This may seem like a funny title for a blog post, since elephants don’t really hunt and they live in herds and not packs. But real elephants aside, today we’re talking about metaphorical elephants. The metaphor in in question expands on the common phrase ‘the elephant in the room’ which usually refers to something almost obvious, but is often overlooked either deliberately or through lack of awareness of the situation.
So, there’s a metaphorical room, with metaphorical elephants. With me so far? The elephants represent those issues and aspects of culture at play that can be obvious to some people and invisible to others. When I say that the elephants hunt in packs, I mean that there’s never just one issue at play, there’s a number of complex dynamics and they all intermingle and influence one another.
I find it’s a useful metaphor because it points to the way in which things become embedded in our everyday consciousness; in other words they become invisible. If one elephant becomes visible, you can be sure that several others are lurking. When you look at an issue, any kind of issue it won’t be hanging around on it’s lonesome, you can be sure that some friends will be hanging about.
What I find most useful about this whole thing is that often looking at the interrelated conditions means that the original issues make more sense. You can see how the effects impact on other surrounding things and take that into account if there are actions you want to take. Nothing that is said or done happens in isolation.
Much of what I’m saying here borders on (if not is wholly contained within) the realm of the obvious… but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth saying and revisiting.
The invisible elephants in the room always hunt in packs, and even if you can see a whole bunch of elephants, it’s always possible that others are hiding – that’s worth keeping in mind too. `