top of page

Looking at the World from the Cattle's Point of View

Updated: Apr 24

In her new book, "Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures," Temple Grandin says, "To experience a cow's eye view, I jumped down into the chute. Once inside, I saw what kinds of things were halting the cattle in their tracks..."

Mary Temple Grandin is a 75-year old American academic and animal behaviorist. She is a prominent proponent for the humane treatment of livestock for slaughter and the author of more than 60 scientific papers on animal behavior. (Wikipedia). It wasn't until she was an adult that she was diagnosed with autism.

Confronting Labeling in Books and Films

I've known about Temple Grandin for a long time, but just recently I watched Extraodinary Attorney Woo, a popular current Netflix Korean "K-drama" tv series. Young-woo, who has 'autism spectrum disorder' is a person of extreme strength and extreme weakness, a combination of high IQ and low EQ, superior to most of us and inferior to most of us. Young-woo is, in a word, extraordinary. Source.

If only we could find some way/s to identify with the people we serve or with whom we have a relationship, whether it be elders, younger adults, or youth, people with memory loss or other disabilities, individuals who have different cultural backgrounds, political views and approaches to life than we have, then the world would be a better place.

Labeling Is Disempowering

Imagine if we called the individuals who live in our elder communities and ourselves "care partners," rather than calling others "residents" and calling ourselves "caregivers." Jim Taylor said he prefers the term "care partner" to "caregiver" in the early, mild stages of cognitive decline. He and his wife developed Memory Advocate Peers, a New York City group that matches individuals with mild cognitive impairment with mentors who have been through the experience of supporting a partner or loved one with memory loss. The group works with CaringKind, formerly the New York City chapter of the Alzheimer's Organization, to raise funds to recruit and train former "dementia care partners" who have been on the journey and provide emotional and practical support. Source.

Just as Temple Grandin and Young-woo say people who are identified as autistic are on a spectrum, people with Parkinson's or dementia, or Alzheimers are on a spectrum. DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) codes may be beneficial for medical professionals to diagnose individuals who require more or less medical intervention than others, but in everyday life, we all are individuals on a specturm of one kind or another.

Upcoming Zoom 2023 Mother's Day Event

Broadening our perspective can open a whole new world to us. For example, as soon as I finished watching the Extraordinary Attorney Woo series, I received an email from Marin's Tamalpa Insitute that Dohee Lee is scheduled to lead this year's Planetary Dance Mary 12 (Mother's Day).

Dohee is from Jeju Island, South Korea, which fictional Attorney Woo and her office team visited torward the end of the Netflix series. Dohee brings ritual and healing arts to the Bay area, since she moved from Jeju Island 15 years ago. I experienced her amazing talents in a Zoom class that she taught during the Pandemic. She emphasizes the mythical, experimental, ritualistic, historical and healing aspects of performance and installation, catalyzing new relationships between identity, nature, and spirituality. Source.

Activity suggestions:

  • Read Temple Grandin's new book on Visual Thinking. Answer her questionnaire on how you access your "visual memory"(view P.19 sample on Amazon). Share the book and questionnaire with friends, care partners, family members.

  • Watch the Extraordinary Attorney Woo drama series on Netflix. Share the tv series with others. After watching the series, discuss the following questions:

  1. Do you identify with any of the characters in the drama? If so, with whom and why?

  2. What are your favorite friendship moments in the drama?

  3. Does anyone you know remind you of any of the chracters in the drama? If so, who and why?

  4. Does Woo Young-woo, the protagonist, have any experiences that you have had or that someone you know has had? If so, describe.

  • Sign up (donation optional) to view on Zoom Tamalpa Institute's Planetary Dance (founded by Marin's Anna Halprin, who passed away in 2021, and her daughter Daria Halprin).

Something To Think About

Temple Grandin could see and feel what cattle see and feel. Dohee Lee brings her cultural roots to the Bay area and wherever she performs. Fictional Attorney Woo wins cases by paying attention to details that no one else notices. By seeing, listening and experiencing other beliefs, traditions, and perspectives, we can expand our worldview and build relationships with individuals of different abilities, backgrounds, ages, and stages.

Once people can view the issue and situation both from their own perspective and the other persons' perspectives, they can more easily find mutually beneficial solutions. Perspective-taking also communicates that one really understands their thoughts, feelings, and needs. Source: Psychology Today.

22 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page