The Blind Men, the Elephant, and its fleas

There’s an elephant in the room!

There was once  an elephant in a room. The beast was the subject of lifetimes of careful study, and speculation, by skilled, and dedicated, specialists of precise, but very limited, vision. The man who studied a leg said the elephant is like a pillar. The one who studied the tail said the elephant is like a rope. The one who studied the trunk said the elephant is like a tree branch. The one who studied the ear said the elephant is like a hand fan. The one who studied the belly said the elephant is like a wall.

BlindMenandElephant

The nature of the beast was all very contentious, and controversial. And even the fleas on the elephants back joined in the debate, with the assertion that “This is our ever unchanging world, you fools!”. Until one day, a person came along who could see the whole beast from a distance, and he explained to them:

“All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you has perceived a different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned. But there is so very much more to the beast than any of you know. You just need to get enough distance to see it all in context”

The blind scholars all dismissed the new viewpoint as heresy. They argued that it had never been established among them, that vision was a valid tool of science. So, since this new, and heretical, viewpoint flew in the face of all they had so carefully, and painstakingly, confabulated about the the beast, they quickly resolved to ignore the new viewpoint. And to get on with their life’s work of studying, and debating, the true nature of the elephant in the room.

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Published on March 27, 2010 at 7:27 am  Leave a Comment  

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