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AN ANCIENT METAPHOR OF HUMAN IGNORANCE

posted 2/20/2013 8:07:48 PM |
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  LadyRamRod_



An ancient Indian folk tale describes six blind men who seek to learn about a large and mysterious beast known as an “ elephant.” Since they are all blind, none of them are able to actually see the large animal –they are each only able to experience a part of the elephant. Yet, each man in his ignorance of the other parts, believes he is experiencing the whole elephant, and discounts the other men's descriptions of the elephant which differ so vastly from his own.

This story illustrates the common mistakes people make when they are convinced their perception is the only right one. Most people are not even aware that what they are experiencing is merely one point of view – they just think they are experiencing “ Reality as it IS.”

The most interesting part about this story is that since none of the men can experience the elephant in its entirety on his own, the only way to fully grasp the whole thing would be to share and accept each others' perceptions and then add them all together. If each men were able to do this, the entire picture of the elephant could be realized. But, in their utter insistence on being right, each man is doomed to never see the entire picture.

This is the very same mistake couples, families, and individuals make when they do not allow themselves to consider each others' points of view. This cuts them off from seeing the “ bigger picture” and dooms them to be right at the expense of the relationship itself. It shuts down any opportunity for others to share or contribute to the relationship.

A poem which artfully describes this story.





The Blind Men and The Elephant





By John Godfrey Saxe (1816 – 1887)


It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! But the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! What have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“ ‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

Moral:
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!



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Comments:

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manwithoutahorse

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Feb 20 @ 9:48PM  
An oldie but goodie...so sad that often the most clueless dictate the agenda.
moresex69

Feb 21 @ 12:05AM  
so sad that often the most clueless dictate the agenda.

And so it is in our Obamacracy. The resident King in all his arrogance drags this country down as the demagogue he is, appealing to the emotions, prejudices, and ignorance of the less-educated people of a population. All the while he lies, he steals and he terrorizes from the very mandate who put him on the throne. As in the moral of your post Lady, they just can't see the beast for what he is.

elbachelor

Feb 21 @ 1:03AM  
How did this blog turn political? I think she was stating people's perceptions as a whole. Without tolerance, ability to adapt will never happen.

Thank you for putting this blog in play. I have never read that. It does make you think.
moresex69

Feb 21 @ 2:59AM  
Maybe, someday, people can write and express an opinion without ignorance......

Who said that?

My perception of the blogger's post is merely that. How I interpret it is at my discretion as well. And where I go with it is subject to the approval or disapproval of the 'Lady'. I only require her tolerance.
elbachelor

Feb 21 @ 9:20AM  
Ok, ok. I can see your point. Nevertheless, I don't think every blog has to do with one subject. I just wanted to state what I think she was writing about. After your comment, sir, the whole blog could turn into another political satire. I just wanted everyone to see the sides of the box. They didn't actually have to step outside to look around. I folded them in.

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AN ANCIENT METAPHOR OF HUMAN IGNORANCE