The World Of The Blinds






 

We easily follow someone else’s path when walking the way called life. Because I have no conviction about myself, I take and follow someone else better than me as a teacher, as a mentor. However, how can I have conviction about whether to follow a proper mentor while I don’t even have conviction about myself? The picture below clearly satirizes the foolishness of humans.

The World Of The Blinds

Pieter Bruegel le Vieux, [La Parbole des aveugles] 16c

Many pieces of Bruegel’s paintings depict Dutch proverbs or sarcastically portray the metaphoric stories of the Bible. Amongst them, <The Fable of the Blinds [La Parbole des aveugles]> describes the metaphor from Chapter 15 of the Gospel of Matthew. Please temporarily set down the religious prejudice and pay attention to the story that the piece is trying to deliver.

“If the blinded lead the blind, both shall fall into a pit”

 

Six blinds appear on Bruegel’s painting. They are all connected to one another with hands and sticks. The first blind at the very front has already fallen into a pit. The second blind is almost falling into it, and the third blind seems that he has just detected something weird but has no other path to follow but to fall into it. The remaining fourth, fifth, and sixth blinds seem like that they have no idea about what would happen to them soon. However, they keep following the previous blind people. Bruegel must have satirized the human society, politics and religions of that time (16th century); however, this painting can also surely depict the modern situation. Our consciousness and mentality are manipulated by media and internet. We just follow others, and we still pick the wrong leaders. We are busy criticizing others and pointing out others’ faults while unaware that we ourselves are the blinds. That’s how we are, currently, isn’t it?

Definitely because we are blind, we cannot know where we come from and where we go. The painting seems to illustrate how we live our life, as it is. We cannot really know where we came from to this world, what the true meaning of our life is, and where we are really going. Just as others live, we just follow their actions, such as making money, raising a family, following trends while not falling behind, etc. Although there is a lot of information and we are busy with so many things to do, nothing has actually remained when looking back at our life. That moment of realization, a question arises from our mind: ‘is it right to live in this way?’

Let’s go back to the painting again.

On the left side, there is a tree, a dead tree that could not leaf. On the other side of the painting, there is a tree covered with green leaves and an iris that has bloomed. It depicts that the blinds of the world wander around, not being able to find the way, between death and life. It is a pitiful reality in which they fall down right before the flower of life. It has happened because they do not have the ‘eyes’ to see the reality righteously.

The painting shows such a ridiculous reality but we cannot just blindly laugh with such ease. This is not the only one. Bruegel’s pieces truly give us a chance to look back at ourselves.

Look back at yourself honestly. If you do not have eyes to see the world righteously, you can simply admit your foolishness and look for the light. If you do not have such eyes, you can simply follow the one who has opened their eyes. We all need the courage and wisdom to admit that we are false and to be able to find the place where we can become true.

Now, take a short pause in your life and examine yourself. Am I actually following the proper way? Am I walking towards the light? Who am I following?