Mindless fetus or ‘Hand of Hope’? Depends on your lens…

Earlier this week, we shared with you a photograph that provoked quite a bit of reaction on both the Facebook and Twitter pages– from awe, to wonder, to deep questioning about abortion and when life begins. One reader pointed out that the picture’s description may have conveyed some inaccuracies about the circumstances around which it was captured, and we’d like to further respond to that comment here.

As the reader rightly explained, a Snopes.com article that we linked to in our original post suggests that while the photographer came away with one impression of what happened in the operating room, the doctor believed a very different story.

Michael Clancy, the photographer who took the  picture recounted:

“Suddenly, an entire arm thrust out of the opening, then pulled back until just a little hand was showing. The doctor reached over and lifted the hand, which reacted and squeezed the doctor’s finger. As if testing for strength, the doctor shook the tiny fist.”

The doctor, on the other hand, was quoted as saying that Little Samuel hadn’t reached out of the womb per se. Rather, he believed the fetus’s hand had simply “flopped out.”

We here at Yoga Modern don’t believe that there’s necessarily a singular truth in all situations. The difference of opinion between the photographer and surgeon sheds light on how our belief systems, presuppositions and biases affect the very lens through which we see the world. To the scientist, a mindless hand had accidentally popped out during a surgical procedure. To the artist, the photograph captured a subtle, often unseen call of Life.

Who’s version of the story is correct? Maybe it depends on the lens through which you see the world. Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, and many other scholars have written on the importance of the stories or myths we use to frame our reality, and it’s a topic that’s ripe for discussion in the Yoga world. We hope you’ll continue sharing your thoughts in the comment section below. What story to do you assign to the picture? What meaning did you take away?

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- who has written 43 posts on Yoga Modern.

Chelsea Roff is a writer by day and yoga teacher by night, a weaver of words as well as of asanas. She is Managing Editor at YogaModern.com, and her writing has been featured by Yoga Journal, Elephant Journal, Wanderlust Festival and the Hanuman Festival. Chelsea is passionate about using online media to inspire action that serves a greater cause -- whether it be the expansion of knowledge, support of our global community, or improvement of planetary and personal health. She travels the country teaching yoga in the most non-traditional of spaces, from cocktail parties to public protests to centers for at-risk youth. In Dallas, Chelsea helped start a yoga service organization that brings yoga classes to people in homeless shelters, juvenile detention centers, and prisons. Chelsea currently lives in Santa Monica, CA, where she can be found cartwheeling across the beach, hiking in the mountains, and practicing yoga poses on her little pink scooter.

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