Point of View Counts

The fable of six blind men and the elephant is a classic. It was in one of the many books around the house, and read or told many times while I was a child.

Is it true? Well, let’s see.

Pretend you are blind and you are asked to give a quick examine and then compare the animal modeled here to something else.

In the story (as I recall it) the first man walked up and encountered the animal’s side. “It’s like a wall.”

The second blind man bumped against a leg and wrapped his arms around it. “No, it’s like a tree.”

“You’re both wrong,” the third man spoke up while holding the tail. “This animal feels like a rope.”

“Not at all. I’m reaching up and feel a portion very much like a fan.” The fourth man insisted while holding the edge of an ear.

The fifth man slid his fingers across a hard, smooth surface. (I doubt the animal was in the pose above.) “The elephant is very like a spear.”

The final man stepped forward and reached out. “Snake, snake,” he called as he encountered the trunk.

Who was right? Who was wrong? It depends on what you encounter. Perhaps if each man had explored further, they could have argued over the results less.

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