Blind men and an elephant
A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: "We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable".
So, they sought it out, and when they found it, they used their hands to feel the strange animal. The first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said, "This being is like a thick snake".
For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk.
The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said the elephant, "is a wall". Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.
The men began to disagree with one another and believed that they were correct while the other blind men were lying which made them more annoyed.
A passerby heard the commotion and came to investigate the source of the noise and they found the blind men standing in front of the elephant arguing about what they think it looks like.
The passerby then told the men that they were all right AND wrong because they were each only able to visualize parts of the elephant but not the full animal. The individual stated that each of the blind men’s statements about the elephant were correct but only described a small section of the large animal which influenced how they saw it.
So, what is the moral of the story? The blind men were very quick to make an assumption about what the elephant looks like even though they had only felt a small section of it. They refused to listen to the opinions and observations of their fellow men and believed that the sections they interacted with were the true depiction of an elephant.
These types of interactions can be seen regularly in daily life, but only once a person is sure that they have interacted with a substantial amount of a specific topic or object can they make an informed observation about it. They also shouldn’t be too quick to discredit another person’s perspective about a topic just because they have a different interpretation. [read more]