To understand
philosophy is to
engage in it.
Doing philosophy
entails holistic rather
than a partial
perspective.
To see the
connectedness of parts,
to see a meaningful
whole.
Group activity;
The story of the elephant and the blind men can be
an analogy of everyday experiences. Recall an
experience where you had disagreements with
friends or family over something. Was the
disagreement resolved? If yes, how? If not, how can
a more holistic perspective help in the solution?
Share your story to your group mates, then choose
the best story that you will share to others in class.